Dana’s practice includes clinical management of patients with both acute and chronic orthopaedic injuries in the outpatient environment. His practice is focused on integration of manual therapy and exercise into a holistic, evidence-based and biopsychosocial approach to physical therapy treatment. He is the residency manager of Harris Health System’s Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program. He is also a guest lecturer and has presented at multiple conferences. Dana earned his APTA Board Certification in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy and is also a Fellow in the American Academy of Orthopaedic and Manual Physical Therapists. He has served locally for the Texas Southeastern District, as a delegate for the TPTA, and nationally on the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education credentialing council for the APTA.

What made you decide to pursue fellowship training?

I entered into the Harris Health residency program thinking I knew just about everything I needed to know. I found out quickly I was competent but not even close to being good and had a long way to go. I was lucky to be mentored by several therapists who were fellows during my residency year. If you have never been mentored or seen a fellow practice, it’s hard to grasp just how large the knowledge chiasm is. After spending a year working with and being mentored by FAAOMPT’s I knew if I wanted to grow and change my trajectory, as a PT, it was the next step in my clinical and professional development.

What fellowship program did you attend and why?

I went through the Manual Therapy Institute (MTI) in San Marcos Texas. Many of my mentors had gone through the program and had great things to say about it. The 2 year program focused on immediate application of hands on techniques and differential diagnosis. MTI had and continues to have a great reputation for having great mentors and producing expert clinicians who model the tenets of AAOMPT.

What did your fellowship program entail (as far as specific training, etc…)?

MTI gave a broad OMPT experience and did not follow a particular guru/camp/cult of manual therapy. The program prides itself on keeping the practice of PT fairly simple, performing minimal tests and measures, while at the same time performing consistent and confident expert education and interventions.

Are you trained in any specific areas of manual therapy (i.e. Maitland, McKenzie, etc…), if so, why did you choose that area?

I have a fairly wide smattering of manual therapy training. All credentialed fellowships are required to cover multiple approaches and techniques including Maitland, McKenzie, Paris, pain neuroscience, and therapeutic exercise. MTI did a great job in teaching techniques that were safe and making sure we had plenty opportunity to practice and receive feedback.

What advice would you give to new grads aspiring to pursue residency/fellowship training?

I recommend residency training for all new grads and new therapists. I have heard the argument that you should practice a few years and reflect on your own practice and just take a few CEU’s to shore things up. CEU programs will not change clinical behavior or make you an expert. Consistent expert clinical mentorship, accountability, treatment justification, and practice reflection will make you an expert. Even if you want to be a generalist, the majority of your patients no matter which specialty will have orthopedic complaints. I recommend fellowship training for those clinicians who want mentored and want to practice at the highest level. Fellowship training is rigorous.  Fellowship builds on the clinical specialist knowledge and provides an additional level of content expertise and practical application through mentoring that will further elevate clinical practice. We shifted our educational paradigm by becoming Doctors of Physical Therapy, it’s time we shift our clinical paradigm and become experts.

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