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Physical Therapy Grad Finds Outlet for Interest in Oncology

By Zachary Durham

Published on May 12, 2020

Rachel HenrysenIt all started in February, where more than 18,000 professionals and students converged in Denver, Colo. at the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) Combined Sections Meeting. 

Rachel Henrysen DPT’20 was among the group of individuals to attend an oncology interest meeting headed by Steve Wechsler, Secretary for the APTA Association Oncology Board of Directors.

From that meeting the APTA Oncology Student & New Professional Subcommittee - a group of and platform for those with a common interest in oncology rehabilitation - emerged.

Henrysen is one of the six founding members, along with Wechsler, APTA’s Social Media Chair Shai Sewell and respective students from Columbia University, Ohio State University and the University of Vermont, who will focus on the social media aspect of the subcommittee.

Rachel HenrysenThe basis of the subcommittee is to shed light on oncology rehabilitation to student physical therapists and new professionals in the field.

“It allows newer physical therapists to connect and learn about how to treat these patients, receive mentorship and support from those already in the field, become an advocate for those with oncologic diagnoses, and allow leadership opportunities within the subcommittee itself,” said Henrysen. “It is a platform to collect research and other information to help those working in the oncology field.”

The subcommittee is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about PT oncology rehabilitation.

The founding members are currently working on a first website post and hope to be up and running online soon, but for now they can be found on Twitter. They plan on having a virtual meeting later this month to discuss specific roles.

There is a whole realm of physical therapy that not many people know, and the USciences PT department makes it a priority to focus on everything that could be impacting a patient being as independent as possible.

-- Rachel Henrysen DPT'20

Henrysen, who will graduate this month, is looking at possibly applying for oncology residency programs within the next couple of years.

In the meantime, she would like to work in the acute care setting with a focus on cardiopulmonary and/or oncology specific patients. 

“Having Dr. Lora Packel be so passionate about her role in the cardio/oncology world made such a huge impact on where I see myself in my future career,” said Henrysen. “There is a whole realm of physical therapy that not many people know, and the USciences PT department makes it a priority to focus on everything that could be impacting a patient being as independent as possible.”

Rachel HenrysenNo matter where Henrysen ends up, she is thankful that University of the Sciences will have helped her get there without changing who she is a person.  

“USciences is a huge advocate for encouraging professionalism and advocacy within the community and shares that with each of its students,” she said. “The physical therapy department has helped myself grow as not only a future therapist, but as a person as well. The professors within this department are so motivating and truly learn what kind of person each of us is; whether we are introverts or extroverts, they allow each of us to grow and push us to be the best we can be without changing our inner drive and personality.”

Categories: News, Alumni, Student, Proven Everywhere, Samson College of Health Sciences, Department of Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy