Apr 06 2022

Schmitt, Matt

Published by

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Doctoral Portfolio

Matthew Schmitt

Professional Goal Statement: I am committed to passionately serving the people in my geographical area by implementing physical therapy interventions to improve their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

Career Plan: My ultimate goal is to be a cash-based hybrid practice owner specializing in sports/orthopedic physical therapy as well as strength and conditioning. The target population for this practice is high school and college athletes who are recovering from injury or want to enhance their overall training. I’ve developed a passion of leading others by serving them. My central goal is to create a work environment that values the employees as much as the patients that are the recipients of care.

  • 5-year (short term) plan:
    • Become a Doctor of Physical Therapy in July of 2022
    • Graduate from UNC’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program in July of 2022
    • Become certified in dry needling
    • Obtain a fellowship in manual therapy
    • Become certified in the McKenzie method for treating low back pain.
    • Obtain an OCS or be in a residency program by that time.


Strengths: At this point in my professional journey, I feel that my main strength is my treatment style. I am very intentional about establishing a positive rapport with my patients, and caring for them on a mental, emotional, and spiritual level in addition to the physical level. Additionally, I feel the most competent and comfortable treating patients with shoulder pain, and low back pain.

Weaknesses: At this point in my professional journey, I feel that I need to develop my manual therapy skills further. Right now, my practice is very heavy with therapeutic exercise prescription, and sometimes I feel that manual therapy is indicated, but I don’t have the tools/knowledge necessary to implement appropriate manual interventions. Additionally, I would like to further improve my ability to treat vestibular impairments more effectively.

Specific Strategies: To improve these areas of weakness, I intend to devote a lot of time and energy to continuing education credits (CEU’s) in vestibular therapy and a manual therapy fellowship. I will pursue these CEU’s as part of my 5 year professional plan to improve my overall competency and effectiveness as a Physical Therapist.


  1. Exceptionally prepare for and pass the NPTE boards to become a licensed physical therapist
  2. Become employed by the fall of 2022 to begin my career and further learning in this profession
  3. Pursue mentorship opportunities within my place of work to refine my craft
  4. Pursue continuing education credits (CEU’s) that will enhance my ability to care for patients with musculoskeletal/neurological impairments


  1. Establish a study plan for the summer of 2022 leading into the NPTE boards
  2. Seek out employment opportunities that will value me by emphasizing continuing education and work-life balance
  3. Become a member of the APTA to be a legislative advocate for the advancement of this profession
  4. Commune with my classmates and future colleagues regarding areas of my craft that are underdeveloped to make myself more well-rounded
  5. Pursue knowledge via peer reviewed research to ensure that I am implementing evidence based practice

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: My experience with JDEI has greatly enhanced my ability to effectively care for all of my patients regardless of their demographic and/or sexual identity. A class I took, “Psychosocial Topics in Physical Therapy,” truly opened my eyes to biases and discrimination that occurs in the workplace that negatively impacts certain patients. The value was reinvigorated within me to create an environment where my patients feel safe telling me about how something pertaining to their race, gender, or sexuality is impacting their physical health. Additionally, I learned the importance of being an advocate for these patients outside of the workplace – making sure my voice is heard regarding the equal/fair treatment of all individuals.

Product Example 1: Capstone Project

            “Integrated Spiritual Assessment into Physical Therapy Practice”

  • With this project, I worked alongside Dr. McMorris (UNC), Dr. Alford (Wake Forest), and Bob Mason (Medical Strategic Network) to analyze what current evidence has to say about the physiologic impact of spiritual assessment/spiritual history taking and the impact thereof on patient satisfaction ratings. We created a VoiceThread presentation to further dive into this material and what it means for physical therapists.

Product Example 2: Load Management Presentation (Sports PT)

            A detailed overview of overuse injuries and the prevention thereof

  • Alongside my classmate, Joshua Valentine, we put together a presentation outlining different parameters of exercise load in relation to injury incidence over the course of a competitive soccer season. The findings of the literature suggest that throughout the course of a competitive season, load should be decreased to protect the soft tissue of the athlete.

Reflection: It’s difficult to succinctly express the growth that I’ve gone through over the last 3 years in UNC’s DPT school, but I will try. Over the last three years, I have benefitted from being taught by professors who embody the ideals that they are teaching. I’ve learned how to care for the person experiencing the impairments, not just the impairment itself. Additionally, I have learned foundational principles in diagnosing/treating patients with musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiopulmonary, and other impairments that effect the way that they move. Finally, I’ve been mentored why the how means more than the what as it pertains to our work. We can provide great service, but if we don’t do it with love, care, patience, and kindness, we are not maximizing treatment outcomes. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to learn from this university.

The faculty of this institution are what make the program what it is. I cannot adequately explain in this portfolio the impact that the faculty of UNC has had on me and my development as a clinician, a learner, and a man.

One response so far

One Response to “Schmitt, Matt”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 06 Jun 2022 at 11:58 am

    Thanks for posting your portfolio. Nice job explaining your goals as well as things you want to be working on achieving. It was nice to see some more examples of your work as well. Good luck to you and with whatever comes next. Congrats! Lisa


Comments RSS

Leave a Reply