I was born and raised in Santa Cruz CA and now live and work on the westside, 2 blocks away from the house I grew up in. I graduated from Santa Cruz High School in 2003, received my Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology with a Pre-PT focus at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2007 and my Masters in Physical Therapy at Long Beach State in 2010. I went straight into an Orthopedic Residency through Kaiser Southern California during which I was in a serious accident. I completed the residency, passed the specialty exam and then traveled around the world for most of 2012 after which I settled back in Santa Cruz (lets face it, there’s no place like home). I worked for several outpatient orthopedic clinics throughout Santa Cruz County before starting my own business in 2015.
I prioritize two things in my profession: individualized, one-on-one, quality care and continued education with an emphasis on professional growth. The unfortunate fact is that it is hard to maintain these two things in a clinic run by insurance companies. The design is flawed or more over, our insurance system is backwards. After re-living the same story over and over again, I was tired of treatment times being cut, patients being pushed over to under-qualified aides and insurance reimbursement dictating what treatment I was and wasn’t allowed to give. I opened up my own practice in order to guarantee that at the end of everyday, I know I have given the best possible care to each and every one of my patients. In order to make sure of this, I will never hire, expand or double book, and I will never take insurance as long as it functions in its current state.
I have always been an over-achiever. I would like to blame my parents for something but I think it is just how I am wired. It started with an obsession for math in high school. I love problem solving especially when there is a right and wrong answer. The human body isn’t quite like a math equation but the same process is involved. There is a problem and there is a solution. What makes the human body more exciting and sometimes more challenging is that every body is different. I love this. A lot of my success can be attributed to my constant need to learn. I am continually adding to my toolbox because I believe each individual responds differently to different techniques. What works for one person, doesn’t work for the next so I will never feel my toolbox is full. Experience is another factor of my success. I have seen a lot of people with a lot of different injuries and conditions. Sometimes a tool will work not because a book said it would but because it has worked in the past. More than anything though, I think most of my success is due to my bottomless curiosity and my desire to help people. I am the happiest version of myself when I am dealing with complex patients who really want to be a better version of themselves. I can relate to that.
About every 2 years I get bored and start reaching for something new. This has been great for my professional development and my ever expanding toolbox. Maybe not so great for my husband. Over the years what’s going on in my life often influences which direction I take. The previously mentioned accident and consequential chronic pain made me interested in pain science and management of contributors like stress and diet. Coaching soccer for the high school and now working as their athletic trainer led me to seek more information on injury prevention, functional movement and sports performance. Seeing a growing number of injured “cross-fitters” put me in the CrossFit Level 1 course and later got me into individualized programming for clients of all levels and goals. Then I embarked on maybe the one “job” that will never get boring, parenthood. Naturally, it has shifted my interests as a physical therapist at least for the time being. Having just experienced pregnancy and labor, I am now in what I am realizing is a life long phase of postpartum. The lack of proper prenatal and postnatal care in this country has astonished me and I am determined to be a part of the movement to right this wrong. I am in the process of becoming a pelvic specialist, I will soon be a BirthFit professional and I am already a mom which I feel may be the most valuable qualification as I enter this new chapter to my novel. Or should I call it an encyclopedia at this point?
Master of Physical Therapy, California State University Long Beach
Gray Institute (Gary Gray)