Physical therapist earns President’s Award

When Rachel Atanosian started her career as a physical therapist 12 years ago, she said she aspired, every day, to improve the lives of her patients.

Atanosian, an Allen Park resident who is now the manager of Rehabilitation Services at the Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center, received validation of that commitment recently, when she was honored with the 2013 President’s Award from the Michigan Physical Therapy Association (MPTA).

“It is the top award given out by the Michigan Physical Therapy Association,” said Rahul Jadia, administrator of Oakwood’s Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Services for Oakwood Healthcare. “It really speaks to the contribution a person has made to the profession of physical therapy in Michigan.”

Atanosian came to Oakwood as a physical therapy student in 2001 and was hired that same year. She said her mother, a registered nurse, suggested the career path to her. As the manager of rehabilitation services, she not only works with patients, she is the academic coordinator for the rehabilitation services throughout the Oakwood healthcare system, said Jadia.

“She not only takes care of patients, but the students who come through our buildings, as well,” he said.

The President’s Award is not an annual one, according to Marcy Dwyer, executive director of the MPTA. It is only given out when someone meets the stringent criteria of the award. Only four have been awarded since 1996, she added.

“This honor is to recognize significant contribution and service to the physical therapy profession in Michigan,” said Dwyer. “Rachel’s efforts have improved the profession by providing expertise to her colleagues and the Michigan Physical Therapy Association through her many activities.”

Atanosian, an Allen Park resident, said she was humbled by the award and appreciative of her colleagues at Oakwood Healthcare—and the chance to make someone’s life a little better every day she came to work.

“It’s a great honor and blessing to be recognized by my profession like this,” she said. “I really couldn’t imagine a bigger honor.”

CUTLINE: Rachel Atanosian, PT, DPT, was awarded the 2013 President’s Award from the Michigan Physical Therapy Association.