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Education

Colorado Native Finds a Calling to Physical Therapy

‘I feel so fortunate to have been a part of this community,’ says Chloe Graves of CU Anschutz

Author Staff | Publish Date November 19, 2021
What You Need To Know

Physical Therapy student Chloe Graves graduates in December. She talks about the call she felt to bring ‘compassion, kindness, integrity, generous service’ to the profession and her time at CU Anschutz.

Chloe Graves is a member of the Class of 2021 in Physical Therapy at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The program is housed within the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation within the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She talked to CU Anschutz Today about her journey to graduation – what brought her to study physical therapy, her time on campus and what comes next professionally. 

Q&A Header

What’s your education background?

I attended Kent Denver School for high school and continued my undergraduate career in St. Paul, Minn., where I studied and played basketball at Hamline University. I received a BA in Exercise Science with a concentration on Pre-Physical Therapy.

Where are you from?

Born and raised in Denver.

What are your interests outside of school?

I love to spend time with my family. Watching football, eating good food, listening to music, playing with my pup. Any given sunny day you can find me on a patio trying out some new local brews. A personal happy place for sure!

What drew you to the physical therapy profession?

My answer from day one (and remains to be true today) is by far my faith. As a follower of Jesus, I feel like physical therapy embodies a lot of what the gospel teaches: compassion, kindness, integrity, generous service. These are all things I aspire to be as a human. It was and is so refreshing to have found a profession that aligns with who I strive to be as a person.

Why did you choose CU PT?

Not only was Colorado home for me, but specifically the program felt like home. From the moment I stepped on campus I knew I was in the place I was supposed to be. The friendly staff, inclusive environment and continuous effort to promote diversity, equity and inclusion immediately drew me in and solidified my decision to attend.

How has your experience been with CU PT?

Nothing short of a blessing. From feeling like a true, vital part of this community to feeling supported and uplifted by my professors, mentors and friends, I feel so fortunate to have been a part of this community. I hope I have given this program as much as it has given me.

Certainly, the COVID portion of your DPT journey was not as expected. What do you think about the virtual side of learning and also how it impacted the connectivity of your cohort?

If I’m being honest, I sometimes feel like COVID robbed me of a fulfilling PT experience. Staff did all they could to make the virtual experience as rich and productive as possible, but I feel like I missed out on aspects of connectivity with the cohort. We did our best to get together outside of class, but it was still a challenging journey. 

Have you given any thought to what the future of PT holds in terms of innovation?

There are so many innovative ways PT is transforming. The first thing that comes to mind is our continuous role in promoting diversity, health equity and inclusion within PT programs across the country. As we strive to meet the needs of our very pluralistic society, our future providers will best represent the patients they serve. Future physical therapists will be from all backgrounds, races, nationalities and sexual orientations, and different lived experiences will compose this profession that we all love so much. I can foresee our future profession not only participating in secondary and tertiary care, but being vital components in primary, preventative care in our healthcare system.

Have you developed a particular specialty, or what do you envision you’ll do after graduation?

I plan on practicing in an outpatient orthopedic setting working with historically marginalized and underserved individuals. I like to think in the next five years I will be ready to specialize and take the OCS [Orthopedic Clinical Specialist certification], but who knows! Mostly just happy and blessed to be here now. Reaching this milestone and fulfilling this long sought-after dream of mine. 

What’s next, and how will your CU Anschutz experience help you move onward?

I hope to find (or, by the time this is read, have found a job) at the local safety net hospital. I cannot thank CU Anschutz enough for the past 2 1/2 years. They have unmistakably been the most challenging in my entire life, but I feel so fortunate to have been supported by such an amazing cohort of amazing friends, staff and resources. CU has been and always will be a home for me. My time here has not only shaped me into the clinician I am, but more importantly has challenged me to be a better version of myself. Seeing people in their entirety. Treating people wholly and, ultimately, finding bravery beyond belief. I take all these things with me as I move onward in future endeavors.