Melissa Ziegler, Ph.D., FMFA, RKT, has served as the Executive Director for the American Kinesiotherapy Association (AKTA) since 2006. Melissa’s primary responsibility is to promote the profession of Kinesiotherapy. The opportunity to share the Medical Fitness Association (MFA) with the AKTA membership has been instrumental in the growth of Kinesiotherapy and the continued affiliation is vital to solving the missing link between independent wellness and acute rehabilitation.
She believes that the Kinesiotherapist is the missing piece in the current healthcare system and that utilization of the skills of a Registered Kinesiotherapists (RKT) is key to helping reduce debilitation, or weaknesses, and enhancing functional capabilities for all persons, but especially those with functional limitations.
The demand for RKTs is on the rise, because exercise and education, the two primary modalities used by an RKT, can help patients regain independence, recover from injury and recuperate faster following surgery. Combined, these efforts can reduce overall health care costs for the entire system.
Dr. Ziegler completed her degree in Higher Education Administration with a minor in Kinesiology from USM in 2018. Her research focuses on influencers of Physical Activity patterns of college students. She has a Master’s of Arts in Human Performance with a specialization in Exercise Science from the University of Houston-Clearlake in Houston, TX and a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Performance with an emphasis in Kinesiotherapy also from USM.
Her background in fitness includes cardiopulmonary testing, cardiac rehab, and exercise prescriptions for those with cardiac, pulmonary, or metabolic disorders. Melissa has been a Registered Kinesiotherapist and a member of the AKTA since 2001. She has served MFA since 2008 through various committees including, Education and Conference Committees (Chair in 2016 and 2017), and is currently serving as the Chair of the Fellowship Committee and as a State Captain for Mississippi.
In addition to MFA activities she also serves on the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) Clinical Practice Model Working group and as a Commissioner for the AKTA on the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). She is a faculty fellow through the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE), holding a Certificate in Effective College Instruction. Additionally, she holds two yoga certifications through Yoga Fit, Level 1 and YogaFit for Warriors.
In her free time, Melissa enjoys yoga, strength training, group fitness, running, or anything active especially with her husband, Trey and daughter Zoey. They can often be found at a Southern Miss or Mississippi State sporting event, hanging out at the Hattiesburg Zoo, or out on the water.