News & Press: Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight on Robert Streb, PT, PhD

Thursday, May 30, 2019   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Mariann Kayser
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 Robert M. Streb, PT, PhD

Clinical Associate Professor

Stony Brook University

Department of Physical Therapy 



June 2019


Robert Streb's membership in the NYPTA began in 1987 when he was a PT student and won APTA's Student Leadership Award. He is passionate about physical therapy and what the profession brings to the health field. Robert is equally passionate about having a strong personal learning network, exploring a wide variety of exercise routines, and enjoying healthy eating habits as a vegan.    


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




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


I first joined APTA/NYPTA in 1987 as a student in an entry level PT program.  I found governance and advocacy fascinating and was the recipient of the APTA's Student Leadership Award.  I remained a member, but my contributions slowly diminished as life got in the way (marriage, children, job, a house, etc.).  There were a number of years that I let my membership lapse as finances and time made it difficult for me to stay involved.  My return to the fold was really a bit by chance when I was invited to speak at a Long Island District mini-conference.  The business meeting that was associated with the mini-conference stoked the embers and I became involved in the District, then Chapter, and finally as a Delegate to the House of Delegates.  When we are not members, or even members who are not involved, it's easy to miss all of the important work and contributions that the Association does every day working for our membership and the community.  It has been so rewarding to be involved with the amazing people who spend time and effort to advance the profession that has been so gratifying to me.  


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? 


Actually, PT was my second career.  I was in management for about five or six years before returning to school and becoming a PT.  I am now in academia and I was drawn to that because I was becoming a bit frustrated with the unwarranted practice variation and lack of solid science in the practice of physical therapy.  I thought I might be able to influence students and have their practice in the clinic be more evidence informed.


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


Opportunities: We are able to provide effective, safe, affordable care for some of the biggest health care challenges.


Challenges:  We are not seen as having that big of a role in health services.  There is too much practice variance.  I feel as if the culture of PT is the main driver of how one practices.  For example, if you did an internship and the clinic was predominantly a manual therapy-based clinic you would tend to treat that way.  I think the challenge is to have the profession be more informed by the evidence.  I feel that we are very biomechanical or pathoanatomic in our framework. The biopsychosocial framework is slowly gaining acceptance and the BPS model offers a more holistic person-centered framework.


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


Develop a personal learning network, work on a growth mind set, be humble and learn from everyone, surf uncertainty.


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


I think development of a personal learning network (PLN) is a key.  It can influence so many, if not all, areas of your life not just physical therapy.  The obvious and well-worn path is continuing education.  There are some great courses and it's a wonderful component to a PLN.  I don't believe it's enough, especially if we take courses that match our mind set.  This can be a concerning source of conformation bias.  You should read, listen to pod casts, spend time in forums and even social media.  The key here is to search for material that is out of your wheel house; contrary points of view, non-PT writings (philosophy, psychology, sociology, etc.), and even fiction.


What are you passionate about?


I am passionate about movement, nutrition and exploration of ideas (curiosity).  I'm a vegan, exercise every day, and seek out new ideas with reading, audio books, pod-casts, forums and social media.  I have my consistent exercise routines but constantly search for variety in my exercise.


I consistently run, strength train and do yoga.  The call of variety has me playing with many other activities such as kayaking, kinstretch, biking, hiking, stick mobility, Indian clubs, and many other movements.


I've been a vegan for about two years and have found that even the relatively small change from vegetarian to vegan has been wonderful.  My energy level and sleep has improved, I've explored and mostly loved an incredibly large variety of spices, and have had countless engaging conversations with people I never would have known because of it.


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


I'm the father of two remarkable men.  Both of my boys contribute so much to their communities, I could not be prouder.  My partner is an intelligent, hard-working, caring woman who I have so much in common with.  We find we run out of weekend before ideas.  We will not be bored when we finally retire.


What is your favorite app or social media outlet?


I'm not a huge social media person.  Currently, I probably spend the most time on Instagram.


What is your guilty pleasure?


Right now it's Game of Thrones. 





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Claudia B. Fenderson says...
Posted Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Robert, You are an inspiring PT who practices what he preaches. Claudia B. Fenderson

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