Two UT Medical Center physical therapists earn neuro certification, bringing total to four

September 28, 2017 | News, UToday, UTMC
By Sarah A. Velliquette

The physical therapy team at UT Medical Center has another reason to be proud: Alison Pollacek and Eman Jarouche are the most recent therapists to be certified in neurologic physical therapy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists, bringing the total number to four at UTMC.

“This is not a requirement for all physical therapists to achieve,” Pollacek said. “We have a passion for what we do and believe that in order to offer the best therapies to our patients, we needed to pursue a certification of this merit.”

Certified in neurologic physical therapy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists are, back row from left, Eman Jarouche, Alison Pollacek and Tori Smith, and, front, Cathy Hites.

Both Pollacek and Jarouche went through 2,000 hours of clinical training and took the certification exam in March. They received official notification of their passing scores in June, demonstrating their knowledge of evidence-based treatments integrated into excellent clinical practice.

“It was a lot of hard work, but, in reality, it’s small compared to the work our patients put in for us,” Pollacek said.

According to the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists’ website, only 2,290 therapists in the United States have earned the distinction of neurologic clinical specialist as of June. It is rare for one institution to have one board-certified neurologic physical therapist.

“To have the number of neuro-certified therapists as we do at UTMC acknowledges our desire to better serve our patients and keep up to date on best practices in terms of therapeutic approaches and research,” Jarouche said.

Cathy Hites was the first at UTMC to receive her certification in 1999, followed by Tori Smith in 2009. Both knew that they wanted to further support their patients with neuro-related injuries such as those from strokes, trauma, or those for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s.

The number of patients coming in for treatment with strokes, traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries has increased over time, resulting in the need to focus on the best practices in physical therapy for this patient population, as well as those with degenerative diseases.

“We want our patients to feel confident during their therapy sessions and trust we are backing their individual treatment plans with knowledge that leads them back to their everyday lives,” Smith said.

In addition to the four neurological clinical specialists, the Outpatient Therapy Services at UTMC has two therapists certified as sports clinical specialists and one as an orthopedic clinical specialist.

For more information, call the Outpatient Therapy Department at UTMC at 419.383.5040 or visit

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