Physical Therapy Alum Lends a Helping Hand in Guatemala

Josh D'Angelo, DPT '13, recently traveled to Guatemala inspired by what he learned in the classroom as a graduate of the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences Doctorate of Physical Therapy (PT) Program. D’Angelo wanted to provide Guatemalans with the same quality care that patients in the United States receive. “GW trained my classmates and I to take a culturally sensitive and patient-centered approach that is applicable to any patient we treat, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity.”

During the weeklong trip, D'Angelo saw patients in three different towns across Guatemala. “Our patients ranged from infants with disabilities such as spina bifida to older adults with neurologic disorders such as stroke,” he added.

He also met with the president of the Guatemalan Physical Therapy Association (Associacion Nacional de Fisioterapistas de Guatemala) and the dean of Universidad Panamericana, where the only accredited physical therapy program in Guatemala is located.

As the former president of the Student Assembly Board of Directors for the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and now an active member of the D.C. chapter, D’Angelo had the opportunity to discuss future collaborations with the APTA and initiatives to support Guatemalan PTs.

The highlight of his trip were the Guatemalans — “everyone was gracious, appreciative, and patient.”  This experience was invaluable for D'Angelo who said that the preparation he received at GW and the encouragement from his classmates and faculty, “provided me with the tools I needed to treat, communicate, and educate Guatemalans.”