CA Outreach Challenge

Physical Therapy Students Impacting their Community!

Student Spotlights

2019 Student Spotlight

Name: Leah O’Reilly, SPT

Program: SDSU DPT

Graduation Date: May 2020

What is your favorite service events and why?

Medical mission trips for global health outreach are service events I gravitate towards — specifically Flying Samaritans in Tijuana, Mexico and HEAL Brigade in Sangkhlaburi, Thailand. Disparities in access to health care exist abroad and in our own communities. As physical therapists, the professional care we provide has tremendous practicality and sustainability. Our impact is great and additionally increased when delivered alongside an interdisciplinary team.
How has service helped you grow as a person or clinician?
Service has furthered me personally and clinically. A facet of a good clinician is experience and experience is an inherent aspect gained from service. As an individual, I feel the most growth and increased connection to my human family when sharing my professional skill set.
Why is service important to you?
Service is so important because giving is at the root of our human experience. We share with those around us constantly, whether we are aware of what is shared or not. We must decide what this will be, and the sharing of time and talent via service is a great choice.
Anything else you want to add?
I would like to add that outreach is always a team effort. Here is a shoutout to all of the grand PTs, SPTs, patients, and so many others who make this world!

2018 Student Spotlight

Name: Jessica Nguyen

Program: University of Southern California

Graduation Date: 2019

What is/are your favorite service events and why?

One of my favorite events during the year is the Special Olympics Fall Games in Fountain Valley where PTs, PTAs, and student physical therapists get the opportunity to do fitness screenings for the athletes. I love the opportunity to interact with the Special Olympics athletes who come from all walks of life and are of all different ages! It is really inspiring to see everything the athletes are able to achieve and it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to provide a service to them to improve the way they move and participate in the Special Olympics.

Has service helped you grow as a person or clinician? If so, how?

Service events have provided me so many great opportunities to meet different people and patients. These interactions have helped me improve my patient interaction skills and communication. But above anything, I’ve been able to develop my compassion and understanding of people that I think will help my patient care go above and beyond what we’ve learned in class.

Why is service important to you?

It is really easy to get bogged down by studying and stressing about rotations during physical therapy school. Every second of every day could be spent studying insertions and origins and differential diagnosis. The great thing about community service is that it reminds me about what awaits us beyond the textbooks and exams and keeps me grounded during my time in physical therapy school