Natalie has over 12 years of healthcare experience working exclusively in the Veteran Affairs sector. She has created exercise programs, and other movement initiatives as well as organized and optimized scheduling for the Tampa Kinesiotherapy practice at the James A Haley hospital. Natalie is a land-based therapist and a certified Aquatic Therapist. When she is not providing care to our nation’s heroes, she spends some of her time advancing the Kinesiotherapy (KT) profession. For the past 5 years, Natalie has served on the executive board of the AKTA. She is currently the national president of the American Kinesiotherapy Association, AKTA.
Natalie graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi located in Hattiesburg, MS with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Performance and Recreation with a Kinesiotherapy Emphasis.
Natalie has ambitious goals for the organization ranging from increasing the involvement of the members of the profession to getting legislation passed to get KT professionals on par with other healthcare professionals.
Natalie’s passion for helping others is at the core of what drives her.
You can hear Natalie at this year’s MFA Annual Conference in her session entitled: Kinesiotherapists (KT): The Whole Health Specialist.
We caught up with Natalie recently and here is what she had to say.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy the journey of helping my patients reach his/her goals. The bond that is built between the patient, myself, and sometime family members to create a strong support system to help them succeed. It is very educational to sit with the more seasoned patients as they recount and tell stories of their youth and service to this country. I am often shocked to hear about those details of war that my textbooks could not begin to explain. It is an honor to serve those who have served for my freedoms.
What has been your favorite/most successful initiative?
AquaMOVE is a 12-week aquatic based exercise program that supports those veterans who struggle with obesity, joint pain, and find it difficult to perform land-based exercises. It is all about the journey to success. Some veterans have been able to decrease insulin dosage, walk independently of assistive devices, and be active with grandchildren.
What do you like to do outside of work? I love being a wife and a mother to two beautiful children. I serve in my church youth ministry as a nursery school teacher. We enjoy traveling and simply being outdoors. I am a huge sports fan and teach my children all of my favorite sports team chants. WHO DAT!!!! Southern Miss To The Top!!!
What led you to choose this field?
I fell in love with Kinesiotherapy during my Intro to KT course. The passion that Mr. Purvis taught with was contagious. Kinesiotherapy combines my passion to care for others with my love for some of this nation’s greatest veterans. I was raised with great-grandparents who I helped to care for. I was performing transfers and working with wheelchairs years before I knew the proper terms. I am surrounded by loved ones who bravely served and currently serve this great nation.
Thank you, Natalie for all the incredible work you do for our nation’s veterans!