Physical Therapy Program Alumni
Chatham DPT students and graduates enjoy the benefits of our expansive alumni network. Below is a small sampling of our esteemed alumni.
Katie Abebe, DPT '11
Katie Abebe graduated from Chatham’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program in 2011. She joined BenchMark Rehab Partners in February 2012 as a Certified Lymphedema Therapist and Orthopedic staff therapist in our Austell, GA clinic. Katie was accepted into Benchmark Rehab Institute's Orthopedic Residency program in July 2013 and shortly after that began her leadership journey as a clinic director of BenchMark’s Tucker, GA clinic. She passed her OCS exam in 2015 and became an APTA certified clinical instructor while transitioning to the Glenridge, GA clinic as a clinic director. Katie also graduated from her organization's Leadership Development program in January 2016, and was promoted from a single site clinic director into multisite leadership shortly after that time.
In January 2017, Katie was promoted to her current role as Regional Director in Atlanta, GA and Birmingham, AL over 17 (soon to be 18) outpatient physical therapy clinics. She is a minority owner in 1 (soon to be 2) clinics in Atlanta, GA. Katie reports: “I serve on my company's committee of clinical excellence where I have contributed to developing, what I believe to be our industry's best professional mentorship program (inspired by my time at Chatham, I was one of the first classes to benefit from Chatham PT's mentorship program). In my current role, I also lead 2 leadership cohorts for new clinic directors/year where we review operational excellence, clinical excellence, marketing strategies, HR best practices and leadership principles for our new and aspiring clinic directors in metro Atlanta. I serve as an OCS mentor for residents within Benchmark Rehab Institute's Orthopedic residency program and I am currently pursuing my SMT certification. My journey has been that of continual clinical growth and leadership develop. I am so grateful to work for an organization that offers so many career options which have allowed my leadership passion to grow and allowed me to influence the next generation of outpatient physical therapists.”
Jillian (Despot) Caster, DPT '08
Jillian (Despot) Caster graduated from Chatham University’s DPT program in 2008. She is a board certified wound specialist through the American Board of Wound Management and certified lymphedema therapist. She started working in geriatrics and skilled nursing after graduation and in 2013 began her career in outpatient lymphedema and wound care. She is currently the Chief Physical Therapist at Allegheny General Hospital’s Wound Healing and Lymphedema Center. This is one of the only outpatient wound centers in the region staffed by physical therapists. Jillian’s interests include off-loading and treatment of diabetic foot ulcers, limb salvage strategies, and nutrition related to wound healing.
Outside of her clinical practice, Jillian enjoys teaching. She was an adjunct professor at California University of PA in the gerontology program and has presented at various continuing education seminars on the treatment of wounds and edema. She is scheduled to present a case study at the Symposium on Advanced Wound Care in Las Vegas, October 2017. She is also a member of Association for the Advancement of Wound Care.
In 2013 she and Matthew Caster (Chatham DPT 2008) were married. They live with their 2 cats in Carnegie, PA. They enjoy spending time with friends and family, traveling, camping, hiking, gardening, and craft beer.
“I love my career and this profession. I am honored to be an alumnus of Chatham’s prestigious DPT program. “
Matt Caster, DPT '08
Matt Caster graduated with his Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2008. He is board certified as an orthopedic specialist by the APTA. He has been working in the outpatient private practice setting since 2009. Currently he serves as the clinic director for the Eastside location of Pivot Physical Therapy in Pittsburgh PA. His duties include overseeing a staff of 15 clinicians and support staff and managing day-to-day operations of the largest Pivot clinic in the region. His patient care interests include manual therapy, hand therapy and applying evidence based exam and treatment techniques.
Additionally, Matt enjoys the educational side of the profession. He has lectured regionally on outpatient orthopedics and serves as a problem based learning facilitator and lab assistant here at Chatham University. He is also an active member of the APTA.
Outside of work Matt enjoys spending time with his wife Jillian (Despot 08'). They enjoy hiking, biking, cooking, gardening, camping and many other outdoor activities.
"I look back fondly on my Chatham experience. I believe that it really prepared me for a successful career in the PT field."