Hailey Heath is a third-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student at OSU-Cascades.
What inspired or interested you about physical therapy? Why did you choose OSU for your DPT?
Physical therapy is such an amazing field of health care, where providers can build deep connections with their patients to help them achieve their functional and personal goals.
I was introduced to physical therapy as a young athlete and also as a caregiver to my cousin with cerebral palsy, who received physical and occupational therapy. There is so much diversity in the field, which excites me as I am exploring many treatment settings.
The DPT program at OSU stood out the most to me because of the dedicated and experienced faculty members. Their excitement for this program was clear during our first meeting, and I couldn’t be more grateful for their support.
Do you participate in campus or community clubs or organizations?
Over the past year, I served as the chief liaison for the Student Leadership Committee for the American Physical Therapy Association, our professional organization. This year I also represented the state of Oregon on the National Student Council while still collaborating with the SLC.
At OSU, I am a member of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Club and the OSU Climbing Club. I was also a peer tutor for Management of Cardiopulmonary Dysfunction in the DPT program.
Have you participated in physical therapy research? What did you learn from the experience?
This summer concluded my first capstone project, which focused on providing treatment plans for patients with Parkinson’s Disease.
We compared self-selected exercise programs such as walking, playing pickleball, weightlifting, etc. to the standard of care for physical therapy, which includes a combination of strength, flexibility and endurance.
This experience was an amazing way to connect with community members who volunteered for our study, as well as learning how to treat this population.
Tell us about your physical therapy internships so far.
I have completed two clinical rotations so far, the first at Therapeutic Associates, a general outpatient orthopedic clinic, and the second at Spark Rehab and Wellness, an outpatient clinic serving older adults and individuals with neurologic conditions. My current clinical rotation is at Treehouse Therapies, a non-profit pediatric clinic.
These experiences have allowed me to learn how to be a clinician and practice the skills that I have gained in class. It has been a great learning experience to practice patient-centered care and building strong relationships in Central Oregon communities.
What do you think of your experience at Oregon State-Cascades so far?
I have truly appreciated my experience so far in the DPT program at OSU-Cascades. It has been extremely rigorous and stressful at times, but I also have developed deep relationships with my classmates and faculty because of it.
One of my favorite moments so far during this program has to be when I presented at the APTA Oregon Annual Conference on Mental Health and Management in the Physical Therapy Community alongside two other PT students in the state. We delivered the only student-led talk of the conference, and I am so grateful that there were many faculty, colleagues and friends in the audience supporting us.
What are your post-college dreams?
After graduating from the DPT program, I hope to practice as a clinician for several years to continue to learn and deepen my passion for the field and possibly pursue a specialty or residency.
I hope to also stay connected with APTA and join national advocacy efforts to make real changes for our profession. I have a passion for learning and hope to share that passion with future DPT students as a faculty mentor.