Paige Anderson (’18 DPT) of Naples, Florida, is among many students who have entered the profession of physical therapy as a second career, making a large shift from the world of engineering and consulting to the very different realm of health care. From the beginning of her time at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences’ (SMHS) Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, Anderson has acted as an accomplished role model for developing professional excellence, especially in advocacy. As a result, Anderson was selected to receive a DCPTA Rising Student Star Award and a 2017 DPT Excellence Award.
As a long-time D.C. resident, Anderson has developed an interest in advocating for the profession of physical therapy and the population it serves. She has attended the Federal Advocacy Forum for the past two years, increasing her knowledge of public policy concerns and voicing these issues to policymakers on Capitol Hill. This experience increased Anderson’s desire to increase student awareness of government laws, policies, and regulations impacting the profession of physical therapy, as well as provide tools to inform representatives about key issues in patient care. Anderson served as a member of the 2017 APTA Student Assembly Project Committee for Professional Advocacy, co-hosted the first D.C. National Advocacy Dinner at the APTA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, and is working closely with the DCPTA on grassroots advocacy projects to improve relationships with policymakers at the local level.
In addition to her passion for advocating for the profession, Anderson has been active at the local level, both within the DPT program and the D.C. community as a whole. During her first semester, Anderson was elected as treasurer of the Physical Therapy Student Organization (PTSO). She also served as a student representative for SMHS senior associate dean interviews, CAPTE accreditation meetings, and prospective student interviews. Throughout her time at SMHS, Anderson has held multiple positions, including a job as the Class of 2018 Audio Visual and Technology assistant, assisting with a Parkinson’s research study led by GW faculty, and utilizing her Functional Movement Systems certification to lead injury prevention clinics for running and cycling groups at Rose Physical Therapy Group. Anderson, who enjoys spearheading new projects, started a journal club for students to stay up-to- date with current research impacting the profession. She also teamed up with two fellow students to start the D.C. Student Special Interest group and served as president for 2017.
Clinically, Anderson has completed internships in outpatient orthopedics as well as acute neurology in New York City. She also plans to continue volunteering as a student physical therapist at Little Workers of the Sacred Heart Pro Bono Clinic in D.C. In addition to clinic hours, Anderson has taken an interest in continuing education opportunities by attending the APTA Combined Sections Meeting (CSM), and volunteered to monitor a session for the Health Policy and Administration section during CSM 2017.