Apr 22 2014

Howes, Cathy

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Sunset in Botswana

Sunset in Botswana


Professional Goals

My professional goals have evolved from being egocentric to being more selfless.  I want to start giving back more.  I want to help educate the next generation of pediatric therapists.  I want them to be excited and passionate about pediatrics.   This will be accomplished by my continued work as the Section on Pediatrics Program Co-Chair for CSM.  This has already opened opportunities to network, meet colleagues and be surrounded by therapists and students who are interested and excited in promoting pediatrics and improving the lives of the children and families we serve.

I want to be more involved with teaching in the physical therapy program at UNC-CH or other local universities.  This is another avenue to energize and educate students about pediatrics. I am involved in the joint development of a pediatric residency between UNC-CH and UNC Hospitals. I will continue to serve as a mentor and clinical education instructor.

I want to participate in more service learning opportunities.  I have a significant amount of knowledge and skill in pediatrics that can be shared with others.  I plan on attending the Guatemala trip next year and have been in contact with the organization that performs wheelchair distributions, fitting and education worldwide to participate in an upcoming trip.  

Career Path:  The Long and Winding Road That Always Leads to UNC   (careerpathHowes)

After growing up and graduating from high school in Maryland, I headed off to James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia uncertain of my career path.  I heard about physical therapy from my best friend in high school after my first semester.  I immediately began volunteering at the hospital right behind campus.  I was hooked!  I transferred to The Medical College of Virginia/ Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia and received my BSPT.  NC Memorial Hospital (UNC Hospitals) was my last clinical rotation in pediatrics prior to graduating.  I did my first year in acute care with adults and then have been in pediatrics ever since.  I became a little restless about 5 years into my career and sought out other employment opportunities.  I settled on staying at UNC and going to get my 8 week pediatric NDT certification. 

This raised more questions than answers for me and I decided to go back for my Master’s degree in the Human Movement Science curriculum at UNC-CH.  I worked full time but completed the program in 4 years and my thesis explored crouch gait in children with cerebral palsy.  I told myself that was the last degree for me.    Approximately 4 years ago, I became involved with the pediatric programming committee for CSM thanks to another UNC grad Connie Blow.  I decided that I really needed to get my DPT.  I then applied and was accepted into the UNC-CH tDPT program 2 years ago.

My future career plan is uncertain.  I am going to achieve my professional goal of getting 30 years of service to the state of NC.  After that I will have to determine which path to take and the best way to achieve my professional and personal goals.  I feel well prepared to seek whatever opportunities come my way.  I do want to participate in more service learning opportunities and improve my medical Spanish.

Self Assessment

My strengths are that I am goal driven and a self- starter.   I work well independently and set high standards for myself and others.  I have encountered a great variety of pediatric diagnoses and have worked with many children throughout their lifespan to really experience their growth and development.  I need to continue to improve upon working within groups and expanding my leadership abilities.


  1. Develop academic teaching skills and participate in formal teaching opportunities in the physical therapy program at UNC-CH or other area PT schools
  2. Provide the best care for the pediatric patients I treat based on the best available evidence and be able to share this knowledge with students to create an interest in pediatric physical therapy
  3. Pursue opportunities for service learning in pediatrics and learn more medical Spanish
  4. Continue to contribute to the development of a joint pediatric residency program between UNC-CH and the hospital
Educating children with hemophilia in Ethiopia

Educating children with hemophilia in Ethiopia

Wheelchair Distribution Dominican Republic

Wheelchair Distribution Dominican Republic



The first item I wanted to share is the work I am most proud of from the program.  It is a Powerpoint with videos on myelomeningocele that I developed following our summer teaching unit with Kmac.  (myelolectureUNC) I presented this lecture to the second year entry level DPT class in a 4 hour block.  It went extremely well, was well received and I loved the teaching experience! Special thanks to Katie Ollendick and Vicki Mercer for their assistance and encouragement during the development and presentation of this project.

The second work and a passion is the Powerpoint with voicethread and other materials that I developed for my Capstone on Constraint Induced Movement Therapy and Bimanual Intensive Treatment for Children with Hemiplegia. (http://dptcapstone.web.unc.edu/)  I was inspired to assist with improving the student education for the camp and enjoy volunteering to assist the campers and mentor the students.

I expanded my knowledge base on a variety of topics in pediatrics during this program including obesity in children with cerebral palsy and myelomeningocele, osteosarcoma, and a case study on a patient with cerebral palsy   Please see the attached for examples of my work on these topics ( health and wellness proposal,osteosarcoma,casestudy) .

I am a pediatric therapist, but wanted to demonstrate that I could step out of that box and produce a quality product in other areas by researching and synthesizing the literature.  This is a reflection on the diversity of the program and my ability to successfully use my skills to develop a project in a different content area than my main practice area. (geriatric assignment )

Reflective Statement

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves”

Sir Edmund Hillary

This is reflective to me of my time in this program and in life, really. I have learned that the barriers we perceive are often self- inflicted and can be overcome with perseverance.  This experience ranks as one of my 5 greatest life achievements.  It reminded me of how much I enjoy academic learning and academic challenges.   I enjoyed the mentorship and professional interactions that academia offers.  I am happy to have had the privilege and opportunity to receive another degree from UNC-CH.  I am proud to be a Tarheel and UNC Physical Therapy Alum.  Below is the greatest mountain I’ve conquered- Mt. Kilamanjaro.

Summit of Mt Kilimanjaro The Highest Peak in Africa
Summit of Mt Kilimanjaro The Highest Peak in Africa

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Howes, Cathy”

  1.   Karen McCullochon 06 May 2014 at 2:55 am

    Look at you, adventurous sort!
    I’m so glad that you decided to come back for yet another UNC degree and have gotten over that threshold into the classroom. You can pretty much bet that we’ll be in touch with you to have you help us out as much as makes sense! So great to have our students sharing in your expertise – best to you!!!
    Congratulations, Dr. Howes!


  2.   Debbieon 17 Jul 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Hey Dr. Howes!!
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your portfolio! I loved the career map 🙂 You have created some great products through this program that you will be able to use as venture into academia 🙂 I look forward to working beside you on the pediatric residency proposal and continuing to learn from you in the clinic. You are such a valuable asset to the students interested in pediatrics and believe me, we will take advantage of that!!
    Have a great summer!…where ever your travels take you.



  3.   Katieon 24 Jul 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Congratulations! What wonderful work and priceless contributions! Hopefully this is just the beginning of a new phase of your PT career – I can’t wait to work with you on the residency, teaching, and many other possibilities.
    Great job!


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