Name: Brian O’Meara
Program: University of Southern California Physical Therapy Program
Graduation Date: May 2019
What is/are your favorite service events and why?
Twice every year USC has a group of PT students that go down to Ensenada, Mexico to volunteer at an orphanage for children with developmental disabilities. It has been my favorite service event as of yet, as the group I went down with were very fun and very professional and we were able to learn a lot from the kiddos.
Has service helped you grow as a person or clinician? If so, how?
I have been always interested in service as I was previously a teacher and saw how service impacted schools and communities. I was living in Central America for many years and was able to be a part of a lot of great service opportunities and really had first hand experience in service learning. Currently, at USC I get to be a part of an amazing pro-bono PT service/Preventive Health for individuals from lower socioeconomic status and higher health risks; called Fit Families. Every Saturday we get to work one on one and in groups with our participants. It is with these interactions that my ability to communicate with patients, reach a common ground so we both can learn from each other and improve my clinical interventions have excelled greatly. Every Saturday I end up smiling, laughing and hugging someone and to me that is an indicator of a great day.
Why is service important to you?
Not everyone has affordable access to healthcare, education, clean homes, and a plethora of other basic human services. I have been very privileged in my upbringing, being able to work and travel the world, and now I am in a place where I can make an immediate local impact. I see the value in creating a sense of community and through service is one way I get to feel that sense of oneness, cooperation and not to sound too cheesy, love.