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Alumni News Elena Potter April 01, 2024

As UAB PT celebrates its 60th anniversary, we want to spotlight a few of our many successful alumni and hear how the department has impacted their journeys.

With that said, we are pleased to introduce you to Lisa Altamirano, PT, BBU, alumna of our PT Class of 1998. Currently, Lisa is owner of Agile Physical Therapy in Birmingham.

Lisa AltamiranoWhat are your credentials? Specializations, etc.?

I went to ASFA for dance 8th grade thru 12th, BFA in Dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, MSPT, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, BBU Pilates certifications Table, Reformer, and Chair, IPA certifications in PNF techniques and mobilization, Expert in Dance Medicine for 26 years. I started injury prevention programs at ASFA dance, Alabama Ballet and other local studios, and educating dance companies, competition dance teams, High School Dance teams on injury prevention and self-care. I am certified in Dry Needling, Light Therapy by Light Force, and in Neubie by Neufit. I specialize in progressive physical therapy treatments that promote efficient and effective treatment for a faster, safe recovery.

What is your favorite memory from your time at UAB PT?

The Freshman Retreat to Camp McDowell being able to bond with my fellow classmates, Dr. Marilyn Gossman, and other faculty members. The team building skills in the outdoors, listening to a fellow classmate play the guitar and everyone singing along.

What is something you learned from UAB PT that you have taken into your career?

Well, an easy answer is the superior education, but for me taking on leadership roles as Class President, President of the SSIG AL chapter when it was about to end and building it back to what it is today with first time ever free courses for students at the Summer Conference. Also, the willingness and openness of the faculty up to Dr. Gossman to support us as students on our quest to be physical therapists. We were challenged by being the class to add on the DPT curriculum for accreditation which was no easy task in a 2-year program that became a 3-year program - perseverance!

Was UAB PT influential in deciding where you wanted to take your talents after graduating?

The support in the leadership roles and progressive education taught me and gave me confidence that I could one day open my own clinic, which would not follow the rules and trends of the current philosophy in physical therapy and push the model to treating the whole person with quality personalized treatment. With my training at UAB and my past dance training I had the skills to make Agile Physical Therapy a clinic all its own, which showed true surviving the challenges of COVID-19.

How did you make the transition to becoming a clinic owner?

There was no true transition but learning along the way from my time at UAB Sports Medicine as a front office staff to later being a PT. I have always observed everything, learned, and performed any task to learn all areas of a medical practice. The range is from helping the x-ray technician type cards, typing out dictation for the physician, running MRIs down the street, taking out the garbage, working late night football clinic, training with the ATCs of the sidelines of football games, observing the physicians evaluate patients, and watching many surgeries of all types. All these experiences gave me the ability to succeed, but I cannot forget my own father and grandfather who had their own practices in medicine and the compassion and love of their profession and patients that shaped me. This helped me to be able to jump into the fire and have faith in my skills, honesty, and perseverance to still run a privately owned clinic in this corporate world.

If you could give one piece of advice to current PT students, what would you say?

Always keep your eyes and ears open to learning something from everyone you meet, ask questions no matter how small or insignificant, take one step at a time to adjust and change your direction slowly, and always stay true and honest to yourself and your beliefs.

*Have someone you want featured? Please email Elena Potter at emp2@uab.edu.

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