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jkuchma78
08-07-2002, 08:54 AM
Kristin:
I made a similar decision 5 years ago. I have a BS in mechanical engineering
and a MS in Rehabilitation/physical therapy. I have been out of school for
2 years and practicing as a therapist for 1.5 years along with working in a
manufacturing facility as a contract engineer. My intention and future goal
are to combine the two disciplines in practice, which I'm finding a bit
difficult if you limit yourself to geographic region. There are many areas
in rehab that would benefit from an "engineering" background, such as
prosthetics, assitive technology & environmental access, and gait anlysis
facilities.
If I were to do it over again, I would go to a school that offered a DPT
(doctorate in physically therapy), especially in your case. There have been
many interesting post-docs listed here on this list that require some type
of doctorate. The listings I've seen work as a team with MD's, PhD's, PT's
and patients. One facility that you may want to consider is NIH in
Bethesda,MD.
One more unfortunate thing you may want to consider is salary. I have
found that in the area I live (metropolitain area of SC) PT's are in high
demand, so the pay is not great ~$39k per year for an acute care hospital.
If you go to a more rural location, the pay improves. Average salaries are
different by region and type of practice.

I wouldn't give up the experiences I have had as a therapist. I may just
change how I approach the acquistion of my degree.
Best of Luck
Jennifer Kuchma, PT


>From: Curt DeGroff
>Reply-To: Curt DeGroff
>To: BIOMCH-L@NIC.SURFNET.NL
>Subject: Re: [BIOMCH-L]
>Date: Tue, 6 Aug 2002 12:11:21 -0700
>
>Kristin:
> I am somewhat biased but I faced similar questions when I was
>considering going for a PhD bioengineering degree versus going to
>medical school with the engineering degree I had (MS). I am very happy I
>picked medical school. I feel it allows me (just as people predicted) to
>be more in charge of my career. However, some say the physician
>scientist is a dying breed. I think it really depends what you like and
>who you are. Have you considered a combined MD/PhD program?
>
>Curt DeGroff, MD
>University of Colorado HSC
>
>P.S. You can get through medical school even if you like math.
>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>Mitch Maltenfort wrote:
>
>>Kristin:
>>
>>Locally, check out
>>
>>http://engineering.cua.edu/biomedical/index.html
>>
>>Go for the PhD. First, you get a stipend and a tuition waiver; med school
>>makes you pay. Second, if you like math, you will not be happy in med
>>school.
>>
>>
>>Also, check http://www.smpp.nwu.edu, the link for the Sensory-Motor
>>performance program at NU. That is a research program integrated with the
>>PT department.
>>
>>Mitch M.
>>Howdy...
>>
>>I'm not sure if this is the right forum to ask this in, so if it is, I
>>
>>apologize in advance.
>>
>>
>>My name is Kristin Pilotte, and I'm a Masters of Science student in
>>
>>Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. My
>>
>>undergraduate degree is a BS in Physics, and I anticipate finishing my MS
>>
>>within a year (by May 2003). However, through my undergraduate and now
>>
>>graduate career, I've felt that I keep coming back to a strong desire to
>>
>>work with people, and work in a rehabilitation field. I went through the
>>
>>intro courses thinking I was going to apply to medical school after I got
>>
>>my BS, but decided fairly early on that I could never tell somebody that
>>
>>they were dying (just a personal issue) and that maybe medical school
>>
>>wasn't for me. I was working, at the time, in the Space Systems
>>Laboratory
>>
>>at UMd, doing design work for a space robot called Ranger Telerobotic
>>
>>Shuttle Experiment. To stay involved with the project after gradaution, I
>>
>>opted to come and get my MS. Now the project is almost done, and all of
>>my
>>
>>work with the robot is pretty much done. I was responsible for designing
>>
>>the end effectors for the dexterous robot to do satellite servicing tasks
>>
>>in space. I'm working on my thesis, which is a trade study on the ability
>>
>>of dexterous robots to do space servicing tasks, and an exploration of
>>what
>>
>>level of dexterity allows you to do certain types of tasks. In my class
>>
>>work, therefore, I've focused mainly on design classes and classes related
>>
>>to human factors and biomechanics--the principles there easily extend to
>>
>>robots, particularly for space applications.
>>
>>
>>Enough of my research and background. The other aspect that's important
>>is
>>
>>that though I decided medical school wasn't for me, I never have given up
>>
>>that I want to work in the orthopaedic rehabilitation field. As a
>>
>>competitive soccer player, rock climber, and in karate, I've had
>>experience
>>
>>in personal injury (double shoulder surgery, sprained right knee with
>>
>>subluxations, chipped left kneecap, lateral ankle reconstruction coming up
>>
>>next week, a few broken fingers, a broken toe, cracked ribs...not all at
>>
>>the same time, of course) thus was looking into going into biomechanics
>>
>>design engineering. However, I'm still afraid of sitting in front of a
>>
>>computer 24/7, so the thought occurred to me to go into physical therapy.
>>
>>
>>I guess my question really becomes this. I'm seriously considering PT
>>
>>school...but given what I want to do, is it possible that medical school
>>
>>(if I could get in) would serve me better for research opportunities? Are
>>
>>there any PTs out there that do engage in research of rehabilitation (both
>>
>>via physical therapy and the use of orthoses, whose design I'm
>>particularly
>>
>>interested in given my experience with knees and ankles) in addition to
>>
>>working with patients? Does anybody out there know if either the
>>
>>University of Maryland system or Johns Hopkins University system have any
>>
>>programs that might allow me to work with patients and do research and
>>
>>apply my biomechanical engineering skills (I ask about those particularly
>>
>>since for family reasons I would prefer to be in this area for a few more
>>
>>years anyway)?
>>
>>
>>Thanks in advance for any suggestions or advice anybody could offer, and I
>>
>>apologize again if I've asked my questions in the wrong forum. As I
>>
>>mentioned earlier, I have about a year to figure this stuff out, but I'm
>>
>>trying to start to determine what my next step is.
>>
>>
>>Thanks,
>>
>>kristin pilotte
>>
>>University of Maryland Space Systems Lab
>>
>>
>>
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