Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Update from the Dominican Republic

Click the photo below to visit the web site of Laurie Kietzman-Greer (PT '07) and her husband Nick. Laurie and Nick are both physical therapists and are currently working as physical therapist missionaries in the Dominican Republic.

They just updated their site with a very interesting blog post for November. Follow their journey online.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ellen Spake to Join RU President's Office

We want to update everyone on something that is both very happy and very sad all at the same time.

Fr. Tom Curran (Rockhurst University president) announced in late August that our very own Ellen Spake (PT, PhD) will become the Assistant to the President for Mission and Ministry at the beginning of the next academic year (August 2012).

While we are tremendously sad to lose Ellen from our department, we recognize that this is a tremendous opportunity for her and that she will serve the University magnificently in this role.

This was a very tough decision for Ellen to make.  While the opportunities of her new position are wonderful, she struggled with leaving the program, faculty, staff and students that she loves so much. For anyone who doesn't know, Ellen was one of the original architects of our program and served as the first (and only) program chair from 1983 until she stepped back into a regular faculty role in 2003.

Congratulations to Ellen on this exciting new chapter of her faculty career! As she reminded us when she informed the department faculty and staff of the change, she will still be "right across campus" in her new role (and we will make sure that she doesn't lose touch with PT). :-)

We have begun a national search to recruit a new member of the faculty. Our goal is to have someone ready to assume full faculty responsibilities in August of 2012.

The complete job announcement is available online at:

Many thanks to Ellen Spake
for all she's done for the PT Department

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trip to Ecuador Inspires Students

Seven representatives from the Rockhurst PT Department journeyed to Gauyaquil, Ecuador in August 2011 to work with patients diagnosed with Hansen's Disease.

PT students Molly Alfermann, Tessa Campbell, Emily Levy, Kati Mayer, Rachel Swift and Leslie Taylor joined faculty member Jean Hiebert and students and faculty from the Rockhurst OT program on the service trip between summer and fall semesters.

For five days, the students worked closely with the patients in Gauyaquil, giving them the unique opportunity to put what they've been learning in class into action. Above all, the students experienced profound moments treating patients who might never have received the medical care they needed without the students' help.

"The experience for me was truly inspirational," said student Kati Mayer. "The patients that we saw were strong willed, courageous individuals who inspired me to be a better student and future therapist."

One such experience was when a group witnessed a bilateral amputee patient walking on her prosthetic for the first time. The woman had not been able to use her prosthetics because no one, prior to the students' arrival, was there to teach her how.

"She was brought to tears because she was able to stretch out her legs and did not have to sit in the wheelchair all day without walking," explained Emily Levy, who helped treat the woman. "By the end of the week she was using a walker during her treatment sessions.  The trip was amazing and life changing.  It definitely reinforced my dreams to become a PT."

 Student Rachel Swift had a similar experience.

 "The mo
st exciting thing was that my group and I helped a 16-year-old girl named Angela walk for the first time with her prosthesis since having her lower leg amputated, " Swift said. "It was SO amazing to be there and experience that with her and her mom."

 To see photos of their incredible journey, click on the photo album below:

Trip to Ecuador