Alumni Activities

Our alumni serve as great role models for our current students. To find out how our current students are getting involved, visit the student life page of this Web site. For other departmental news and announcements, visit the news page of this Web site.

Department alumnae assist survivors of Virginia Tech Tragedy

Alumnae Catie Davis'97 MS/PT and Amy (Odom) Rathmann '06 DPT provided physical therapy services to the victims of the shooting at Virginia Tech who were treated at Montgomery Regional Hospital. You can read about their experiences along with their personal reflections on the tragedy in the 2007 winter edition of the VCU-MCV alumni magazine, Scarab. [PDF]

Alumna brings physical therapy to film and television

Anne Kilpatrick Lorio '01 in her own words

I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in 1995. I majored in American History. I first became interested in physical therapy during my fourth year in college, when I worked at a specialty running shop in Charlottesville that focused on the basics of biomechanics and gait analysis. I started physical therapy school at the Medical College of Virginia in 1998 and graduated in 2001. During school, my 3rd rotation was an eight-week affiliation at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. I spent eight weeks working with the inpatient dual team, which focused on both spinal cord injury and mild brain injury and despite always thinking I was going to go into outpatient orthopedics/sports medicine, I fell in love with Shepherd Center. I received two awards while at VCU, one my second year for demonstrating outstanding leadership, and one my third year for most outstanding clinical skills (I was nominated by my clinical instructors at Shepherd Center and at the Hand Management Center at the VCU Medical Center.

After graduation, I found out about a job opening at Shepherd, left for the interview shortly after graduation from PT school, and I was offered the job. I returned to Atlanta to start my first job out of PT school as the inpatient physical therapist for the Dual Team. I managed to pass my PT boards AND complete my first Ironman all in the same week (which I would not recommend trying to do was brutal!) I worked on the inpatient dual team for a year and a half, and then transferred to the outpatient physical therapy department here at Shepherd. I remained in this position for another year and a half, helped to develop the multiple sclerosis day team, but I really missed inpatient rehabilitation, so I returned to inpatient, this time working with the Senior team, which specializes in treating individuals who are spinal cord injured as well as senior citizens. I am currently in this role and working on developing this specialty team.

During this past year, I have had a couple of opportunities that have been a little unusual. In the fall, they began filming the upcoming movie about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which will be released in April and titled "Warm Springs." The producer of the film came to Shepherd looking for resources that might be able to help and consult with the movie. I was asked to assist since I had worked with some post polio patients in outpatient. I spent a morning helping teach Kenneth Branagh how to use long leg braces and how to walk like FDR so that he could play the part realistically. He had many questions regarding the script, for example, "In this one scene, FDR is talking with someone and he gets a leg spasm, what would that look like?" I also spoke with the screenwriter and director of the movie to make sure the script was historically accurate. Recently, I worked with two patients (a husband and wife) that contracted Botulism Type-A from bad Botox injections. This couple was told that they were getting Botox injections, but instead it was from a company that is currently being investigated by the FDA for selling pure botulinum toxin as a generic Botox brand. To make a long story short, my two patients ended up completely paralyzed and on ventilators. They were admitted to Shepherd for comprehensive rehabilitation. During their stay here, "Primetime Live" with Diane Sawyer came and did a piece on this unusual case. My OT partner, Sarah Broton and I were filmed working with these patients and it was broadcasted on national TV. The local news also came to film us working with the patients, and the story was played quite a bit at Shepherd. A lot of my former patients called in saying, "I saw you on TV again working with those Botox patients!" It caused quite a flurry of activity for quite sometime, but it definitely made for an interesting case while they were here.

This past year I received a "Gold Star" for outstanding customer service at Shepherd Center. I have become more involved with education and lectured at a nearby physical therapy assistant school and I am assisting with teaching at the SCI course offered at Shepherd Center.