Francois Prizinski, PT, DPT, OCS, COMT, FAAOMPT, DAC

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Francois attended Physical Therapy School at West Virginia University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Masters Degree in 2005. He attended Temple University for his Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy in 2006 (DPT). During this time he placed an emphasis in the area of orthopedics and attained recognition by the American Physical Therapy Association as a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedics in 2007. Furthering his post-professional education, Dr. Prizinski took numerous manual therapy courses and then enrolled in the Sports Medicine of Atlanta’s Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship Program, which allowed him to refine his medical screening skills and become certified in Direct Access Physical Therapy (DAC). As a fellow-in-training, Dr. Prizinski’s manual therapy background was based on the Maitland Australian Orthopaedic Manual Therapy (COMT) system and gained recognition from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Therapists (FAAOMPT) as a Fellow in May of 2012. Dr. Prizinski is partner and co-founder of Nxt Gen Institute of Physical Therapy where he assisted in program development of both orthopedic residency and orthopedic manual therapy fellowship, which became accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association in 2015-2016. Dr. Prizinski has lectured nationally and taught multiple courses pertaining to clinical reasoning, interdisciplinary/triage management, and neuroplasticity of painful movement and role of manual therapy. Dr. Prizinski is the Director of Clinical Education and partner at the PT Center in Charlotte, NC. He very clinically active treating patients and serves as a mentor for both orthopedic residency and manual therapy fellowship students.

What made you decide to pursue fellowship training?

I was always attracted to becoming a manual therapist. So naturally I took a ton of manual therapy courses. I knew fellowship was the only way to have a mentor in clinic with me to challenge my thought process, advise me on my choice of techniques, and overall management of patient care.

What fellowship program did you attend and why?

I attended the Sports Medicine of Atlanta Manual Therapy Fellowship (now Nxt Gen Institute). My primary reason was to learn direct access and triage management of orthopedic care from Dr. Bob DuVall who not only teaches, but truly practices what he teaches.

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

I reviewed a handful of programs at the time and felt that everyone had a certain flavor. It was my personal goal to learn how to be a true autonomous practitioner, perfect my medical screening skills and movement diagnostic skills, and learn how to refer back to medicine when appropriate. I felt that most programs focused more on particular treatment schemes, guidelines, or techniques. I wanted an overall management process that can house any technique that yields outcomes. I also wanted a program that fostered my development as an educator.

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

I feel fortunate to have studied manipulative therapy from the late Dr. Erhard, one of the founding members of AAOMPT in addition to the Maitland system with mentorship from Ken Learman. I say that I am fortunate because I got to learn both a biomechanical and neurophysiological approach to manipulative therapy. This background served me well to assist in the development of the Nxt Gen Institute COMT curriculum, which is a perfect blend of manual therapy rooted behind a pragmatic approach and triage management principles.

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

The best piece of advice I have for new graduates is to first develop a wide range base knowledge in orthopaedic physical therapy. In my opinion, mastery in orthopedics is mastery in the basic sciences of physical therapy. Further, the better you know your anatomy the better orthopedic practitioner you will be. Having a base in ortho can always serve you well in neuro, sports, cardiopulm, integ, etc. so becoming Board Certified in Orthopedics is a process and mastery of the basic scientific principles of bone, joint, ligament, nerve, kinematics, etc. Put yourself on a self-study course to sit for the Board Exam or enroll in an orthopedic residency program. When looking for an orthopedic residency, pick one that has an orthopedic manual therapy fellowship as well. The reason being that most residency programs do not have a fellowship program and often blend the content and intention of what residency serves. Ask a program the question: “where does residency end and fellowship begin?” Finally, if you did not attend an orthopedic residency and did not take the Board Certification in ortho and want to begin fellowship, I hope your orthopedic base knowledge is sufficient because you may not get everything you wanted out of your fellowship training.

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