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Physical Therapists At Putnam Hospital Center Earn Doctoral Degrees

Physical therapists at the Putnam Hospital Center have been motivated to go for advanced degrees. From left: Praveen Issac, Kirsi Vera, James Mangano, Hannah Clark Polhill and Vicki Seppell. Not pictured are: Donna DiFabio and Jeanne Morgante.
Physical therapists at the Putnam Hospital Center have been motivated to go for advanced degrees. From left: Praveen Issac, Kirsi Vera, James Mangano, Hannah Clark Polhill and Vicki Seppell. Not pictured are: Donna DiFabio and Jeanne Morgante. Photo Credit: Contributed

CARMEL, N.Y. -- Over time, physical therapists such as the ones at Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel have earned more patient care responsibilities, and with those increased roles has come a push for them to up their educational game in the health-care field.

Physical therapists who graduated before 2015 are only required to have a bachelor’s degree to practice. Now even entry-level folks are finding that doctoral degrees are becoming the norm.

Adopted by the American Physical Therapy Association, the “Vision 2020” initiative is being taken very seriously by the hospital's rehabilitation department.

Physical therapist James Mangano has worked at the hospital for 17 years, primarily at its outpatient rehabilitation center in Pawling.

Those that already have bachelor’s or master’s degrees are grandfathered in, but Mangano and six others there have been motivated to on their own to reach that goal, the hospital said.

Mangano got his doctoral degree in August.

“While delivering physical therapy care is the same, we are now better qualified to recognize other medical issues and guide patients to the most appropriate health care provider when necessary," he said recently.

A doctoral degree takes about three years to complete. This curriculum requires students to take sciences such as pharmacology, radiology, differential diagnosis and evidence-based practice.

Vicki Seppell, a specialist in treating people with inner ear/balance disorders, says she and others with advanced degrees are “skilled in guiding our patients in making the most informed decisions about their own health care.”

Seppell has worked at Putnam Hospital Center for 15 years and got her doctoral degree in 2015.

Also with that degree at the Putnam Hospital Center location are Donna DiFabio, Praveen Issac and Kirsi Vera. At the Katonah location those with doctoral degrees are Jeanne Morgante and Hannah Clark Polhill.

For more information about the hospital’s Rehabilitation Department, call (845)-279-1785, or visit www.healthquest.org/rehabilitation/physical-rehabilitation.aspx

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