Alumni Profiles | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University

Alumni Profiles

Chatham University Doctor of Physical Therapy

Chatham DPT students and graduates enjoy the benefits of our expansive alumni network. Below is a small sampling of our esteemed alumni.

Michael Dzigiel, DPT '10 

Mike Dziegel is a 2010 graduate of the Chatham DPT program. After graduation he moved back home to Cleveland, Ohio. Mike has been an employee in University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center Rehab Services department since 2011. During this time, he has grown significantly as a clinician, leader, and teacher in the department. He has demonstrated a passion for promoting early patient mobility in ICU and has been a great champion in promoting the “E” in the A-F bundle at UHCMC. Although it has certainly been a team effort across many disciplines, including physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), speech-language pathology (SLP), respiratory therapy, nursing, physicians and more, Mike has been a significant and driving force in UHCMC’s efforts to improve the quality of care we provide in our ICUs by safely mobilizing patients sooner. Mike helped create the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Early Rehab program at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center (UHCMC) in 2015. He is currently practicing full time as a clinical specialist at UHCMC in the acute care/critical care setting. Michael is the lead physical therapist in both the Surgical ICU and Trauma ICU. He has trained and mentored PT/OT members of the ICU Early Rehab team through hands on training/ competency and assisted in the creation of eight didactic modules each member attends during ICU training. He has attended the John Hopkins Critical Care Conference in 2016, and did a poster presentation at Combined Sections Meet though the American Physical Therapy Association 2017 titled “Physical Therapy Management of an Individual with CentriMag Temporary Mechanical Circulatory Support Awaiting Bridge to Long Term Ventricular Assist Device.” He is a certified APTA Clinical Instructor. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and a section member of the Acute Care Section. Mike is the proud winner of the UHCMC Seventh Annual Sally Ann Shipley Quality Award in March of 2018 for his work in creation of the ICU early rehab program. Nominees for this award should demonstrate excellence and leadership in at least one of the following areas: patient safety/patient care, process and/or procedure improvement and data analysis and/or data interpretation. In 2019 Mike was nominated for Ohio Hospital Association Albert E. Dyckes Health Care Worker of the Year - The Albert E. Dyckes Health Care Worker of the Year Award is presented each year to one Ohio caregiver who personifies a leader, gives back to the community, reflects the mission and values of his or her organization and routinely goes beyond the call of duty. “Chatham University prepared me for the ever changing field of physical therapy and has allowed me to keep up with current evidence to assist me in advancing physical therapy practice in critical care. PBL definitely prepared me for addressing real world barriers both in clinical practice and with program development. I’ll never forget walking onto Chatham’s campus with a sports and orthopedics PT future on my mind and graduating with the tools to practice in any setting; and with a passion for acute/critical care PT. I believe this is a testament to the excellent faculty and staff of the Chatham University DPT program.” 

Tim McBride, DPT '96 

After graduating in 1996 as part of Chatham’s inaugural PT class, I went to work for the facility where I completed my last clinical rotation. For 23 years I have been employed by Lancaster General Hospital, now part of Penn Medicine, at their largest outpatient facility: the Suburban Outpatient Pavilion. Also referred to as the “Taj Mahal” by some, it is a magnificent building and lush campus with pond that I am still amazed I get to come to for work. We have expanded three times, once to include a pool, and have recently undergone a million dollar renovation. Yet, what has kept me here is the family atmosphere. Many of the people I started with are still working beside me and we have shared in life’s victories, births, graduations and weddings, but have grieved together as well. So I get to work in a beautiful building with great people. Clinically, I focus on orthopedics and earned my OCS in 2014. Our hospital has established Clinical Excellence Teams, which are designed to create programs and protocols to improve outcomes using the best evidence. I have the opportunity of sitting on our lower extremity and spine committees and am co-chair of our new chronic pain program. PBL definitely prepared me for these roles. In 2005, I became a Certified Clinical Instructor and have been Site Coordinator for Clinical Education for the past six years for our 14 outpatient centers. I enjoy this role as I have had the opportunity to interact with Chatham students as well as students from other programs. I have many recurrent patients who tell me I can never retire, since I am the only one they want to see. I respond by telling them, “Why do you think I have all these students following me?” Many of our recent students, including Chatham grads Rob Garner (DPT ’14) and Kyle Kessler (DPT ’16), have become employees. To any current students reading this, I would advise you not to overlook us as a clinical site. You will learn a lot, receive 1-on-1 supervision and have fun with a great bunch of people. My wife and I are preparing to send our two daughters off to college; my oldest starts this fall and my youngest will head off next year. Unfortunately, I can’t talk either into following in my footsteps and become a PT. 

D'Arcy Hlavin, DPT '12 

D'Arcy Hlavin is a 2012 graduate of the Chatham DPT Program.  After graduation, she moved to the West Coast and joined an employee-owned, outpatient private practice called Team Movement for Life. Through her company, which is partnered with USC, she went through an orthopedic residency program and achieved Board Certification in Orthopedic Physical Therapy in 2017.

For four years, she was a permanent therapist at the Team Movement for Life clinic in Indio, California;  however, last August, she was offered a position to travel between the 23 clinics within thecompany. She now has lived in Tucson, AZ, Northern and Southern California, as well as on the California coast.

D'Arcy reports:  “To this day, I hear Dr. Perry’s voice in my head, ‘Don’t say ‘butt,’ to your patients.’ Although this did prepare me to interact with my patients in a professional manner, Chatham prepared me for the “real world” in many other ways. PBL cases greatly helped my critical thinking while in the clinic, the manual orthopedic skills and neurologic tests and measures and treatments are heavily applicable to everyday practice and helped ease the transition from new-grad to 2nd and 3rd year clinician. What I have found most beneficial, however, is the networking and the community and relationships that are built within Chatham. I continue to feel support and encouragement from the staff and professors at Chatham, and am able to reach out, five years later, for help or information, and I am ready and willing to do the same for any Chatham grad.” 

 Damien Keter, DPT '13

Damien Keter DPT '13

“I graduated from Chatham University's Doctor of Physical Therapy program in 2013. Immediately following, I took a position at the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. I became a APTA credentialed clinical instructor in 2014 and I am proud to have taken several Chatham PT students since that time. I accepted a temporary faculty appointment in both our Geriatric and Orthopedic residency programs in 2016, teaching Pharmacology, and co-teaching modules on Cervical and Thoracic spine. I passed my OCS examination in 2017 leading to board certification as an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist. In 2017, I also accepted a faculty role in our Orthopedic Residency program and am currently teaching Pain Science, Cervical spine, and Thoracic spine modules. I also serve as committee member in our Imaging and Manual Therapy special interest groups. I am a proud member of the American Physical Therapy Association as well as a member of the Orthopedic and Federal sections. I accepted a role within the Ohio Physical Therapy Association as State affairs co-coordinator for the Northeast District in January 2018 for a two year appointment. I have taken coursework in the Maitland and Mulligan methods of manual therapy and am currently pursuing COMT and CMP certification. I am also currently participating in coursework to become Certified in Chronic Pain Rehabilitation which will be completed in the next coming months, as well as plan to sit for the Certified Pain Educator (CPE) examination later this year. I have presented several times at the local level, mostly related to pain science and the role of Physical Therapy in pain management.”

“I feel that Chatham University has prepared me for the ever changing field of physical therapy and has allowed me to keep up with current evidence to assist me with teaching in a residency program. The emphasis on evidence based practice, including the use of problem based learning, has helped me to keep up with the vast amount of research which is published in our field and apply appropriately into clinical practice.”

Katie Abede, DPT '11

Katie Abebe DPT 2011

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.”