Member Highlights

Meet Kianna Stiffler, SPT

Kianna shares her journey of interest in pelvic health physical therapy.

I am a small-town girl from a tiny village called “Barker, NY” about an hour away from Buffalo, NY. In terms of what I wanted to do as a career, I knew I wanted to be in the healthcare profession, and I knew I wanted to help people from a young age. My grandmother got into a terrible accident when I was younger where she had broken both of her legs and was told she could not walk again. Through perseverance and an amazing team of physical therapists, she was able to take her first steps a year later. It was then that I knew: I’m going to become a physical therapist.

I eventually began attending Ithaca College for their Physical Therapy program. I began to learn in my first year of classes that there was so much more to physical therapy than I originally thought when I applied to schools. The topic of specialties was fascinating to me: oncology, sports, aquatics, pediatrics, and so much more but most importantly…pelvic health.

We briefly discussed pelvic health in a couple of my classes for a day or two, and I instantly wanted to know more. I asked professors, reached out to local pelvic health PTs, and spoke to anyone and everyone I could about pelvic health PT. I began to do research on my own frequently, figuring out what exactly pelvic health PT was and how I could learn more about it. The concept of pelvic health PT was so interesting to me.

As someone who has always been an open book about topics frequently seen as “taboo” in our society, it was refreshing to see a subset of physical therapy that focused on and normalized these issues while advocating for the patients experiencing them. Whether the issue be incontinence, painful sexual activity, or overactive/underactive pelvic floor muscles…it was amazing to me that these issues were seen as not just “normal things that happen as we age”, but rather a problem that could have a solution and that solution was pelvic health PT. 

I ended up finding the APTA of Pelvic Health during my yearly APTA registration and instantly became a member. This introduced me to a plethora of webinars, journals, and other resources I could use to further my knowledge. Then, this past year I discovered the APTA of Pelvic Health SSIG. It was incredible to find a group of students just like me who were passionate about this specialty. I was able to attend webinars about multiple topics regarding pelvic health, attend a virtual residency fair, and gain helpful tips-and-tricks when it came to navigating CSM. I am so grateful that I was able to find these amazing resources while still a student, as it allows me to expand my learning far beyond just my required coursework and allows me to meet incredible people across the country with the same interests as me.

After being a member for about a year, I am so incredibly humbled and grateful that the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy awarded me the scholarship funding necessary to complete my very first pelvic health course through the APTA. While this may be my first pelvic health course, it certainty will not be my last. This opportunity is the beginning of my professional development as a future pelvic health physical therapist and I could not be any more thrilled. I am so excited to begin to use the information I take away from this webinar to better not only myself as a future clinician, but to better inform and educate the lives of my future patients, friends, and family.

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