2018 CSM Student Scholarship Winner, Christina Vivit
Section on Women’s Health has received many wonderful submissions from student physical therapists around the nation. We thank everyone that applied and encourage everyone to stay tuned for more opportunities for student members from the Section! We are proud and delighted to welcome Christina Vivit, SPT, to the 2018 APTA Combined Sections Meeting, on a free CSM conference registration. Christina will be volunteering at the SoWH booth, attending the SoWH General Business Meeting/Town Hall, and will be assisting the SoWH Director of Programming, Carina Siracusa, in coordinating opportunities for more student involvement at CSM in New Orleans, LA in February 2018. Stay tuned for Christina’s post-CSM report on her experience!
Christina Vivit, SPT, is a second-year DPT student at Saint Louis University (DPT Candidate, Class of 2019) in St. Louis, Missouri, with interests in becoming a women’s health physical therapist.
Christina specifically chose this area of physical therapy as she believes that it encompasses her personal, clinical, and professional interests. Christina strongly values getting to know and understand individuals in the most holistic way possible.
“As an Asian-American, I can empathize with patients who possess various cultural, psychosocial, and even physical boundaries to obtaining help for gender health issues or even simply feeling comfortable with expressing concerns related to sensitive health topics. Furthermore, the field of women’s health allows me to not only help vulnerable individuals feel more comfortable and autonomous with their bodies, but also highlights the delicate and essential nature of understanding our patients to get them to better health and functionality,” says Christina.
Christina’s interests in women’s health physical therapy have led her to various volunteer and professional experiences involving preventative health education, research, and observation. These experiences helped Christina gain integral communication skills that are necessary to grow as a compassionate, understanding, and encouraging women’s health physical therapist. She is currently involved in:
- monthly empowering small group sessions to educate about pelvic floor education, proper toileting habits, menstrual education and hygiene product use, benefits to exercise and hydration, and proper ways of carrying a baby to avoid pain.
- community health fairs within the International Institute and Community Action Agency of St. Louis, which extends community integration services to new immigrants and refugees of St. Louis. Both organizations extend a wide range of opportunities and aim to improve accessibility for immigrants, refugees, and low-income individuals in St. Louis.
- at-home ESL tutoring through the Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Program of St. Louis for a refugee woman in the community
- Saint Louis University’s DPT program representative for the Missouri Physical Therapy Association’s Missouri Student Special Interest Group (MSSIG).
Launching a Preventative Health Education Program
Christina was awarded a $1,000 grant from the SLU Center for Service and Community Engagement which she used to launch A Step Up to Preventative Care for Ladies and Babies at Our Lady’s Inn, a preventative 8-week health education program at Our Lady’s Inn, a maternal shelter for pregnant and postpartum women living in homelessness in St. Louis, MO. This program featured a weekly preventative health topic class and two to three days of individual and group meetings with mothers involved in the program. These meetings emphasized the importance of short and long-term goal setting and encouraged women to start taking a more active role in their health. This experience allowed Christina to obtain a better understanding of these women and form meaningful interpersonal relationships.
Research and Writing
Christina is the study administrator and research team member of a chronic pelvic pain management study that is currently in the IRB submission process. Her research team includes a urogynecologist, a women’s health physical therapist, and a women’s health nurse practitioner at SSM St. Mary’s Hospital at the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health in St. Louis.
Christina is also a principal investigator in a paper she is writing with a pediatric physical therapist and obstetrician that examines the current habits and barriers to a preventative health lifestyle for pregnant and postpartum women living in homelessness along with implications of interprofessional roles in preventative health education.
In March 2017, Christina submitted a guest blog on the Section on Women’s Health website that discussed reversing cultural taboos on the discussion of feminine health topics through education and understanding others from a cultural competency standpoint. Missed her blog post? Check it out at Breaking Cultural Taboos about Feminine Health.
Christina has completed 60 hours of observation in women’s health physical therapy and has recently completed the Section on Women’s Health Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Level 1 course.
Christina’s future goals include:
- running for a leadership position with the Section on Women’s Health Student Special Interest Group (SSIG).
- attend more APTA conferences to get to know others with shared interest and involvement in women’s health.
- engaging in a women’s health physical therapy clinical rotation.
- apply to a women’s health residency during her third year of PT school.
- advocate for the underserved population to improve accessibility to physical therapy services for these individuals
- continue being a member of the APTA and Section on Women’s Health to stay up-to-date on new research, educational opportunities, and opportunities to engage with fellow colleagues.