Foster King holds a doctorate in physical therapy from Regis University and has specialized in orthopedic manual therapy for the last eleven years. He has received extensive mentorship from respected colleagues all over the country including: a Functional Manual Therapy residency in 2009, a 6 month neuro – residency from the Kaiser Center for Rehabilitation in 2010, and he is a recognized fellow in AAOMPT after successfully completing his fellowship training in 2012. Foster is a faculty member for the Institute of Physical Art and has mentored therapists all over world in the FMT approach. He brings passion to his patient care and believes that every patient has existing potential to live a more efficient life. He specializes in chronic conditions of the spine and complex cases that have failed traditional treatment approaches. Foster provides expert movement diagnostics, sound clinical reasoning and a comprehensive, functional management approach to deliver solutions to his patients. He currently is the owner/director of IPA Physio in Portland, Oregon.
What made you decide to pursue fellowship?
I was 2 years in practice after graduating from Regis Universities DPT’s program and living in Steamboat Springs, Colorado; the home location for the Institute of Physical Art and Functional Manual Therapy. At the time I was struggling to gain confidence as a new grad without structured mentorship or a goal directed continuing education plan. I felt lost with many cases and my confidence as therapist was waning. Continuing education classes only seemed to add to the confusion when trying to problem solve my patient’s cases. I had heard rumors of what went on over at Johnson and Johnson PT across town and so I accepted their open invitation to the clinic to observe the clinical education model that was in place for fellows and PT students. I was amazed by the effectiveness of the approach, the passion of the therapists and their enthusiasm to discover solutions for their patients. I was immediately drawn to the approach and knew that mentorship was the key to my success. I enrolled in CoreFirst Strategies and later Functional Mobilization 1 and I was hooked. I was immediately able to apply what I learned on my patients and saw great success, especially after I started layering the course together. At the time, the residency was not offered through the IPA. I worked with Vicky Johnson PT and Kent Keyser PT to set up our first residency in Eugene, Oregon and I became the first resident. My intention was to get back to Steamboat and complete a fellowship and the residency was the fastest way to get there. I moved to Eugene 4 months later. I grew so much as person and professional that year thanks to all those who poured energy into my life. I was accepted into the fellowship in 2012 and spent an amazing year back in “The Boat”.
What fellowship program did you attend and why?
The Institute of Physical Art’s AAOMPT fellowship program. As I was exposed to more and more to the FMT curriculum, the instructors and mentorship, I was inspired. There was a definite evolution of my character during my residency. My perspective shifted and I had a better understanding of what it meant to be a physical therapist, how to manage myself and my patients. The residency grounded me and gave me foundation to build the rest of my practice and life on. The fellowship was another layer I wanted to add my own development.
The philosophy of the FMT approach is “everyone has existing potential” and as far as I’m concerned, the potential for the physical therapist using the FMT approach to positively effect changes in peoples lives is unparalleled.
I chose the fellowship with the IPA because the approach was changing me for the better and I wanted more. I felt it was going to help me achieve my fullest potential.
What did your fellowship training entail?
Fellowship required weekly hours of direct observation of your clinical instructor in practice and direct supervision of the fellow providing patient care. This could range from 5-10 hours per week. Daily lunch meeting for case presentations, article discussion and general shop talk. Two hour in-services every other week with each fellow presenting a case working through the patient care as a team. We had to supervise 4 PT students during the year. 10 focused presentations of anatomy, function, diagnosis and skills practice in any chosen region of the body. Volunteer hours were required and were satisfied at local high school training rooms and dance academies. Lots of book reading and writings during the year.
Are you trained in specific approach?
I am certified in Functional Manual Therapy and it is the only certificate I hold in a specific approach. I have been discovering the depth and breath of FMT over the last 9 years. I’m excited to practice with FMT everyday and any additional training I receive gets layered into my functional paradigm. The FMT approach complements every other system. It just works. I’m working my way through the Barral Institute’s visceral mobilization presently.
What advice would you give a student considering fellowship training?
Hopefully you come out of school with a direction and are inspired early on in your clinical affiliations through good clinical instruction. First advice has to be, pick good clinical affiliations. Investigate them, talk to previous student/graduates. Don’t take the easy location across town bc you live in the city. Explore now, because it costs even more and is much harder to find after you graduate.
Find a system and stick with it. Get good at one approach and use it as a foundation to build your framework. Preferably an approach that addresses not only mechanical problems but also neuromuscular and motor control dysfunctions.
Don’t open your own clinic right away. Find a mentor to help you through the first few years. After 1-2 years enroll in a residency or after 3-4 years enroll in a fellowship. You need to have some structure before starting a fellowship, especially if its only for 1 year. I recommend 2 years of fellowship training or 1 year resident + 1 year fellowship. Trust me, there is so much to learn!
Don’t burden yourself with trying to climb the whole mountain in one shot. Just take one step at a time in a very specific, goal directed direction. Don’t feel the burden of “I’m not good enough,” or “there is so much to learn.” Shift your focus to being curious to what’s around the next corner and the adventure of discovering your patient’s and your own potential.