John graduated from Northern Arizona University in 1984. He went on to complete the Graduate Diploma in Manipulative Therapy in 1991 and a Masters in Physiotherapy in 1996 from Curtin University in Perth, Australia. He became a Fellow of the AAOMPT in 1996. John completed his DPT in 2012. He then completed a comprehensive training in Pilates and achieved the certification of Pilates Method Alliance – Certified Pilates Instructor in 2013. John mentors Orthopedic Residents and Fellows for EIM and the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy Programs. John owns Body Logic Physical Therapy in Grass Valley, CA.
What made you decide to pursue fellowship training?
This may make me sound a bit old but there wasn’t fellowship status when I decided to get my training. It was in 1988 that I decided to travel overseas to Australia to get my Manipulative Therapy training. We didn’t have the AAOMPT at the time and I wanted to get the best training available in the world. The Australia programs were very strong with great reputations so I worked towards the program in Perth, Western Australia which was Curtin University.
What fellowship program did you attend and why?
I attended the Graduate Diploma in Manipulative Therapy (GDMT) in Perth, Western Australia in 1990. I chose to focus on this program as I knew two other American PTs that went through this program and I was very impressed with their clinical reasoning skills in manual therapy.
What did your fellowship program entail (as far as specific training, etc…)?
These early programs were quite unique as we were enrolled students at the university. We had a full load of course work that was specific to Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy (OMPT). It was a full academic school year and we were really full time students with clinical practice two days a week. Courses taught were Anatomy and Physiology, Pathology and Diagnosis, Pain Sciences, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Clinical Practice, Research Design. It was incredibly intense.
Are you trained in any specific areas of manual therapy (i.e. Maitland, McKenzie, etc…), if so, why did you choose that area?
The bias of our program was definitely Maitland based, but our program director Bob Elvey wanted us to be very well rounded and have an understanding of how many other approaches thought about treating patients. Bob had many great PTs come spend time with us so we could see their bias and help us be a bit more eclectic. We had influences from Brian Mulligan, Robin McKenzie, Vladimir Janda, Jenny McConnell, and Brian Edwards. I found the Australian approach / Maitland approach to be quite direct and to the point. It’s almost like every patient that walks into your treatment room is a mini research project. You must meticulously use the treat, re-assess model for every patient all day long. It’s quite rewarding to be that disciplined.
What advice would you give to new grads aspiring to pursue residency/fellowship training?
Do it. It will make your work very satisfying. After 32 years I still get excited to treat patients every day and that’s because OMPT is changing so rapidly.
Most importantly, the pursuit of residency or fellowship training is only the beginning. You will then spend the rest of your career trying to keep up with the evidence based research and how you’re going to use it in your practice.
It’s very exciting for you young PTs these days. Heck when I graduated our exciting research was finding out that exercise heated up muscle better than ultrasound. Woohoo! We’ve come a long way and I’m more pumped working with new graduates now than ever before!