Chuan WangChuan Wang '10 with son, Ian.Former Olympic swimmer Chuan Wang earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2010. Four years later, he’s reconnecting with his Olympic roots by travelling to Beijing, China to serve as the director of a new sports medicine clinic in the Chinese Olympic Training center.

Wang currently works as a clinical director at Advance Rehabilitation in Rockmart, GA. He recently became a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopaedic surgery through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialities, a distinction that less that 10% of all US phsyical therapists can claim. He will begin his new job at the Chinese Olympic Training center this fall.

Wang first discovered physical therapy in 1996, while competing in the Olympic Games in Atlanta, GA. “I met a physical therapist who worked for the swimming events,” Wang recalls. “I was very impressed by his skills. Before I met that PT, I only knew that I wanted to be a specialist who could help people recover from injuries. After meeting him, I decided to be a physical therapist.”

Before moving to the US in 2001, Wang studied clinical medicine in his hometown of Tianjin, China. “Physical therapy in China is still a relatively new profession,” he explains. “I came to Troy, Alabama as an exchange student during my senior year at Tianjin Medical University. There I earned a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training. The field is closely related to PT education, so I knew I could apply it to the DPT later.”

Wang knew from the beginning what he would do with his DPT.

“I set up a goal and always worked toward it,” he says. “I want to build a connection between American and Chinese physical therapy. I wish to bring my experience and skills to China and assist them in developing a better profession.”

While at UAB School of Health Professions, Wang helped translate for a Chinese scholar group that visited the UAB Department of Physical Therapy and Spain Rehabilitation Center. Last February, he gave a lecture concerning manual therapy and spine rehabilitation in Beijing’s United Health Rehabilitation Hospital.

“I’d like to build up an exchange program between universities in China and the US,” Wang says. “Ideally, PT students in China could spend some time at UAB or other PT schools in order to engage with clinical training. I’d also like to get involved in PT program development in some of the Chinese universities—giving lectures, inviting students to observe or train in my clinic, and starting some kind of clinical internship for PT students and new graduates.”

As the fall approaches, Wang reflects on his time at UAB.

“Professionalism is the most important thing I learned from our DPT program,” he says. “As a UAB graduate, I will continuously do my very best to improve my professionalism and provide the best quality care to my patients and the community. I am really excited and proud to be representing UAB’s DPT program in the Chinese Olympic Training center this coming fall."