Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Celebrates Growth and Professionalism

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The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences Physical Therapy Class of 2023 graduates celebrated their accomplishments and highlight the outstanding achievements of their fellow students and faculty, May 19, in the GW Student Center.

Ellen Costello, PhD, PT, director of the GW SMHS Physical Therapy Program, opened the ceremony with encouraging remarks. “Think of how much you’ve grown professionally and personally over the last three years. You not only mastered your studies and shined in clinic, but you did so under unprecedented circumstances.”

Costello added, “You are the person that patients and clients put their trust in, share their stories with, laugh with and cry with as you work with them to achieve their goals. Your skills as an active listener reflect a practitioner who continues to learn and grow with each client and each new professional journey and ensure an exciting and worthwhile career. You will always be proud to call yourself a physical therapist,”

This year’s class continued on a tradition of gifting the next class of GW PT students with their first white coats. Rachel Vasquez, DPT ’23 shared that she hopes the gift “welcomes them into the medical profession and reminds them that they are a part of the tradition of GW PT students.” Dominic DiPrinzio, DPT ’23 gave the student charge and encouraged his fellow graduates to appreciate their varying skill sets outside of their knowledge of [health care]. He credits his time in business school with an “experience [that] added an extreme amount of value to what I can bring to my patients and colleagues in the future.”

This year’s award winners included:

  • Outstanding Alumni Award: Leanna Blanchard, DPT ’15
  • Outstanding Clinical Educator Award: Michelle Kozakowski, PT, DPT, George Washington University Hospital
  • Outstanding Clinical Site: Adventist Health Care
  • Outstanding Student Research Award: Anna Miller
  • Academic Excellence Award: Rachel Vasquez and Adam Laplant
  • Clinical Leadership Award: Valerie Oliphant and Carlos Bautista Enrique
  • Service Excellence Award: Meghan Henderson and Ashley Warren
  • Peer Recognition Award: Katherine Zetkulic
  • Special Recognition Award for Advocacy: Dominic DiPrinzio
  • Jean Johnson Award for Leadership, Excellence, and Quality: Fernando Dominguez
  • Outstanding Faculty Award: Matthew Garber, PT, DSC, OCS, FAAOMPT,

The awards ceremony also recognized the class leadership and groups of outstanding students who volunteered at the pro bono clinic as well as worked as a research assistant during their time in the GW SMHS PT program.

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