Welcome to the Friday Faculty Spotlight! This week, we’ll meet Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Katherine Bain ’15, Ph.D., DPT, PT, ATC/L. Dr. Bain is not only a Shenandoah faculty member, but also an alumna of the program in which she now teaches. Her focus is, in both research and the classroom, on outcomes – in her research, she’s looking at the lingering effects of injury, while in the classroom, she’s utilizing all the resources at her disposal to help learners become “well-rounded, empathetic clinicians.” Find out more about Dr. Bain (shown above at her Global Citizenship Project trip to Alaska in March) in her full Friday Faculty Spotlight Q&A, including how she spends her free time (the Renaissance is involved, but not how you might think) and what drew her to Shenandoah.
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When did you start teaching at Shenandoah?
I started teaching as a full-time faculty member in August 2022, but I also served as an adjunct faculty member from 2016-2018 prior to starting my Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky.
What appealed to you about Shenandoah?
I attended SU as a graduate student in the MSAT/DPT dual degree program and I truly loved the family atmosphere of the university! It was obvious that faculty and students alike were genuinely happy to be here.
While you already had your Doctor of Physical Therapy when you came to Shenandoah as a faculty member, you’ve also recently added a Ph.D. What inspired you to earn a second doctoral degree, and what research did you conduct for your dissertation?
I always knew I eventually wanted to teach full time in a graduate health profession program, and I also knew that to satisfy accreditation requirements across all health professions,I would need my terminal degree. I specifically chose the Ph.D. route to challenge myself and to push myself out of my comfort zone in terms of research and analytics. I feel like my interpersonal skills and gregarious personality are my strengths, so I wanted to take time to foster and develop other potential skill sets – not only for me, but to aid both students and patients alike.
My dissertation is titled, “Neurophysiological and Psychological Characteristics of Individuals with History of Lateral Ankle Sprain” and the overall purpose or goal of this piece was to highlight the not-so-obvious residual impairments that exist following a musculoskeletal injury, in this case, an ankle sprain. As hands-on health care providers, we are trained and conditioned to address the immediate injury and obvious problems such as, pain, swelling, inability to walk properly, etc. However, what about the long-term consequences? How does this injury impact the individual mentally? Emotionally? Socially? I truly love being a researcher-clinician because I have the opportunity, space, and support to delve into these types of questions!
What are your areas of focus as a researcher?
Highlighting the not-so-obvious residual impairments that exist following an ankle sprain. I like to analyze things like patient-reported outcomes, which are tools to help clinicians better understand how a patient rates and perceives their own injury and level of dysfunction. Then, I like to correlate, or explore the relationship, between these patient-reported values and the patient’s actual physical function and performance of tasks.
What is your teaching approach?
Being as authentic as possible! I do not pretend to know things that I do not know and I am always happy to learn something new, and I like to think this approach empowers my students to ask questions and share resources that they might find useful. I truly approach teaching with the mindset of, “possibilities are endless,” so whatever mechanism or avenue of learning (i.e., videos, flowcharts, anatomy coloring books, dissection, practice quizzes, group discussion, flipped classroom, utilization of Socrative quizzes/activities, etc.) works best for the student, then that is the “correct” path for them. I often present the same information in a plethora of ways, reminding the student to just stick to whichever mechanism works best for them.
What do you hope your students will take away from their time in your classes?
I would like my students to know that it’s OK if you don’t know all the information all at once and that a single grade on an exam or a course does not determine the rest of your academic trajectory, nor does it determine how successful you will be as a future health care provider! You can (and should!) always be learning new information, but at the end of the day, I hope I am helping to cultivate well-rounded, empathetic clinicians with a strong background in gross anatomy!
What is a little-known fact about you?
I have two miniature dachshunds, Leonardo (Leo for short) and Dante! They are my little Renaissance boys.
What do you do for fun/in your free time?
Truly, I love to watch HGTV in my fuzzy robe and slippers with Leo and Dante, while sitting on the couch, casually drinking an entire pot of coffee. But my less grandma-esque answer is swimming and going on long outdoor walks while listening to podcasts. (I am a big fan of anything Brene Brown!)