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Allison Dudzik (AV High 2008) Awarded Doctorate In Physical Therapy

Allison Dudzik, daughter of proud parents Deny and Lori Dudzik of Yorkville, and Anderson Valley High School graduate of 2008 was awarded her Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) on June 7th 2024 by A.T. Still University in Mesa Arizona. A.T. Still is an Osteopathic Medical School that prides itself on being “First in whole person healthcare.” Osteopathic medicine is based on the idea that all of the body’s systems are interrelated. There is a focus on holistic health and prevention, all parts of a person, including their mind, body and emotions, are considered during treatment.

Allison attended Anderson Valley schools from second grade through high school. As her neighbor I remember when she about twelve and was taking “The President’s Physical Fitness Challenge” very seriously. So even back then she was paying close attention to the workings of the body. Her actual career path began when Jason Page — who was at the time a coach and health teacher at AVHS — recommended that she job-shadow a physical therapist for her Senior Project. This is one of many examples of how a teacher can fundamentally alter the life of a student in a positive way.

In addition to Jason, Allison remembers her math teacher Kathy Borst and Spanish teacher Kathy Cox. Those who taught her over the years can perhaps feel a measure of pride in her accomplishment.

Following high school there were four years of undergraduate work at San Diego State University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree studying Kinesiology as a pre-physical therapy subject. After two years off working two jobs she entered Long Beach State University. She took two years to earn her Master’s Degree in Kinesiology with a specialty in Sports Medicine. For her postgraduate work she attended A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona from 2021-2024.

I asked her about the heat of Arizona and she explained to me that it is as if the seasons flip-flopped. December, January and February are beautiful while June, July, August and September are hot. This contrasts with places where winter is the bitter time of the year and the summer a happier climate.

Like many people Allison’s path included a few twists and turns but at the end of the rainbow after a lot of hard work and steady intention she earned the distinction of becoming Dr. Dudzik or DPT, a doctor of physical therapy. I don’t know how many AVHS students have gone on to receive doctorate degrees but it has got to be a fairly small number.

Immediately after graduation Allison was hired by a Skilled Nursing Facility in Scottsdale, Arizona. I asked her who would make use of her skills and she told me, “Anybody and everybody.” She helps people return to their highest possible level of previous functioning. She helps people get ready to go home from residential skilled nursing. Most rewarding is seeing the small improvements that increase her patient’s independence. She also enjoys seeing increased function, restoring people to enjoyment of their former recreational activities. The most challenging part of her job is observing decline. In advising people who are considering entering her field she admitted that there is plenty of opportunity and that the pay ranges from not great to pretty good. She told me that because of burnout the turnover contributes to increased opportunity. I would imagine the big demographic bulge that is the aging boomers moving through the system also makes for lots of physical therapy.

We are lucky that people like Allison are willing to go through the years of training it takes to help all of us when we need it. So thank you Allison, and Congratulations!

One Comment

  1. Jim Zisch July 3, 2024

    Congratulations Allison, you are one of the finest persons I’ve ever had the opportunity to know personally and professionally you are truly a standout with both your brilliant mind and all encompassing intellect so well in-tuned with science and nature. We so much look forward to following your career and watching all you inspire towards a better world of health and goodness. Again, congratulations, this is only the beginning!

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