Soon to be Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy

Posts Tagged ‘Lori Mize’


The Visible Life: Building Authentic Student/Patient Relationships

Posted on: April 11th, 2017 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

By Lori Mize, PT, DPT, WCS

Wife, Mother, Physical Therapist, Teacher, Professional, Servant, Member….

Something caught me by surprise when I began working with students full-time in the academic world. I find very interesting (and awesome) how they have this inner desire to know just as much about how to be an adult, professional, wife, or mom as they want to know about classroom physical therapy content.

I also feel a figurative smack in the forehead and imagine hearing, “Duh!” really loud. People were designed for relationships and community. Students need this personal relationship not only with their classmates, but also with instructors introducing them to the fine profession we call physical therapy.

Our students are watching us in the classroom and elsewhere in our lives. (Cue Sting song: “I’ll Be Watching You.”) They seek role models, but we often leave our lives at home and our work at work.

When I was a student on clinical rotations, I had a rather cheeky clinical instructor in an acute care setting once tell me that I revealed too much information to my patients. I disagreed! I would have seen her point if I had revealed something inappropriate like my address, detailed childbirth experiences, etc., but I just talked to them. I tried to find commonalities between where we were from, our children, interests, anything but more medical jabbering.

Interpersonal relationships matter, even those kept at a protected distance between patient and therapist. In our profession we more easily acknowledge the healing power of relationships with our patients. We even cite research that points to the patient-professional relationship being as important as the latter’s skill and intervention.

Yet throughout PT curriculum, emphasizing (appropriate) interpersonal relationships and mentorships with students is not our strong suit. We pride ourselves in our “biopsychosocial” approach to patient care but often forget to apply that same concept to our students.

What causes this invisible barrier of access? (Cue MC Hammer song: “Can’t Touch This.”) Sure, risks must be managed—we’re in a litigious society–but I think it may be something more. I think we’re holding back from our students because we fear our vulnerability, exposure, and failure. We subscribe to a never-let-them-see-you-bleed mentality, when in reality, they would learn just as much, if not more, if they did see us bleed … and then recover!

My literature search about the effect of relationships and mentorship outcomes between students and instructors has come up empty. I’m sure this is primarily due to the many variables that contribute to the research question and the difficulty of identifying specific enough questions. However, I plan to study this, to find out how we can transform students into better, more amazing, passionate, and fulfilled physical therapists. We must learn how to identify what may be a missing element in our teaching environments.

Students are no different from patients. I believe they—and their learning–thrive better with trusting relationships. And when personal relationships and mentorships occur, they get to learn how to be adults, good partners, parents, professionals, servants, and so on. Sometimes, that gets messy, but I think they benefit from that, too.

Why should they have to wait until they graduate and have a job to begin that relationship and mentoring process? Let’s all start advocating for a more “whole-person” approach during a student’s most formidable time. (Cue climax of various superhero theme songs.)

AUTHOR: SOWH Director of Education Lora “Lori” Ann Mize, PT, DPT, WCS, is an associate professor at Lynchburg College in Virginia.







Section on Women’s Health Announces 2017 Education Awards

Posted on: April 5th, 2017 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments


CONTACTS: Lora “Lori” Ann Mize, Director of Education, [email protected]

Kristin Clarke, AMG Account Executive for SOWH, 571-344-5422, [email protected]

McLean, VA: The Section on Women’s Health, a professional association of nearly 3,000 physical therapists and students who specialize in pelvic and abdominal health, has honored seven outstanding volunteers with its inaugural education awards during the 2017 SOWH Annual Business Meeting.

SOWH leaders presented the awards February 17 during the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. SOWH is an independent organization affiliated with APTA.

“High-quality, evidence-based education has been core to the Section on Women’s Health mission since our founding 40 years ago,” says Director of Education Lora Ann Mize, PT, DPT, WCS. “While we have many wonderful volunteers involved in providing education across the country, these award winners stand out for particular achievements in the past year or for longtime high-impact service.”

Honorees are below, followed by descriptions of their achievements:

Outstanding Instructor for Certificate of Achievement in Pelvic Physical Therapy (CAPP-Pelvic)–Mary Jane Strauhal, PT, DPT, BCB-PMD

Outstanding Instructor for Certificate of Achievement in Pregnancy/Postpartum-Obstetrics–Darla Cathcart, PT, DPT, CLT, WCS

Lab Assistant of the Year–Jennifer Davia, PT, DPT, WCS

Outstanding Education Volunteer of the Year–Karen Snowden, PT, DPT, WCS

Outstanding Education Volunteer of the Year–Karen Litos, PT, DPT, WCS

Outstanding Course Host Facility and Coordinator–Gail Zitterkopf, PT, DPT,CLT, CKTP, and Memorial Hermann in Houston

Years of Service Award–Rebecca Stephenson, PT, DPT, MS, WCS


Awardee Descriptions by Lori Mize:

Lab Assistant of the Year: Jenn Davia

“Jenn has been fantastic! She is so smart and fun, and she is always behind the scenes making sure all is covered, so courses and especially labs run smoothly. I always feel confident that there are no worries when she is at a course. Jenn is outstanding, warm, friendly, and is dedicated to optimal learning for course participants.”

Outstanding Course Host Facility and Coordinator: Gail Zitterkopf and Memorial Hermann in Houston

“Gail has always been willing to host whatever courses we have needed at the SOWH, even if that was not a course that her staff required. She invests so much of her personal time and energy into the Section. We are grateful to have Memorial Hermann as one of our premier partner sites, and we couldn’t do it without Gail.”

Outstanding Education Volunteer of the Year 1: Karen Snowden

“Karen has volunteered for the Section in so many ways, from chairing the CAPP-OB Case Review Committee to being a committee member and assistant chair on the CAPP-OB committee. She also has been a committee lab assistant for the SOWH courses. Karen is incredibly dedicated to the profession, our association, and to excellence!”

Outstanding Education Volunteer of the Year 2: Karen Litos

“Karen has volunteered for the Section in so many ways. Of particular note is that she edited our course and lab manuals, and has been a member of the CAPP-OB Committee.”

Outstanding Instructor for CAPP-OB: Darla Cathcart

“Darla is an excellent instructor. She knows the material and is wonderful at keeping people engaged. She is described as a dynamic, effective teacher with a true passion for pelvic health. She consistently scores extremely high in participant ratings for all courses she teaches and has set a great example for the CAPP-OB committee and instructors, developing procedures and practices that guide practice today.”

Outstanding Instructor for CAPP-Pelvic: MJ Strauhal

“MJ is an excellent instructor who invests herself in remaining current in the pelvic health literature, makes herself approachable to participants, and has a way of keeping the interest of everyone in the room. I have always enjoyed hearing MJ teach. She is extremely knowledgeable and effective. Her passion for pelvic health and course participants learning is so amazing! And if there ever was an article written regarding pelvic health, MJ not only knows its contents, authors, and date published, but she has a copy of it in her suitcase that she brings with her to every course. MJ serves not only as a mentor for pelvic instructors, but also for many pelvic health practitioners. Our field would not be where it is today without MJ.”

Years of Service Award: Rebecca Stephenson

“Rebecca has been serving in some capacity within education for as long as I have been around, and I am certain even longer. Rebecca came onto the CAPP-OB Committee in 2009. She has developed modules and course materials, lab assisted, instructed, mentored new lab assistants and instructors, done course hosting, and now is leading our international endeavors! Rebecca has done all this while also representing the SOWH as an officer (most recently, president) of the International Organization of Physical Therapists in Women’s Health.”


Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Section on Women’s Health-American Physical Therapy Association (SOWH) is a professional membership association of nearly 3,000 physical therapists treating patients across the life span and around the globe. Members provide the latest evidence-based physical therapy services to everyone, including LGBTQ populations, young athletes, childbearing women, peri-menopausal mothers, and men with pelvic health complications. In addition to providing top-quality continuing education, the Section provides networking opportunities, access to peer-reviewed research, inclusion in a PT Locator directory, and lab training. Learn more at





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