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October 2020

Celebrating two of the pillars of the PT program
Betty Sindelar
Betty Sindelar PT, Ph.D., joined the OHIO PT faculty in 2000 after completing her Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Washington in Seattle and previously obtained her bachelor's in PT from Washington University in St. Louis. Her research focused on the structure, function, and interplay within the TMJ using a tissue mechanics approach. 

After 20 years of serving the OHIO PT program, Betty will be leaving her current role as Program Director and Associate Professor and retiring on Dec. 31, 2020. She will be missed and will always be remembered as one of the greats with a laugh that could be heard through walls.

Betty looks forward to sleeping in on Mondays and doing some traveling in her retirement. When asked about her hopes for the program, Betty answered, "I would hope the program continues to adapt and change with the times while also leading the way. I would hope that the program will have the time now to start “tooting its horn” more than we have been able to do in the past."

Betty's favorite part about being Program Director has been working with all the people throughout the years. She states, "We have faculty, staff, and students that are willing to look outside the box, try new things, and not be afraid to fail. I think that has helped us to create a really strong, forward thinking program. I am always delighted to get calls from employers and former students that acknowledge how well our graduates thrive in the clinical setting."

Betty leaves the following remarks: "I would like to thank everyone — all the teachers I had, my fellow students, my mentors, my colleagues (PTs and non-PTs), all my patients over the years, and all the people I have taught through continuing education and the academic environment. Forty-five years is a long time to remain in one profession but I can honestly say that I have thoroughly enjoyed it — mostly because of the people I have interacted with. I have had the good fortune to learn from so many which has only made me a better therapist and educator. So to everyone 'Thanks'."
Gary Chleboun
"When I came to OHIO to teach and get my Ph.D., both my wife and I felt like we would be in Athens for a short time and then move somewhere else. Obviously, that did not happen ... we fell in love with Athens, the small college town life of busy and quiet times and the rural southeastern countryside.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get to know and be a part of all of the OHIO physical therapy graduates up to this point. They have probably taught me more than I have taught them over the years. The past 9-10 years of being the Director of the School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences (with brief stints in the School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness) has challenged me to step outside my comfort zone in many ways and allowed me to expand my understanding of several other medical professions as I worked closely with great colleagues in Physical Therapy, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Physician Assistant Practice, Athletic Training, Nutrition, and Exercise Physiology.

However, it was my passion for teaching and helping students to have the same love of learning about the human body which got me interested in physical therapy that has made the last 35 years so enjoyable. Most importantly, I need to mention that none of what I have accomplished at OHIO would have been possible without my wife, Mary, who has supported and encouraged me throughout this whole journey."
COVID-19 and the master plan to return to campus
Betty Sindelar, Program Director:

"COVID — I think I dislike four-letter words more than four-letter words these days. As with every other aspect of life, the pandemic has left its imprint on the DPT program. The second half of the spring semester and the first half of the summer semester were transitioned to online — a difficult task for the faculty to do with a program that is predominately hands-on. However, with everyone working together, we were able to keep students on track — reaching on-time graduation for the class of 2020. Our second and third year cohorts have seen the most juggling of classes but we are reaching the end of the changes — we hope!
Fortunately we were able to resume face to face classes on July 6 with some adjustments: students, staff, and faculty check-ins each day prior to classes, splitting classes between the ortho and neuro labs to reduce student density in each room, and face-mask wearing by all at all times. While none of us can say it feels normal, we do seem to be settling into the routine of it all. If I had to predict, I would expect that we will continue our adaptations of the fall semester into at least the beginning of the spring semester.
Clinical education seems to be the most trying aspect of the curriculum at this time. Janice and Paula have spent countless hours working with our clinical partners to get students placed, to add additional COVID-related training prior to experiences, and to help students navigate the new normal in patient care.
It is probably fair to say that we are all (students, staff, and faculty) anxious for a return to crowded classrooms, no face masks, and the ability to freely socialize during class — personally I miss the opportunity to steal food from the students.
I think one thing we have learned during this process is that we will NOT transition to a predominately online DPT curriculum at OHIO!"

Didn't have a chance to meet up with us this year? Keep an eye out for upcoming information on alumni gatherings in 2020! Information on future events will be posted and shared on social media. We look forward to seeing you in 2020!

Class of 2021 out on clinical

COVID-19 brought a lot of changes to clinical education in the OHIO PT department. With most clinics not taking students in the summer, the 3rd year students were in classes during the summer and are now out on clinical rotations for the months of September and October. They will begin their last 16-week clinical rotation in January and graduate in May 2021. 

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OHIO PT currently has OHIO PT apparel for sale! We accept cash, check and Venmo! Contact Gary Chleboun for more information!
New faculty member: Dustin Grooms
Dustin Grooms, Ph.D., ATC, CSCS, is an Associate Professor in the Division of Physical Therapy in the School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences at Ohio University. Dr. Grooms received his doctorate from the Ohio State University in health and rehabilitation sciences, with a focus on neuroscience and biomechanics. Prior to pursuing doctoral studies, Dr. Grooms was an athletic trainer, strength coach and instructor at the College of Mount Saint Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio. Before that he completed a master’s degree from the University of Virginia in kinesiology, a clinical internship with the Cincinnati Bengals, and a bachelor’s degree from Northern Kentucky University in athletic training.  His current main research interest is how the brain and movement mechanics change after musculoskeletal injury and therapy.
Dr. Groom's research involves how our brain and movement mechanics change after injury and what we can do to fix it.

"I got interested in neuroscience research related to orthopedics after treating several ACL injuries and having the patients not quite recover as well as I hoped."

One example that stands out to Dr. Grooms was witnessing a soccer athlete present with symmetrical quadriceps and hamstring strength, exceptional and symmetrical hop testing, excellent agility, and no self-reports of dysfunction only fall prey to a second ACL tear to the opposite knee upon returning to sport. 

According to the literature, Dr. Grooms explains, there is a 1 in 3 chance of failing your patient if they want to go back to high-level physical activity after an ACL tear. This sent Dr. Grooms on a journey to discover what is missing in contemporary ACL rehabilitation and how it can be improved.

Initially, Dr. Grooms started out in biomechanics but later switched to neuroscience because he believes there is a great deal of research already done on “what” movement mechanics are related to injury and recovery. However, there is much less research on “how” the nervous system generates movement and how people make coordination errors that lead to injury.

Regarding the technicalities of his research, Dr. Grooms states, "We use augmented and virtual reality biofeedback and perturbations to try and target specific neural pathways that are impaired after injury, as well as many other tools to try and induce neuroplasticity that can support injury-resistant coordination when returning to sport."

Currently, the Department of Defense is funding a project to longitudinally capture how the brain changes after knee ACL surgery to return to activity and determine how cognition and visual-spatial processing influence motor control. The National Institute of Health is funding a project to determine the neural activity mechanisms and brain pathways that regulate motor control and augmented reality biofeedback in the clinic, which also examines patients in a fully simulated VR sport task in the biomechanics lab to see how the intervention and neural adaptions transfer to sport. Dr. Grooms believes his research has a natural fit in both the athletic training and physical therapy professions.

Dr. Grooms states, "I am excited to work more closely with my physical therapy colleagues and about the expanded resources and opportunities available within the Division of Physical Therapy. It will be great to continue to interact with both the AT and PT students to help speed up the clinical translation of our research work to clinical practice."

Key articles

Alumni spotlight: Doug Roll & Josh Becker

Doug Roll (bottom left), class of 1989, opened his own clinic in 1989 on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which has grown to four locations. In 2012, Ingalls Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), implored Doug to open a physical therapy clinic onsite at the shipyard to exclusively care for the thousands of employees and their work-related injuries. 

Doug explains, "Over many years we have created a culture of cooperation and successful care of our patients with special knowledge in ergonomics, job site analysis, and work compensation case management and resolution." At the shipyard, they interact daily with Risk Management, Chief Medical Officer, Director of Employee Health and Safety, and the onsite hospital and have gained a reputation of being cooperative and going above and beyond all expectations. 
This past year during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chief Medical Officer and Director of Employee Health and Safety from Ingalls Shipbuilding called an emergency meeting in early April 2020 to deal with the COVID situation and the need for screening. Following the meeting, Doug was contacted and asked if PT Solutions could assist with temperature screening. The scope and magnitude of the task were monumental. Screening would occur at 16 locations including building entry points and entry gates. The three entry gates needed to be covered 24/7 since the shipyard runs three shifts. The major shift change at the shipyard occurs between 4:30 and 6 a.m. requiring 4,000-5,000 screens to be performed within 90 minutes. At one particular gate, there were up to 3,000 employees that would need to be screened before entering!

Unfortunately, decreased patient loads due to COVID forced layoffs at PT Solutions, but this screening opportunity allowed PT Solutions to bring some of their teammates back to work. Once PT Solutions was faced with the new challenge, Doug describes, "The PT Solutions family kicked it into high gear. In a matter of 10 days, we hired 35 new employees, signed the contract with HII, and started temperature screening." Doug directed this Herculean undertaking but fully acknowledges the task would not have been possible without the collaborative teamwork between PT Solutions (recruiting, HR, onboarding, payroll to name a few), HII, and the local Mississippi team. Amazingly, one college student clocked 152 hours in a two week/14 day pay cycle!

Josh Becker (bottom right), class of 2013, started with Doug as a PT student on a clinical rotation in 2012 and later joined Doug's practice as an employee in May 2013.

Doug states, "Alumni Josh Becker DPT was instrumental during this time." Josh maintained operations at the Ocean Springs Mississippi clinic location while continuing to see patients under and abiding by all COVID restrictions put in place. Again, Doug states, "Being the tremendous teammate that he is, it was not uncommon for Josh to be at a gate assisting with temperature screening at 4-7 a.m. then go to the Ocean Springs clinic to see patients 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Then wake up in the morning to do it again."

Doug believes that the teamwork, cooperation, and collaboration demonstrated to ramp up this tremendous task in the midst of a pandemic is a testament to the amazing tasks that can be accomplished when people share one common goal.
Ingalls Shipbuilding spans 800 acres of land along the Pascagoula River in Mississippi and provides jobs for over 11,500 employees, making it the largest manufacturing employer in Mississippi. Ingalls has built nearly 70 percent of the Navy's fleet of warships!
Images and information obtained from
Giving back
Feel like giving back? To partner with us in continuing to provide quality education to our students, click below and follow the directions to make a donation.
Listed below are the OHIO PT scholarship funds you can support:

Cynthia Norkin Scholarship (Service and Leadership)
Joy Boyd Memorial Scholarship (Academic Merit and Professionalism)
Carole J. Marchal Scholarship (Pediatrics)
Trotta, Haste, Schulman Scholarship (Faculty Choice)
Leigh Ann Frick Leadership Scholarship (Strong Leadership Skills)
Physical Therapy (Multipurpose)
Botswana Rehabilitation Services (Yearly Student Study Abroad Trip)
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