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Alumna Credits Career Success to Experiences in Physical Therapy Program
As high school cheerleader, Erica Wald DPT’15 suffered what she thought would be a career ending injury to her shoulder during her senior year. Dr. Wald was referred to physical therapy in the hopes of preventing surgical intervention, and after months of rehabilitation, she was able to join her team in competition.
It was that rapid turnaround that convinced Dr. Wald to pursue a doctorate degree in physical therapy. But that teenage gymnast couldn’t have predicted the rapid rise in leadership that she would go on to experience. This year, Dr. Wald helped to open a new, orthopedic rehabilitation clinic with leaders in the industry. Dr. Wald credits her early success in her career to her experience in the classroom an in clinical settings offered in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at USciences.
“I am so proud to say that I built this center from the ground up,” said Dr. Wald, who is Area Director of Operations in Central New Jersey for Ivy Rehab. “Arriving to my clinic every day and admiring the hard work and dedication to my career over the past four years is an accomplishment that I’m very proud of.”
Dr. Wald said she is confident that USciences’ ability to merge classroom knowledge and research with exceptional clinical education set her apart and put her at the cutting edge of my field upon graduation.
Dr. Wald had several offers upon graduation from USciences’ program and accepted a position working on an in-patient acute rehabilitation floor at a top-ranked hospital in New York City. Studying under the mentorship of a USciences alumnus, Dr. Wald continued her education, earning Board Certification as a Clinical Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy, an accolade held by only 6 percent of physical therapists nationwide and one she earned just two years after graduating.
“I often say that I owe my success as a doctor of physical therapy to the strong educational foundation that USciences provided me,” she said. “My degree from USciences had undoubtedly set me apart from the field.”
From there Dr. Wald accepted a leadership position as Clinical Director of Rehabilitation at Ivy Rehab in 2017. That same year she was named Director of the Year and has since risen through the ranks. She is most proud of having opened a Physical Therapy Center of Excellence with Hospital for Special Surgery, the top-ranked orthopedic hospital in the country, located in Marlboro, NJ.
“This was truly a dream come true,” said Dr. Wald. “I was selected to undergo intensive orthopedic training, working along world-renowned surgeons, physiatrists, and leaders in the rehabilitation field.”
Dr. Wald’s clinical interests include women’s sports medicine, especially the rehabilitation of active females with hip and knee conditions. She continues to rely on mentors she gained during her time as a student at USciences, specifically chair of the Department of Physical Therapy Lora Packel, PT, PhD.
“Dr. Packel was particularly influential to me as she challenged me academically in both didactic and lab work, and truly cared for my understanding and clinical success,” she said.
Categories: News, Samson College of Health Sciences, Department of Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy, Alumni, Proven Everywhere