Greetings and Happy Holidays:
As 2023 comes to an end, we at Good Health Physical Therapy have been looking back at the past year with gratitude for so many wonderful people and so much growth. We invite you to read this update letter about our clinic and staff.
We have experienced several staffing changes in the office. We said goodbye and good luck to Becca who moved on to a new opportunity and Shola who found a job which utilizes her new master’s degree skills. Our office manager, Becky, and her husband have purchased a brewery in McMinville and are now engrossed in keeping Portland “beered”.
Our office staff welcomed Tessa D who has become an integral part of our team with her hard work, kindness and enthusiasm; Kathleen Forrest has graced us with her competence, attention to detail and calm gentle manner; and part-timer, Ava who is working with us during after school hours as she finishes her senior year at Ida B Wells High School (and while we gently encourage her to go after becoming a PT).
We are so grateful to Sarah for anchoring our office staff and acting as a mentor and lead to new staff. As our office staff has been working together as a team to care for our patients, our therapists and the business end of the business, we continue to hold a space for that perfect new office manager with organizational and medical office skills plus a sense of fun.
Among the clinical staff, we said goodbye to Kelly Constable, PT who had been taking the long commute from Vancouver. And we have welcomed new clinicians: Lilly Lee MPT, CMPT, OCS who joined us to primarily do telehealth visits; Jennifer Oechsner, PTA, RYT, PFT who has years of experience as a personal trainer and now as a physical therapy assistant; Beth Jennings, PT, MPT who brings broad experience in the profession plus expertise in health coaching; and Valerie Brown, PT, DPT who has deep and diverse experience in both mainstream and complementary healing techniques.
Let’s have each member of our team say a word or two about their year:
Heather Purdin, MS, PT, CMPT
It’s hard to believe that this year is coming to an end. It has gone by in a flash. I have continued to maintain a healthy schedule of patient care while picking up more of the administration and also putting the finishing touches on our book Taming the Zebra which will be available soon on Amazon. (Watch our website for information www.tamingthezebra.org, and keep February 3 open for a book signing party.) In the coming year, I will be taking a course on the road to educate therapists about hypermobility and EDS. And we have recently added four courses on hypermobility to the Medbridge continuing education platform. These can be purchased by non-therapists. (Www.medbridge.com/instructors/heather-purdin-physical-therapy/).
Early in this year, I did manage to make an escape to Mexico to celebrate a big birthday. And in January, I will play the mother of the prince in the Portland Panto Players production of Sleeping Beauty.
Lilly Lee, MPT, CMPT, OCS
Happy holidays! I am having a great time “telehealthing” for Good Health since joining last winter. Things most notable about 2023 that make me smile: Learned something new …completed a webinar course on Functional Nutrition- Using Food as Medicine. Community fun – presented “What Happens When Our Joints Go Awry” for the Oregon Society of Translators and Interpreters for their annual virtual conference. Summer adventure – drove away with a friend on a long road trip to as many National Parks as we could drive to on the way to a Peace Corps reunion in New Mexico and back. Notable family duty – I learned how to clean my doodle dog’s teeth via YouTube, nice clean teeth. Looking forward to 2024!
Emily DeCarlo, MPT, RYT-200
My husband and I are adjusting an empty nest with both kids in college in Washington, and my husband is busy starting a new business. I feel grateful for the stability of 10 years with the Good Health PT Clinic and the opportunity to continue providing very personalized nervous system regulating physical therapy care and myofascial release bodywork. I continue to be dedicated to my yoga practice but have not taught classes since the pandemic. I happily spent the last year volunteering at Hopewell Hospice House providing bedside service and bodywork to the dying and their families. A houseful of pets keeps me walking, cleaning, and feeling loved.
Jennifer Oechsner, PTA, RYT, PFT
I joined the team at Good Health in August and it’s been such an honor to be part of the team and work alongside such an amazing team of clinicians. I have really been enjoying helping people get stronger and share my knowledge and expertise in movement, alignment and breath work. In my free time I get outside as much as I can. I love running down forested trails, hiking up mountains and jumping in our amazing swimming holes in the PNW, sometimes even in the winter!
Beth Jennings, PT, MPT
I was delighted to find Good Health’s office in my neighborhood so I could serve my own community in addition to those who come from afar for orthopedic, neurological and HSD/EDS care. In addition to my PT work with Good Health, I also launched Beth Jennings Coaching in 2023 where I work with professionals who travel to elevate their energy, health, and happiness while they navigate the challenges of being healthy while on the road. I continue to enjoy Portland and Oregon and look forward to finally getting to Crater Lake this coming year!
Valerie Brown, PT, DPT
This year, I am honored to join the amazing team at GHPT. I have expanded my toolbox to include sound and vibroacoustic healing, as well as furthering my training in Craniosacral Therapy and Reiki. 2023 I embarked on a new challenge of taking a cold plunge in the Sandy river each morning, something that helps me regulate my nervous system and also train for ski season and mountaineering adventures. My favorite times of day include morning cuddles and coffee with my dog Teddy, and sunset hikes to catch the last rays of the day.
Jason Bouwkamp, PT, DPT, MS, CSCS, SFB
Editors note: Jason is currently on paternity leave until mid-December. He and his wife and son recently welcomed another baby boy into their family. Congratulations!
Katie Gertz, PT, DPT
This year has been a whirlwind and I can’t believe it is coming to a close. Professionally, I have really enjoyed taking Visceral Manipulation 3 and 4 classes through the Barral Institute. I have been able to share the skills I have learned with many of you. In my non-work life, I have enjoyed spending time with my family where everyday is an adventure even if we are not doing anything in particular. My mom is now living with us 1/2 the year and it is a joy to see her build relationships with my 3 young kids. We were able to take a family vacation with my brother and his family to Canada. I have also enjoyed watching my kids grow and stretch their wings as they navigate their school year, make new friends, play new sports, and take music classes. I wish you all the best with health and happiness in the coming year!
Tina Esquivel, PT
I am a life-long lover of learning and my favorite professional class of the year was learning about the vagus nerve! Outside of the clinic, our family has enjoyed many outdoor adventures and we welcomed a new Irishdoodle puppy, Violet, into our family!
Liz Finley, MSPT
This year, I have enjoyed expanding my education and treatment options for concussion care with extensive classes through Complete Concussion Management, Inc. And I have expanded my treatment hours to full time and started holding one appointment per week open for new concussion patients or current patients with emergency flare ups. I have also expanded my education with Neural Manipulation classes from the Barral Institute and found them to be extremely helpful with stabilizing hypermobile joints plus improving posture. On a personal level, my husband and I have enjoyed many of the outdoor recreation options our wonderful and varied Pacific Northwest has to offer. We explored more around Central Oregon and took many backroads, from Crack in the Ground to the high Cascade lakes and into the Ochoco Forest.
Mark Melecki, PT, DPT, OCS
Through the last twelve months plus, I have enjoyed not only applying my existing skills in working with a case load largely consisting of patients with hypermobility spectrum disorder and hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, but also continuing to deepen my knowledge in this area. I have continued to dive into the literature in this area and have been writing patient and therapist education blog posts. I have also been serving as the Clinical Coordinator of Education for the clinic which means scheduling and welcoming in physical therapy interns from four doctoral programs which we affiliate with. In my free time, I continue to get out into the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest with my camera as much as possible. And I made a special study of sunscreen protection levels for ten days in Hawaii last winter – with red skin results.
This year I made a huge change in my life. I left my job of 9 years to begin my adventure with Good Health Physical Therapy. From the beginning I have felt nothing but warmth, kindness, and support. Our patients inspire me daily. I love your stories and you are all very special. Have a beautiful Holiday and keep those smiles big. Much Love, Tessa
I just started at Good Health PT back in November, but I’m really enjoying it so far! Everyone has been really welcoming, from my coworkers to the patients to the stuffed zebras. I helped my family through a lot of medical emergencies this last year, but I’m grateful for everything I learned through that experience as it helps me better empathize with patients. I’ve begun vaguely formulating plans to apply for grad school in the area, and working here has made me want to pursue public health programs even more. My partner and I moved in together back in September, and it’s been going really well! We’ve gone to Ikea multiple times and assembled furniture without disrupting household harmony or our affection for each other.
I joined Good Health as an intern this October out of an interest in the physical therapy field, and It’s truly been such a rewarding experience! I’m currently in my senior year at Ida B Wells-Barnett high school. After my graduation this year, I’ve decided to attend PCC and work on a prerequisites for my degree in Physical Therapy Assisting!
This year I added two cats to my household, volunteered with my son’s high school football team, took time off to focus on my health, and returned to Good Health to support the front office team during the holiday season. I am so happy to re-connect with my Good Health buddies!
Sarah Van Emmerik
I’ve rearranged my life to work better for me, taking a break from school and focusing more on my current career and sense of balance. I accomplished my concert attending and travel goals for the year, which had led to many memorable moments and adventures. When I’m at home, I have two cats, Achilles and Freya, and my boyfriend to relax alongside. I’m looking forward to the future and hoping to focus the new year on making time for hobbies.
Zeborah Dazzle, PT, WWF
This past year has been so lovely. I have felt so included by all of my co-workers and have had the chance to meet and take selfies with so many members of the Oregon Area Ehlers-Danlos Support group. I love you all! We have posted a number of blog pieces on our Zebra Zine which we hope will be educational for those suffering from hypermobility and the related problems. Finally, on a personal note, I am so excited to announce that my boyfriend, Zeke, proposed! I’m engaged to such a wonderful zebra. We are planning a spring wedding. More later. Happy Holidays!
To all of our patients, friends and colleagues we wish a happy, healthy and joyful holiday season and the best year yet in 2024!
The Staff of Good Health Physical Therapy and Wellness.
4475 SW Scholls Ferry Road, Suite 258, Portland, OR 97225
4943 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Portland, OR 97211