News & Press: Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight on Melanie A. Gillar, PT, DPT, MA

Friday, June 22, 2018   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Gloria Baker
Share |




Melanie A. Gillar, PT, DPT, MA

of Gillar Physical Therapy



June 2018

Get to know NYPTA's featured member of this month!  Melanie A. Gillar shares her fascinating journey that led her to the profession of physical therapy.  Through life's opportunities and challenges, physical therapy has been a constant for her, and remains her passion.  You'll learn of her favorite career accomplishments, pastimes and guilty pleasures. 



Take a few minutes and get to know this month's member spotlight with us!  Enjoy the Q&A with Melanie below.

How long have you been a member of the NYPTA?  What is your best experience thus far?


I’ve been a member of NYPTA since I moved to New York in 1977.  I’ve loved all the opportunities that my involvement in NYPTA made possible, but my favorite was when I was Chief Delegate from 1999 to 2003.


Tell us a little about your background, and how your path led you to where you are in your career today. What’s your favorite moment of your career so far?

I grew up in New Jersey the oldest of three girls.  In high school, our Senior Class project was “patterning” a young girl with cerebral palsy.  That was my first exposure to a “helping” situation.  A friend had applied to a college with the idea of majoring in physical therapy.  That piqued my interest.  I had already completed all my college applications applying as a Spanish major.  When I went up to UConn to register for classes for my first semester, I indicated I was interested in majoring in physical therapy.  The person I met with reviewed my information and immediately called the Associate Dean of the Physical Therapy Program, Dr. Frances M. Tappan, PT, EdD.  I was sent over immediately to meet with Dr. Tappan who admitted me as a freshman into the PT Program, Class of 1975.


My favorite moment of my career so far?  


That’s a difficult one.  I’ve had many wonderful moments in my career.  Two that come to mind are my promotion to and tenure as PT Manager at what was then The New York Hospital – Cornell Medical Center (now NY Presbyterian – Weill Cornell Medical Center) and the second was when I was asked to write a chapter for a new PT textbook.  Seeing my chapter in print when the textbook was published was an enormous thrill!


What are some of the key opportunities and challenges facing the physical therapy profession?

We have both an amazing opportunity as well as a challenge to get the next generation of leaders involved at the grass roots level.  How we mentor needs to be different than how my contemporaries and I were mentored. We need to consider the generational differences and adapt how we communicate and structure opportunities for this next generation of leaders to engage them and make them want to participate in District, Chapter and National activities and opportunities.  For a Baby Boomer like myself, this means really thinking outside the box and the lines!

What advice would you give NYPTA members who are new to the profession? 


Get involved in the NYPTA at the district level.  Get to know your local colleagues, get involved in district activities, and start expanding your PT network.  One of the greatest joys of being involved at the District, Chapter, and National levels for me has been the amazing colleagues that I’ve met.  Many of those colleagues are now very close friends and part of what I refer to as my “APTA family”.


What is a favorite tip you have that you could share with others in our industry? 


As I indicated above, networking is extremely important.  Networking and having access to colleagues both locally and nationally affords you many opportunities for consultation and collaboration.  


What are you passionate about?


I’m passionate about the profession of physical therapy!  Through all the ups and downs of life, being a physical therapist has been a constant for me.  It has given me so many opportunities and so much joy.  I’m always amazed that a profession I decided on at the age of 17 never having been in a physical therapy department or clinic has been so wonderful to me!! 


What else would you like your fellow NYPTA members to know about you? 


I love to read and for me that means holding an actual book in my hand when I’m doing it.  Spy stories are my favorite genre and I mostly read fiction.  Once I find an author I like, I always look to see what else they’ve written.  Daniel Silva is one of my favorites.  I’ve been reading his novels in the order they were written and look forward to the new one that comes out every year.  I also keep an ongoing list of novels that I think will interest me.  Every week I review the best-seller lists in The New York Times Book Review to see what piques my interest and add those that do to my list. 

What is your favorite app or social media outlet?


Is texting a social media outlet?  If it is, it’s my only social media outlet.  I text, I email, but my favorite form of communicating is still talking on the phone! 


What is your guilty pleasure? 


I have more than one.  I love TV shows and I love being able to watch them On Demand at a time that works for me.  My other guilty pleasure is hot dogs/pigs in a blanket.  When we used to travel to Albany for NYPTA Board meetings, we always stopped at the rest stop on the NY Thruway between Exits 19 and 20 because they had a Nathan’s Hot Dogs stand.  I won’t divulge the names of the others, but I do know that I wasn’t the only one with that guilty pleasure!! 




Do you know someone who should be a Member Spotlight?  Email


Claudia B. Fenderson says...
Posted Tuesday, July 3, 2018
It is wonderful to hear your story. I also started patterning a child with CP when I was in high school. You are an inspiration to all of us in the PT profession. Claudia B. Fenderson

more Calendar
Featured Members

Online Surveys
Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal