Whether it's being involved in research, within the APTA, or outside of the classroom, Alicen is a proven leader. She has been awarded numerous honors and is dedicated to improving herself as a student through KU's PhD courses and being involved with a research lab. Check out below why she has been nominated and chosen as our latest SPT Spotlight!
The following has been shared with us from a fellow student about our Spotlight, Alicen:
"When the SSIG shared that they were looking for students who deserved to be recognized, I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving than Alicen Whitaker. Alicen sets the standard for students seeking to push the physical therapy profession forward. Her commitment to excellence is visible through her involvement with the APTA and her leadership roles in the KPTA SSIG and on the campus of KUMC. Additionally, Alicen is highly involved in research, an interest developed through being awarded the NIH summer T32 Neurologic Research Grant. It was this opportunity that allowed her to connect to a faculty mentor, Dr. Sandy Billinger and opened the doors to her enrollment in the DPT/PhD dual-degree program.
So not only does Alicen put in countless hours to excel in the DPT curriculum along with her classmates, she also has a full commitment to PhD courses and current research.
When asked about this immense workload, Alicen shares, “It is worth it. I have loved every minute of it. It gives me a new perspective both in research and in the physical therapy program. My eyes have been opened to critically evaluating evidence in physical therapy and how to adapt research, so it reflects what happens in the clinic.”
This work ethic has shined through in the awards and honors she has received. Most recently being awarded Best Research Platform Presentation at KPTA Fall Retreat. Furthermore, Alicen has already been listed as an author on 1 published manuscript and 2 more that are currently being submitted!"
Facebook Research Lab: @KUReachLab
After publishing a story about an experience a friend encountered, Edwin pursued his idea of creating a blog. Through his online platform, he hopes to encourage dialogue between student-healthcare providers and patients of the healthcare system. Read below about why he was chosen as an SPT Spotlight!
My blog, “Patient Theory” initially began as a generic “student blog” because 1) I didn’t know where to go with it and 2) I had already written a few times about healthcare before a blog was even an idea. I started by documenting experiences in my own life with health care providers, which lead to later publishing a story about an incident my friend went through in the ED.
The blog came from the encouraging response from other students and clinicians via a mentorship group I’m a part of. Although I was concerned about being judged, the idea that if just one person reads a patient’s perspective that planted a seed of compassion, it would be worth it. Inspirations from people like Jerry Durham, Jeff Moore, and other giants in our profession deserve the nod of acknowledgement. Any thoughts or perspectives I share are simply my own spin on their idea; therefore, I don’t consider myself a thought leader. I just want to spark a conversation to move us forward. With all that said, my priority is not necessarily “to grow a following” as much as it is to raise awareness that we really can do better in terms of empathetic patient care. Questionable (at best) treatment of patients is not in a distant world because we don’t see it daily, as I have observed it myself.
Social media and online content sharing isn’t the way of the future. Frankly it’s the way of now. Check out Physical Therapy 2.0: Leveraging Social Media to Engage Patients in Rehabilitation and Health Promotion by Knight et.al. If we don’t have a virtual presence as a profession, then we are genuinely doing a disservice to the people we serve. We must “go where the people are” as Mike Eisenhart, PT says. A summary of Patient Theory’s purpose is to bridge the gap of communication among patients and students in health professions.
(You can check out Edwin's blog at https://patienttheory.wordpress.com/)
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