Is a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree Worth It? If you’re dreaming about helping patients restore their mobility and quality of life, and you’re exploring what it would take to become a physical therapist, you may be wondering, “Is a degree in physical therapy worth it?” The answer to this question depends, of course, on your personal career goals. Some people choose to become physical therapist assistants because only a two-year associate degree is required. It’s true that pursuing a doctorate takes time and effort; however, there are countless advantages to earning a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. To that end, let’s look at some of the factors that make a Doctor in Physical Therapy (DPT) degree the best first step on an exceptional career Read more
Featured Researcher – August 2012
By California Physical Therapy Association (CPTA)
Kathleen Manella, PT, PhD
“The funding I received allowed me to complete my Master’s thesis research project at the University of Southern California. This provided the foundation required to allow me to pursue and recently complete my PhD in Physical Therapy/Motor Conrol at the University of Miami this past December, 2011. I am very appreciative of the opportunity the support of the CAL-PT-FUND provided in helping me pursue my desire to do clinical research in physical therapy and ultimately achieved my goal of completing a PhD in physical therapy.”
Kathleen J. Manella is Assistant Professor and Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education in the University of St. Augustine’s Austin DPT program. Dr. Manella earned a BS in physical therapy from the University of Illinois in 1975, a MS in physical therapy from the University of Southern California in 1987, and a PhD in physical therapy/motor control at the University of Miami in 2011. Her dissertation topic was“Operant conditioning of tibialis anterior and soleus H-reflex improves spinal reflex modulation and walking function in individuals with motor-incomplete spinal cord injury”. Dr. Manella has extensive experience as a physical therapist clinician, clinical instructor, and administrator providing adult and pediatric orthopedic, neurology and rehabilitation services. The American Physical Therapy Association awarded Ms. Manella a Mary McMillan Scholarship in 1987, and the Signe Brunnstrom Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching in 1988.
Research activities, presentations and publications include the areas of amputee residual limb management (University of Illinois); behavioral interventions for children with spina bifida, isokinetic ankle torque production in non-disabled adolescents (Orthopaedic Hospital of Los Angeles and University of Southern California); and body-weight supported treadmill training for children with spinal cord injury and neuromotor rehabilitation in adult spinal cord injury (The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine). In 2008, Ms. Manella received a Margaret Whelan Graduate Student Scholarship Travel Award from the Medical Faculty Association of the University of Miami.
Academic teaching experience includes the topics of physical therapy therapeutic agents, management of the amputee andthe complex orthopedic patient, clinical skills, clinical decision making, geriatric physical therapy, the neuromodulatory system, the limbic system, sensory contributions to movement, postural control, neurological evaluation and neurorehabilitation.