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Alumni News Kevin Storr May 07, 2020

Rocky and his wife Amelia, also a UAB PT alum, established the Barnes Family Endowed Scholarship in 2019.

Tell us about your role at PT Solutions.

I am the president of the practice and my primary role is partnership development - creating new business and acquiring practices that fit within our business model. I truly love establishing new business relationships and deploying the private practice model to hospital settings because it helps provide more access to treatment to more people in need. In fact, a recent study showed that only 10 percent of the patient population that could benefit from PT services receive it, and I want to be a part of improving access to all.

Why did you choose UAB?

I knew UAB had one of the top programs in the country, and therefore it was my top choice due to a strong national reputation that continues to this day. When I applied UAB only accepted 22 students and I was one of the lucky ones.

How has your UAB experience helped you?

I have such fond memories of the faculty. They were great mentors who encouraged and demonstrated professionalism. I have always strived to model myself after them and carried their lessons with me throughout my career. At PT Solutions, professionalism is a key component to our culture including a dress code for our therapists.

Also, the UAB PT faculty encouraged us to actively participate in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) from the beginning. They instilled the importance of being involved for the development of the PT profession. I have been a member of the APTA since I was a student in 1976. As a direct result of the influence from UAB faculty, I became a state delegate as well as chairman of the legislative section in Montgomery when we put together the very first effort for direct access in the 1980’s.

What do you think makes UAB PT different from other programs?

UAB PT students are well-prepared for the future and for clinic. Students graduating from the program are well-rounded, and I have personally witnessed how well they relate to and communicate with their patients, in addition, I know they have the scientific and clinical background needed to treat their patients appropriately.

What is the biggest change that you have seen in the PT profession since you graduated?

Without a doubt it would be direct access – gaining the ability to see and treat a patient without a physician referral. When I first graduated, physical therapy was more prescriptive, but today it has most deservedly transitioned to evaluation and treatment as indicated. Also, the volume of research in rehabilitation sciences – specifically physical therapy – has grown significantly, so that today, we have much more evidence based research to support treatment.

What is your advice to today's PT student?

Patient communication is key to success. Knowledge is critical, but if you are not able to communicate with your patient, the patient and clinical outcomes will suffer. In our profession, we have to continually encourage our patients to keep returning and keep up their treatment plans. This isn't always easy, especially when treatment is painful, but you are here to improve people’s health and their quality of life – they are counting on you and looking to you for healing and care. I know you will persevere.

Why did you choose to give back to UAB?

I became a PT to serve the needs of others and I have been blessed beyond measure, so I felt the need and obligation to give back to the program that has given so much to me.


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