Feb 29 2024

Houser, Chelsea

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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Doctoral Portfolio

Professional Goals Statement

Upon graduating from the distinguished and highly regarded DPT program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, it is my goal to become a competent, caring, and well-rounded physical therapist by practicing as a generalist in an outpatient clinic. My goal is to gain valuable experience working with diverse populations and conditions to continue developing my knowledge, experience, and skillset, while learning from mentors, and focusing on professional growth in the field. With a special interest in treating orthopedic conditions across the lifespan, my long-term goal is to transition to an orthopedic-focused practice in a medically underserved area. I aim to provide high quality, patient-centered, expert care to a population that desperately needs it, empowering these patients to advocate for their health and wellbeing.


Career Plan

January 2020-March 2020: Rehabilitation Intern – Oleander Rehabilitation – Wilmington, NC

May 2020: Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, Minor in Psychology – University of North Carolina at Wilmington

June 2020-July 2021: Physical Therapy Tech – Bodies in Balance Physical Therapy Hampstead – Wilmington, NC

June 2022-August 2022: Acute Care Clinical Rotation – UNC Johnston Health – Smithfield, NC

February 2023-April 2023: Outpatient Orthopedic Clinical Rotation – Compleat Rehab & Sports Physical Therapy – Gastonia, NC

April 2023-June 2023: Outpatient Neurological Clinical Rotation – Carol Woods Retirement Community – Chapel Hill, NC

January 2024-March 2024: Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation Integrated Clinical Experience – UNC Hillsborough Hospital – Hillsborough, NC

April 2024-July 2024: Outpatient Orthopedic Clinical Rotation – Duke Health Douglas Street – Durham, NC

July 2024: Doctor of Physical Therapy – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

July 2024: Pass the NC National Boards Examination and obtain licensure.

August 2024: Obtain full-time employment as a generalist PT in an outpatient clinic.

Long-Term: Transition to an orthopedic-focused practice in rural NC.

Long-Term: Become a Certified Clinical Instructor to provide mentorship to DPT students.

Long-Term: Become a Board-Certified expert in treating orthopedic conditions.




  • Effective and caring communication with patients and caregivers.
  • Accurate and detailed documentation that justifies interventions provided.
  • Identification of impairments and setting realistic, functional goals that are meaningful to patients.

Areas for Professional Development

  • Confidence in putting my knowledge and skillset into practice.
  • Involvement in regional and national professional development opportunities and advocacy for the profession.
  • Using research and evidence to guide my practice and clinical decisions. 


  1. Graduate with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from UNC – Chapel Hill.
  2. Pass the NPTE to become a licensed PT in the state of North Carolina.
  3. Become a confident, well-rounded, and knowledgeable generalist PT while beginning to gain expertise in orthopedic conditions.
  4. Use my knowledge of orthopedic conditions and rehabilitation to transition to an orthopedic-focused outpatient clinic.
  5. Become a Board-Certified Orthopedic Specialist and expert in the treatment of orthopedic injuries across the lifespan.
  6. Become a Certified Clinical Instructor to provide mentorship to aspiring DPTs and stay up to date on current evidence in the field of PT.

Elective Courses

Advanced Orthopedic Assessment and Intervention, 2 credits

Integrated Clinical Experience (ICE) in Inpatient Rehab, 1 credit

Topics in Sports Physical Therapy, 2 credits

Teacher Scholar for Musculoskeletal I, 1 credit


Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Reflection

As a UNC DPT student, I had the pleasure of being immersed in the world of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), an area I admittedly had little exposure to previously. There were numerous opportunities throughout our curriculum to investigate health care disparities, social determinants of health, and DEI efforts on campus to provide equitable access to graduate and professional programs, such as mine.

One population I was exposed to very early in my DPT curriculum is the rural and medically underserved. Having treated patients in rural North Carolina in my very first clinical, and being exposed to individuals with poor health literacy, reduced access to health care, and other social and cultural barriers, I quickly became passionate about working with this population. Many of these patients had minimal understanding about their health, basic nutrition, and benefits of exercise and physical activity. I discovered this population can be extremely complex because of the numerous social determinants of health creating barriers which limit their accessibility to appropriate health care. Treating this population often meant spending large portions of a treatment session addressing such barriers and providing the patient with resources to improve their access to the medical care they need. Many of the barriers patients in these communities face are financial, but many also face physical barriers, such as lack of transportation. This population also often face poor health literacy, requiring extensive education about their bodies and their health care. While challenging in its own way, treating medically underserved patients, and improving their understanding of physical health and well-being is an important role to play and more highly trained, skilled clinicians are needed in these communities. As a clinician, I hope to fill one of these roles; advocating for my patients, when necessary, but above all, giving them the knowledge they need, in a way that they can understand, so that they are empowered to advocate for themselves as well.

Interprofessional Education

The UNC Division of Physical Therapy also provides DPT students with exposure to multiple interprofessional experiences, emphasizing collaboration between health professionals. These experiences are fundamental to our success as physical therapists. The Interprofessional education afforded students from our discipline, in addition to occupational therapy, audiology, nutrition, medicine, pharmacy, dental, and many others, the opportunity to collaborate on patient cases, each providing a different perspective on how to approach the patient’s care. Ultimately, these experiences improved each of our knowledge about other medical professionals we may collaborate with in our future careers. Reflecting upon these experiences, I personally gained a much deeper understanding of what each member of a healthcare team brings to the table. I have found this knowledge to be beneficial both when collaborating with others on a patient’s care team, and to provide my patients with referrals and recommendations for colleagues they may benefit from seeing.

Sample Work

Link to Capstone Project:


Patient Education Pamphlet for patients with low health literacy

In Service Presentation Serving the Medically Underserved – presented to Carol Woods Retirement Community PTs

Personal Growth

When reflecting on my time as a UNC DPT student these past 3 years, I see immense growth in my knowledge, skillset, and competency as a physical therapist. I chose to attend UNC Chapel Hill because I didn’t just want to be a PT; I wanted to be a great PT. UNC’s Division of Physical Therapy and our incredible team of faculty and staff ensured I met this goal. The rigorous coursework challenged my discipline and time-management. These will serve me well in my future career as an independent physical therapist. Exposure to DEI and individuals who are different from myself throughout the curriculum helped me grow in my understanding of the importance of advocacy and standing for justice. This will help me become a physical therapist who can advocate for the profession and her patients, and one who is better equipped to work with diverse populations. These experiences, in conjunction with the opportunity to complete two underserved clinical rotations,  equipped me with the skills necessary to continue towards my goal of providing high quality care to individuals in rural and medically underserved communities.

My gratitude for this program goes beyond the academic and intellectual growth I have experienced. My deepest gratitude lies in the growth I have experienced in my personal life as a direct result of being a UNC DPT student. Clinical education, mock exams, and practical exams helped me become better at giving and receiving feedback and built my confidence, even in areas unrelated to physical therapy. Balancing our PT curriculum, studying, clinical education, and personal commitments and struggles helped me see that I am capable of doing more than I ever thought I could. Throughout this program, I also had the opportunity to forge close relationships with several other women in my cohort, bonding over our shared struggles and similar beliefs. Meeting at least weekly from the spring of our first year through graduation, we spent time encouraging each other both in our PT school journeys and our personal lives. This group of women was a fundamental part of my personal growth, helping me stay grounded during turbulent semesters and learn to prioritize the things in my personal life that are most important to me. Ultimately, learning to prioritize the right things helped me serve my patients infinitely better. The lessons these friends and classmates have taught me make me a much more compassionate and empathetic physical therapist and help me show up every day for my patients, being the best clinician I can be.

Lastly, this program has taught me the value of thinking critically, being a life-long learner, and always striving to stay up-to-date on physical therapy research to provide my patients with high quality, evidence-based care. For all the lessons and personal growth I’ve discussed above, and so much more, I am forever grateful for the UNC DPT program.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Houser, Chelsea”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 03 Jun 2024 at 12:02 pm

    Chelsea- Thank you for your reflections. The faculty have been honored to be a part of your professional journey. Nice job on your portfolio and good luck to you as you continue on your professional path. Lisa


  2.   Jennifer Cookeon 13 Jun 2024 at 9:50 am

    Chelsea – it was nice to read your plans for the future and reflections on the program! I have watched you grow through your time in our program. Let me know when you’re ready to become a credentialed CI! 🙂


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