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Member Spotlight on Ashley Houck, PT, DPT

Friday, November 17, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Carla Rosenbaum
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Ashley Houck, PT, DPT

Orthology; Physical Therapist 






November 2017


Ashley Houck was recently awarded the Maimonides Healthcare Award from Touro College, for demonstrating the highest professional ideals of a healthcare professional. Ashley's passion for the profession is combined with her love of dance and the arts, as evidenced in her experiences performing arts specialization in PT. During her time as a student, Ashley embraced the opportunity to be a student delegate to the NYPTA Delegate Assembly, and broadened her views on the PT profession by learning about governance and advocacy. Among all of these activities, Ashley also found time to run in the NYC Marathon this year!

Get to know Ashley, this month's member spotlight!


Congratulations on the award you received! Please tell us what it feels like to be the recipient of the Touro College Healthcare Award, and exactly what this means to you.  


I feel very fortunate to have received the Maimonides Healthcare Award.  As students, we go through this journey of applying to PT school, being accepted, immersing ourselves into the rigor of the coursework, work towards graduating, and passing our boards.  And while this journey can seem rather arduous at the time, this award is a great reminder as to the patients, clinical instructors, friends, family, professors, etc. that have inspired us to pursue this profession and how important it is to hold onto the inspiration as we head out into the world to practice.


Tell us a little about your background, and how your path lead you to where you are in your career today.


I suppose a great deal of life experiences lead me to this profession, but I would like to say that the arts have strongly influenced my journey.  I began taking dance classes and violin lessons at the age of three and they left a lasting impression (so much so that I still attempt to continue both in my adult life.)  Subscribing to dance magazines as a youngin was where I first discovered that dancers were treated by physical therapists not only when injured but as a form of injury prevention.  During my undergraduate career, I felt a career in the medical field would be fitting (I dabbled in ecology research and attempted the medical school track) but I also hoped to pursue the arts in some capacity.  In volunteering at various PT clinics, I finally felt this realm of healthcare was the right fit.  Throughout PT school, I was grateful for the opportunity to experience performing arts specialization in physical therapy.


You are an active member of the NYPTA. Can you tell us how membership in your professional associations has enhanced your career? 


My first year of PT school, I attended the NYPTA’s Delegate Assembly as a student delegate, thanks to our DCE, Dr. Laura Hagan, for alerting us of the opportunity.  The weekend at the assembly exposed an entirely different aspect of physical therapy—advocacy.  I am grateful that the NYPTA offers this exposure to PT advocacy to students so those interested can continue to do so as professionals.   


How is technology helping or changing your experience as in the PT industry? What is your favorite new technology or device?


We are trending towards electronic medical records, which is an incredible feat for the progression of the entire field of healthcare.  The PT industry has the luxury of keeping their basis of treatment simplistic in the sense that manual treatment can employ very little equipment.  However, in certain settings, technology devoted towards biofeedback and motion control prosthetics may be adventitious in regaining function for certain patients.  Throughout Touro College’s PT curriculum, 3D printing was introduced to us as a form of designing prosthetics and orthotics.  While the technology is still being refined, it’s incredible how quickly adjustments are made and the incredible engineers behind the software and machinery used in 3D printing.

What is one of the biggest differences between now, and the time you first started practicing physical therapy?


When I first was immersed into the world of PT, working as a PT aide, I was unaware the profession was undergoing the transition from a Master’s to a doctoral degree and the concept of direct access.  Now that I have some sense of the many steps and legislative action involved to achieve these transitions, I am appreciative for those individuals who aided in the momentous process.


What is your favorite hobby or past time, and how have you incorporated that into your career if at all? 


Dancing and playing the violin hold a special place in my heart, whether I’m taking class or watching performances.  While I enjoy treating patients with a multitude of diagnoses and appreciate the many settings PT has to offer, I am eager for the opportunity to treat performing artists.  We are not reinventing the wheel when treating this population but it is exciting to read about the progression of dancer wellness screenings, incorporating dance specific movement into their treatment, and discussing how their specific movement patterns could be nuanced to improve their mechanics and their performance. 


What advice would you give to a new professional, or a student of physical therapy as they embark on this career path?


Well, while I’m a newbie to the professional PT world, I would say that even as a student, you can appreciate that this profession promotes lifelong learning.  Take the time to explore different settings, collaborate with classmates/colleagues, and do not hesitate to initiate student-run groups and learning opportunities.  


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


This year, I took part in the NYC Marathon!!!   

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