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MEET A MEMBER: Fresh faces on IPTA Board of Directors' Executive Committee

Tuesday, November 5, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Matthew Nicholas
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MEET A MEMBER: Fresh faces on IPTA Board of Directors' Executive Committee

The IPTA is proud of members who are working hard towards advancing the physical therapy profession.

This past spring, our membership elected Karen Goodlow, PT, DPT, NCS as incoming Chief Delegate (2020-2021); and Jason Magafas, PTA as incoming PTA Director (2020-2021) on IPTA's Board of Directors Executive Committee.


Karen Goodlow, PT, DPT, NCS
IPTA Chief Delegate (2020-2021)

In getting to know these incoming leaders, we asked "What inspired you to purse a career in physical therapy?”

Goodlow: As the daughter of a pediatrician, I have always been around the healthcare professions and pretty much always knew I would do something in healthcare. In high school, I spent a lot of time working with the soccer and basketball teams as a manager and alongside the athletic trainers. I also volunteered at an outpatient physical therapy practice, and the rest, as they say, is history. As I imagined my PT career, I always thought that I would have either a pediatrics or a sports focus because of these early experiences. However, as I learned more about the nervous system and had some really great PT student and early career experiences in inpatient rehabilitation and with neurologic diagnoses, I have found my passion for neuro. I have been blessed with many strong mentors and influencers along the way, both within and outside the PT profession.

Magafas: During my time as a paramedic I was one of the unlucky few to injure my thoracic back. Between the long hours, lack of sleep, physical injury to my back, and the cramped conditions of being in an ambulance for just about 48 hours a week and having to sleep in them...I knew I needed out. My left knee and mid back were causing me a lot of pain and problems and I had already gone to a physical therapist and chiropractor with a lot of success. However, my pain was at an almost constant 4-6/10 (down from 8-9/10) and it was time to move on. A few people mentioned to me how I would make a good Physical Therapist. By this point in my life though, I was almost 30, I didn't have time or money to do another 4 year program and so I looked into being a PTA. I knew from the moment I had my first classes at Fox College that I was in the right field. Everyone was so incredibly kind, caring and compassionate to not just their patients but each other. It was a stark contrast to being in the paramedic field. I remember almost crying for joy for just being in the process of becoming a PTA, and so far the only regret I ever had, is that I didn't know about this field in high school so that I could have gone into this sooner.


Jason Magafas
IPTA PTA Director (2020-2021)

Karen, from your experience of being a district delegate why is it important we have a strong delegation representing Illinois at the House of Delegates?

Goodlow: When I became a part of the Illinois delegation 5 years ago, I had heard that we have a strong delegation… but I was not able to fully appreciate how strong we are until I was in the House of Delegates. We are lucky to have some very intelligent and well-respected voices in this profession and organization as part of our delegation, and other delegations do seek us out for our input and as a touchstone for the issues we face as an organization and profession. Illinois is a unique state geographically and culturally, in that we have a mix of urban and rural settings across all socio-economic classes, which allows us to relate to the issues in a wide variety of ways and to really examine concerns from all angles and perspectives. It is important that we continue to be a strong delegation and continue to provide our unique perspective and view of the motions brought to the House of delegates and the issues our profession faces.

Jason, you were elected the SSIG PTA Director while attending Fox college. How do you think your experience as a SSIG leader helped to prepare you for serving on the IPTA’s Board of Directors?

Magafas: I think my experience has helped me tremendously. The SSIG has helped me network, whether it was me initiating it or having it initiated upon me, and meet many people that I would not have before. It also helped me develop a passion for advancing our profession and helping out my fellow colleagues as much as I can. I hope to take this passion, as well as my passion for advocating for patients, and continue to carry it with me as I prepare to fully serve as a member of the IPTA Board of Directors. And thank you for everyone who nominated me for the position and have believed in me.

Karen & Jason, the floor is yours.  If you had the attention of all our members, what message would you like to convey?

Goodlow: Two words: Get involved! I know that many members are involved in IPTA meetings and activities, and give their time and effort in a wide variety of ways, and for that I am thankful. But getting involved can mean something as simple as just reaching out and letting us know what the issues are that you are facing in your practice or your clinic, or what keeps you up at night. There are many issues we are confronted with every day as PTs and PTAs, and as an organization we are challenged to prioritize our efforts. It all starts with telling your story and how you and your patients are impacted, which can better help us to help you work towards solutions to these problems we all face.

Magafas: There are so many things here I can say, and I could spend pages talking, but I think the one thing that keeps coming back is this: there are things in our career that are natural, and it is our job to overcome them. Specifically, I believe it is natural for us to become stuck in a rut or to become jaded at times. After all, humans are creatures of habit, but we can overcome being stuck in a rut by allowing ourselves to become certified in something new, and to learn new techniques. Even becoming involved in the IPTA or APTA can help with this, and you don't need to become the next board of directors member to do it. Go to lobbying days when they come up, go to your district meetings, attend third thursdays in person, or go to events held by the IPTA. It's small things like that, that really make a difference and fuel the fire underneath us. As for becoming jaded, understand that it has happened to me before. Weeks after weeks of seeing patients in the worst states can do that, but recognizing it and letting the patients who come in and bounce back, be your guiding light out of that mind state is what makes us professionals.


As these new leaders transition into their roles, we would like to thank and recognize the outgoing Executive Committee members who graciously served on IPTA's Board of Directors.

Jen Ryan, PT who at the end of this year will have served two full terms as your Chief Delegate (2016-2019). Jen will continue to represent Illinois at the House of Delegates - this time as an elected Delegate at Large (2020-2021).

Lisa Zemaitis, PTA who served two full terms as our Board's PTA Director (2016-2019). Please join us in thanking Lisa for her service and best wishes as she relocates to sunny Arizona where she begins her next chapter in life. Jason formally took the oath of office and assumed the position of PTA Director during the September Board meeting.


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