Know Your Professor: Amy Heath

October 01, 2015

Health

October is Physical Therapy Month! We spoke with Dr. Heath, Chair of our Doctor of Physical Therapy program and proud Simmons alumna.

When did you know you wanted to be a Physical Therapist?

I had a great advisor my senior year of high school. After taking multiple career aptitude tests in which I was evenly split between engineering and medicine, he told me: “I once heard a physical therapist described as an engineer of the human body.” I was sold.

When I was a student at Simmons, I...

was very involved in athletics. I played both basketball and softball. Participating in these sports was critical to my success. They kept me focused and helped me manage my time. They also provided social support and a great group of people with which to have fun! Many of the people I met on my Simmons teams are still my friends today.

How did Simmons help prepare you for your career?

Graduating from the Simmons DPT program prepared me to treat patients in a compassionate way, while applying the most recent research to care for them efficiently. Less tangible, but certainly equally as important, Simmons taught me that I love learning – that there are always questions to be asked and answers to find. If one is fortunate enough to have the resources and opportunities to pursue these questions/answers it is our responsibility to do so and to share the information with others.

What's your favorite part about being back at Simmons?

My favorite part is the community. Simmons is a special place. At times, it feels almost magical – easy to say for a faculty member, I know! Seriously though, the people here are my favorite part of being back.

If you could travel to anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?

If I could travel anywhere in the world right now I would walk up to the airline counter and ask for a ticket on the next international flight – and let fate run its course. There are so many places I want to go, I can’t imagine just picking one.

What's your favorite book?

The scientist in me loves to read anything by Mary Roach. She uses her smarts and wicked sense of humor to tackle interesting and often taboo subjects. I recently finished Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, in which Roach somehow makes the marvels of our digestive system hilarious and riveting.

What's the most rewarding part of being a Physical Therapist?

The most rewarding part of being a Physical Therapist is working with a patient from beginning to end and watching them transition from painful to painfree. The trust and relationships that form during this transition are memorable and remarkable. When a patient leaves PT and can return to what they love doing, it gives me a feeling of accomplishment and joy.

What advice would you give students starting the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Simmons and alumni starting their careers in Physical Therapy?

The best advice I have for students starting the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Simmons is– read! Read the assigned readings, and suggested readings; read everything you can get your hands on. It’s interesting stuff and will give you perspective. For alumni starting careers: I’d give them the same advice. There is so much literature available to help us with our practice. Be a good consumer and an informed PT!

I love Simmons because...

Simmons is where I found my voice, and I know others have and will find theirs at Simmons too.