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Emory DPT alumni are committed to giving back to their community and their alma mater. Just ask Jill Cannoy, PT, DPT, and Lisa M. Resutek PT, DPT, ATC. The Emory alums recently donated several precious Saturday hours to work at a pro-bono physical therapy clinic in downtown Atlanta.
The clinic is a partnership with the Good Samaritan Health Center which serves the medical and public health needs of an indigent, underserved population in the metro area. For several years, Emory School of Medicine physicians, medical students, physician assistants (PAs) and PA students have been manning the clinic on the first Saturday of every month, and in March the DPT program joined in, supplying DPT faculty, alumni and students to operate a physical therapy clinic.
The alumni enjoyed the opportunity. “I saw mostly orthopedic-based patients,” says Resutek, DPT ’10, who is currently a therapist at Emory Orthopedics and Spine Center Physical Therapy. “These people have had pain for quite some time, but no one has been able to tell them what to do to make it go away. We were able to give them something that they can afford to help them correct the problem and make them feel better.”
Resutek also valued the chance to work with current DPT students. “You work directly with a student on each one of the cases,” she says. “Because I’ve gone through the same program they are going through, I know exactly where they are. I knew when to get them involved and when to do teaching as well. It’s a great way to stay connected with students and with the school.”
Cannoy, DPT ’12, works as a therapist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, and she welcomed the chance to work with a different patient clientele. “I work with kids all day, which I love, but it was really nice to work with adults for a change,” she says. “I also primarily do pediatric neuro, so it was a good chance to brush up on my ortho skills.”
Lucy Polemitis, MPT’90, had planned to volunteer at the clinic but ended up having to stay home with a sick child. However, Polemitis has been volunteering at the Good Samaritan Health Center in Cobb County by herself, but found it overwhelming without the back-up of colleagues. “When I heard Emory was going to staff the clinic downtown, I jumped at the chance.
“I feel like there are a lot of people who need quality care but who fall through the cracks between Medicaid and insurance,” continue Polemitis, who works for Physiotherapy Associates in Smyrna. “A lot of the people I’ve seen fall in that gap – they can’t afford health insurance but they don’t qualify for Medicaid. So they end up going to the ER and they definitely don’t get any rehab afterwards. This is a way to help those people.”
All three alumni plan to continue volunteering at Good Samaritan, and they encourage others to do the same. “Emory has done a lot for me, and it’s nice for me to be able to give back to them,” says Resutek. “And the population we serve there really needs our services.”
Emory DPT faculty, alumni and students will staff the clinic on the first Saturday of every month from 8 a.m. to noon. To learn more or to volunteer, contact Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH, CHES and assistant professor, at email@example.com.
“The more the merrier,” says Pullen. “The more licensed PTs who come, the more students we can take. I try to keep the ratio of 1 to 1 if possible, but I won’t go above 1 to 2 due to the nature ofthe experience. The students have a more hands-on role here so the supervision needs to be more direct. The more therapists who volunteer, the more students we can take and the more patients we can see.”