May 01 2018

Greg Howell

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Mock Legislative Work with Friends – 2017

Professional Goal Statement:

After graduating from UNC’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy program, and successfully attaining my license to practice physical therapy in the state of North Carolina, I aim to apply for and attain a job as an acute or acute sub-specialty physical therapist in one of the Triangle’s many area health-network hospitals. Working for several years in the acute care setting as a part of a major healthcare network, my goal is to significantly improve my clinical performance and competence, all the while developing long and lasting professional relationships, and being mentored by and working alongside a supportive team of peers. During this time I will also continue to gather evidence for and attain further competence in the area of preventative healthcare practices, and the role that physical therapy can have as part of a more sustainable healthcare model. My hope is that with time and healthcare policy reform, I will be able to split time practicing as both a more traditional acute physical therapist, as well as a PT who is actively using preventative health strategies to improve the health and health outcomes of the individuals in his community. This will likely involve both legislative and advocacy efforts, which I have been introduced to throughout the DPT curriculum, begun to become involved with, and which I intend to actively pursue upon graduating. In this way I look forward to serving the profession, driving it forward, and continuing to push the boundaries of what it means to practice physical therapy for years to come.

Career Plan:

1-5 Years

  • Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  • Licensure to practice Physical Therapy in North Carolina
  • Employment in one of the Triangle’s major network hospitals as a general acute care PT, and/or as an acute sub-specialty PT
  • Sit for and obtain certification(s) in, and/or participate in an acute care PT residency program (ex. Houston Methodist) as appropriate to continue to foster and improve my clinical competence and delivery of best EBP
  • Continue staying up to date on the latest in preventative PT healthcare practices, as well healthcare delivery reform. Continue to foster relationships with local/state policy makers, and participating in local/state professional advocacy opportunities

5-10 Years

  • Climb my acute care facilities “clinical ladder” as appropriate, demonstrating improvement and continued pursuit of professional excellence as well as drive to take on additional professional opportunities
  • Attaining for a role as part of the NCPTA, or perhaps as a staff on the NC PT Board
  • Attending both local and national professional PT conferences throughout this time, improving my acute PT knowledge base, and advocating for PT and its role in improving health in the US
  • Beginning to pursue opportunities to practice in a preventative healthcare capacity, whether through a larger entity or at an individual/entrepreneurial level

10-15 Years

  • Solidify my split time career pursuits between the acute and preventative care delivery models, attaining an acceptable level of professional security with these ventures
  • Gradually take on more managerial roles, but still work primarily as a practicing acute clinician in that setting
  • Pursuit leadership roles within the NCPTA or with the NC PT Board, perhaps running as a candidate with the focus on promoting PT and the preventative healthcare model.
  • Perhaps pursuing alternative professional ventures, such as speaking engagements or delivering lectures on my varied areas of professional interest at professional conferences/PT DPT programs



  • Hardworking individual striving for both personal and professional excellence
  • Fast learner with a passion for continual lifelong improvement
  • Introspective, and intrinsically motivated
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Lifestyle/Wellness Oriented, with experience working with individuals ranging from sedentary adults to collegiate and professional athletes
  • Political connections already formed at the State and Local level
  • Open-Minded

Opportunities for Growth

  • Clinical competence and experience in the Acute setting
  • Ability to communicate fluently with individuals speaking other languages (ex. Spanish speaking)
  • Development of my professional and political networks
  • Experience with implementing community/community partner wellness programs of my own design
  • Work/Life Balance


  • Graduate from the UNC DPT Program in August 2018
  • Pass my PT licensure board exam on the first trial in July of 2018, and attain my professional Physical Therapy license
  • Apply for and successfully obtain a PT job working as a acute care clinician in an area hospital
  • Continue to develop my competence and understanding of PT’s role in prevention based healthcare reform, serving the profession, and continuing to network with political/legislative groups and individuals
  • Obtain any Acute or Acute sub-specialty PT licensure/certifications as appropriate to help differentiate myself from other acute clinicians and improve my patient’s outcomes

Specific Strategies:

  • Continue with an effective study strategy in order to adequately prepare for and pass the licensure board exam. Study strategies have included studying with peers, designing a specific study plan, and continually executing against this plan week to week
  • Continue to foster and develop symbiotic relationships with mentors and others I have met along this journey from UNC, clinical rotations, and outside the profession
  • Become more intimately involved with both the local chapter of the NCPTA, and/or with the NC PT Board, serving and advocating for the profession outside of traditional means
  • Develop additional structured and evidence-based community wellness and/or individual structured health plans over the next 2-3 years in order to have specific information and ideas to present and utilize when transitioning to my idealized split practice model
  • Develop a structured plan involving both continuing education goals, as well as requirements for subsequent Acute care certifications and/or residency programs, in order to ensure my progressive clinical competence over the subsequent ~5 years following graduation

Electives and Capstone:

  • PHYT 875 – Advanced Orthopaedic Assessment and Treatment
  • PHYT 754 – Independent Research Experience
  • PHYT 896 – Interdisciplinary Service Learning Trip
  • PHYT 895 – International Service Learning Trip
  • Capstone – ‘Investigation of Potential Prognostic Factors for Long-Term Opiate use in Patients with Low Back Pain’
    • This capstone project was the culmination of research efforts, which began with my independent research experience. Products included range from a published group research manuscript, a research and poster abstract based on group and individual efforts, a research poster, and a comprehensive review of the literature. These efforts are a fair assessment of my work potential and quality. Related materials can be found here:

Product Examples:

  • Annual Physical Therapy Exam : For my ‘Topics in Health and Wellness Promotion’ class at UNC, we were tasked with developing a comprehensive annual PT exam for a specific targeted population. My project focused on the Older Adult population, and represents my initial workings with community-improvement projects.
  • Community-Based Program Proposal: Additionally from my ‘Topics in Health and Wellness Promotion’ class at UNC, we designed a comprehensive community-wellness program for a targeted population. This assignment was the culmination of efforts throughout that semester, and represents an evidence-based approach to promoting preventative health practices in the community.

Reflective Statement:

Looking back over my time as a part of UNC’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy program, I am awestruck by the immense growth I have experienced over the last several years. The faculty, staff, and program at UNC have been instrumental in facilitating this growth, as have my absolutely amazing group of classmates. The various experiences and opportunities I have taken part in during my tenure at UNC have opened up many doors for me, and leave me excited for my future as a therapist. From finding newfound professional passions for the acute care setting and health promotion efforts, to participating in legislative activities and traveling around the state and world on a service learning trips, the opportunity to be a part of this program has far and above blown away my expectations. While personally challenging at times, these experiences have broadened my horizons, challenged my misconceptions, and taught me the value of lifelong personal and professional learning.

As I move forward towards my career, I can’t help but think about the way I felt when I first began this DPT journey. Then like now I am a bit uneasy, and unsure of exactly what the future may hold. But with my newfound passions, professional ambitions, and amazingly supportive UNC DPT family behind me I am confident in one thing… I am not and will never be alone in this! To everyone who has helped to shape, mentor, and guide me along this journey, I thank you. I owe you more than you know, and will be forever indebted to your grace and kindness. This journey is far from over, and in fact in many ways it is just beginning. But the prospect of my career looms brightly, and I am truly excited for the challenges and experiences that lie ahead.

Interdisciplinary Service Learning Trip – 2018


International Service Learning Trip – 2018

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “Greg Howell”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 18 Jun 2018 at 9:34 am

    Greg: Thank you for sharing your journey! You have clearly grown and also have some great goals for the future. I cannot wait to see what is in store for your future. Good luck and stay in touch! Lisa


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