Manchester native Shane Allen is a recent graduate of the Doctor of the Physical Therapy (DPT) program offered at the University of Kentucky (UK) Center of Excellence in Rural Health in Hazard (CERH). Allen was invited to share his experience in choosing and completing the local DPT program that has a rural focus.
“I chose to attend the DPT program at the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health in Hazard because I am from Eastern Kentucky and I wanted to be close to family and friends during my time in the graduate program,” said Allen, who previously completed an undergraduate degree in exercise science at UK’s Lexington campus.
“I dreamed of becoming a physical therapist since the 8th grade, but at that time I was unaware of the UK DPT program in Hazard. Once I learned more about the program, I knew right away that I wanted to attend in Hazard because of my connection to the region,” said Allen, who completed not only the classroom training for the three-year program, but also a diverse set of clinical experiences throughout eastern Kentucky.
Allen began his association with UK CERH long before he enrolled as a DPT student. “I first became acquainted with the Center through a summer internship opportunity with the Robinson Scholars program. The Robinson Scholar Program, being in Hazard and close to my hometown, was a great opportunity during the summer months during my undergraduate program. I had no idea my time at the Center would impact my future so much. The Center has and always will be a very special place to me,” he said.
While Allen was involved in the Robinson Scholars summer internship, the UK CERH Director Fran Feltner became an important mentor to him. “Dr. Feltner, and I discussed my dream of becoming a physical therapist early on in my internship,” he said. “She was very helpful in guiding me down the right path to fulfilling my dream. Dr. Feltner arranged for me to sit in on a first year PT lecture and lab. She introduced me to several members of the hazard faculty and gave me advice on studying for the GRE.”
Allen said some of the things that make the Hazard campus unique and advantageous are the smaller class sizes, the availability of the professors and support staff and a smaller professor to student ratio in the labs providing more hands on experience and guidance.
“The support from the professors and staff at the center is incredible,” said Allen. “Whenever you have a problem or issue, someone is right down the hallway ready to help. My advice for incoming students is to allow your classmates to become your family and don't be afraid to reach out to the staff around you because they are ready to help.”
“During the PT program, Dr. Charles Hazle was very influential on my success. Dr. Hazle continued to encourage me through difficult times in the program by suggesting alternative study strategies and ultimately provided the clinical skills necessary to treat patients as a new graduate,” said Allen.
“Dr. Feltner and other faculty members at the Center played an important role in both my admittance into, and completion of, the UK DPT Program and I will never be able to thank the individuals at the Center enough for helping place me in the position that I am in today.
Following graduation, Allen was hired as the clinic manager for Champion Physical Therapy in Pineville, Kentucky, where he says he plans to serve rural Kentucky to the best of his abilities.