Ellen Strunk-PTEllen R. Strunk knew when she graduated from the physical therapy program at UAB in 1991 she would never be bored.

“No two patients are ever the same and no two impairments are exactly alike,” said Strunk. “There are so many possibly venues in which physical therapy exists.”

Working with older adults is her love and it’s given her the opportunity to work in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies and outpatient rehab agencies.

“The profession of physical therapy is universal in a lot of ways, but it is unique in its application,” said Strunk. “That is the joy and the challenge of having my degree.”

She almost considered medicine while earning her undergraduate degree. A job as a PT tech at a hospital changed her mind.

“I loved the fact that I would be able to work more closely with patients to help them achieve wellness,” said Strunk.

While she chose UAB because it was affordable, the Knoxville, Tenn. native quickly learned the reputation of the PT program.

“I realized I was fortunate to have been invited into a program that is nationally respected,” said Strunk. “The teachers and professors and mentors at UAB were and are nationally respected.”

Strunk is also known on the national scene having been published in the American Physical Therapy Association for reimbursement issues and cardiovascular system age-related changes and problems. In 2012, she was elected president of the Alabama Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association.

She took the plunge in 2008 and founded her company, Rehab Resources and Consulting, Inc. in Birmingham.

“I specialize in helping clients understand the Medicare prospective payment systems for skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies as well as the Medicare conditions of participation and fee schedule for rehab agencies,” said Strunk. “In our current environment of reducing health care expenditures, every cost to the health care system is under scrutiny. PT’s must be knowledgeable in the rules in order to protect themselves and their patients.”

Strunk said it’s important for PT’s to never stop learning in this ever-changing environment.

“Be passionate about what you do every day,” said Strunk. “Be an advocate for your patient and your profession.”