Featured Fellow: Dr. Alycia Markowski DPT, MPhyS(manip), FAAOMPT, OCS, Cert MSK-US

Dr. Markowski is a certified orthopedic specialist and fellow of the American Academy of Manual Physical Therapists.  She earned her BSPT and tDPT at Northeastern University, Boston, MA and earned a Masters in Manipulative Physiotherapy from the University of Queensland, Australia. Recently she earned a certificate in diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound. Presently a Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences at Northeastern University, she is a primary instructor for entry level and advanced musculoskeletal courses and Diagnostic Imaging. Alycia is also on faculty for Northeastern College of Professional Studies, Evidence in Motion, and has presented multiple continuing education courses. Her research focuses on the role of wellness in PT and the scholarship of teaching and learning to include ultrasound imaging and evidence informed practice. She is active in the APTA, AAOMPT, IFOMPT serving on committees, attending and presenting at conferences. Alycia is on the board of directors for Heroes in Transition a non-for-profit that supports veterans and families. She encourages students to join her as she coordinates and volunteers medical care for Ruck4HIT Cape Cod and massage for the Pan Mass Challenge.

What inspired you to pursue fellowship training?

I graduated in 1995 (did I just give away my age…) and though I loved PT I was getting frustrated at times. I had patients that presented with MSK dysfunctions that I was not able to achieve the results I was hoping for despite several continuing education courses. I took my first manual therapy course with MAPS led by Bob Sprague and I was hooked. The problem was that back in the clinic the following week, I was having difficulty replicating my new skills. It became clear to me that I needed more mentorship. I explored fellowship opportunities and noticed a trend, most of the faculty at the time were trained in Australia. I saw an opportunity for travel… The US dollar was strong and a student visa would allow me to extend my stay and enrolling in a degree program offered the option for financial assistance.

What fellowship program did you attend and why?

I was visiting the Sports Medicine Department at Michigan State and was speaking with Phil Greenman, the author of Principals of Manual Therapy. I was explaining my desire to advance my career and the potential to travel at the same time. He told me unequivocally that I must study with Gwen Jull (never heard of her but he insisted she was the best).  I took his word and only applied to the University of Queensland’s Masters in Manipulative Therapy.

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

The post professional masters was full time study with 3 semesters of didactic course work integrated with 12 hours a week for 2 semesters of integrated clinical instruction and mentorship. In addition to the current fellowship curriculum, we had an integrated anatomy lab where we completed a cadaver dissection and multimodality imaging course to include ultrasound. I completed a research project mentored by Bill Vicenzino and attended multiple guest lectures the program hosted including: Bob Elvy, Brian Mulligan, Paul Hodges and  Mark Jones. (I hope this does not sound like name dropping as it is more about networking and the amazing doors it may open).

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

I have taken many manual therapy courses and love them all.  Each focused area in manual therapy is a result of pioneers in our field and I value all they have taught us.   The more tools in your tool box, the better you are equipped to problem solve and provide the best care possible for our patients.

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

Start by networking! Talk to colleagues and fellows. Learn about the different programs. Explore opportunities and open yourself to new adventures. Never pass up an occasion to learn. In my opinion, the post professional training is optimal after at least a year of practice as you will be better able to reflect on your current skills and career goals. When students ask me now what I believed was the most valuable information I gained from fellowship I always respond: in addition to quickly elevating my skills and applying evidence based critical thinking, I became confident and efficient in which patient impairments I could treat and who needed a multimodal approach to care. My Fellowship training changed my career path and reinvigorated my love for the profession.

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