May 29 2014

Kenner, Deborah

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Deborah Kenner DPT Portfolio



Professional Goal Statement

My goal is to practice physical therapy with a focus on orthopedics and/or mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) within the active duty military population. I aim to establish a rehabilitation program within my orthopedic or mTBI clinic to aid service members in return to activity following brain injury. I also plan to become a Board Certified Orthopaedic Specialist to help ensure I provide this well-deserving population with the best possible care. I will always expect a lifetime of learning and improvement for myself and for those professionals around me, and will participate and help coordinate various learning opportunities as they arise throughout my career.


Career Plan

Accomplished / Anticipated


Experience in Veterans Affairs with orthopedic PT, amputee patients, and women’s health


B.S. in Exercise Physiology, Minor in Business Administration


Experience with military in outpatient orthopedics and mTBI/vestibular rehabilitation

Experience with mTBI military research study


Experience with high-level athletes and various adult prognoses in outpatient orthopedics

DPT from UNC Chapel Hill

Obtain PT position on a military base OR commission into the military as an Officer PT


Practice physical therapy in a military setting


Board Certification in Orthopaedics


MBA/MPH to allow for promotion if serving in the military






  • General knowledge of billing and coding in the military and civilian populations
  • Clinical rotation experience with orthopedics in the military PT setting
  • Clinical rotation and research experience with mTBI and vestibular rehabilitation in the military
  • Small network of colleagues in the military setting
  • Knowledge and skill in reading and interpreting research literature
  • Ability to provide patient-centered care with sensitivity for cultural and situational differences
  • Commitment to evidence-based practice and lifelong learning

Areas for Professional Development

  • Improvement of skills in orthopedics and all other areas of PT to ensure flexibility
  • Development of background in rehabilitation for high-level athletes
  • Stronger network of physical therapy colleagues in the military setting
  • Improvement of time-management skills



  1. Prepare and sit for The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.
  2. Actively seek employment as a physical therapist within a military setting.
  3. Implement Capstone project in future place of employment if applicable.
  4. Prepare and sit for the Board Certification in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy.
  5. Maintain passion and enthusiasm for physical therapy and always strive to do well above the bare minimum.


Specific Strategies

Third Year Courses

I chose elective courses and research foci that would enable me to pursue my clinical interests, while concurrently broadening my knowledge of general physical therapy topics.

  • Advanced Orthopaedic Assessment and Treatment Elective     This course taught me the essentials of specific tissue injury, healing, and rehabilitation that can be applied throughout the human body. I can apply the knowledge gleaned from this course to patients with any orthopedic disorder. Please click the link below for my paper on pathology and treatment of anterior shoulder joint instability.

Anterior Shoulder Joint Instability

  • Advanced Neuromuscular Intervention Elective     This course explored relevant and broad neuromuscular topics while allowing me to focus the majority of my research and subsequent projects on mTBI, vestibular pathology, and other military-related topics. Please click the links below for my webpage on the Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis (IDEO) and paper on Vergence Dysfunction.


Vergence Dysfunction

  • Capstone Project     Mild Traumatic Brain Injury is a prominent issue within the active duty military population. There has recently been a movement toward progressive return to activity over the prior “rest is best” philosophy in regards to returning soldiers and athletes to duty or sport following mTBI. I chose to focus my Capstone on the development of a program to incorporate the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center’s return to activity guidelines for service members. My mentors and committee members were Karen McCulloch, PT, PhD, NCS, Henry McMillan, PT, Vestibular Certified Specialist, and Daniel Jayne, PT, OCS. This project includes evidence tables on the current research for rest versus activity following mTBI and the best treatment techniques for vestibular pathologies. I also created a detailed handout for the inexperienced or orthopedic physical therapist to assess and treat patients with vestibular disorders. Please click the link below for my Capstone site.

Implementation of Progressive Return to Activity Guidelines Following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury


Clinical and Research Experiences

I have been fortunate to have clinical experiences in a variety of settings, including niche areas that I am interested in pursuing after graduation. I was able to spend time volunteering with outpatient orthopedics and women’s health at a Veterans Affairs hospital during college, and have since experienced clinical rotations in acute care, military outpatient orthopedics, military neurology/vestibular rehabilitation, and civilian outpatient orthopedics. I have also enjoyed participating as a research assistant for a study on multitasking following mTBI in the military, and am interested in pursuing further research in the future. I have been able to rule out women’s health and pediatrics as two settings I am not interested in, but have truly enjoyed shadowing in various other settings such as the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC. Furthermore, my recent medical service trip with professors and classmates to Guatemala opened my eyes to the potential impact I can have as a physical therapist to individuals outside of the United States. Please click the link below for my reflective paper following this weeklong adventure in Guatemala.

Guatemala Reflection


Las Obras, Antigua, Guatemala 2014


Miscellaneous Strategies

  • Maintain professional relationships with UNC faculty members including my faculty advisor, as well as prior Clinical Instructors and coworkers from prior clinical rotations.
  • Have a study plan and partner for the physical therapy board exam.
  • Secure materials about the orthopaedic specialty certification exam and review requirements. Identify a peer group or individual colleague also interested in preparing for the exam to collaborate and study with.


Reflective Statement

I like to tell people that I dabbled a bit with various career paths before finding the right fit in physical therapy. I feel like I have found my place in life, that brings together my interest in exercise and the human body, my strong desire to be analytical and creative at the same time, and my passion for working with and helping others. I have been interested in working with service members ever since I started on this physical therapy path, an interest that has grown over the last several years with clinical and research experiences. I am drawn toward a career in either orthopedics and/or rehabilitation following mTBI, but am committed to maintaining an open mind within this military population. I am excited to see where my professional relationships and future career take me!

fightinggator            UNC_Ramses

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Kenner, Deborah”

  1.   KMacon 02 Jul 2014 at 2:02 am

    Hey Deborah – This looks great. I’m happy that you’re still looking and thinking about work with the military. We need good therapists like you who are willing to go that route! Maybe we can collaborate on a project together when you get your military position!!!
    Go Gators/Heels!!!


  2.   Lisa Johnstonon 24 Jul 2014 at 2:00 am


    It is great to be able to read about some of your many accomplishments while you were here. It was a pleasure to have you in class and to have you help me with the nutrition station!! Keep up with your Spanish skills!! good luck to you!



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