Please tell us about yourself
Gurpreet’s love for physical therapy research leads him to peruse research articles even in his free time! When he isn’t reading or working, Gurpreet enjoys spending time with his wife and son, running, playing ping pong, and volunteering with many organizations in the area.
Share with us a little about your background, any accomplishments you wish to note, and how your path lead you to where you are in your career today.
I graduated with a bachelor’s in Physical Therapy from Guru Nanak Dev University in India. Thereafter, I worked for almost a year and a half in outpatient at a local clinic specializing in neurological disorders. At the time, I was constantly challenged with cases where progress was minimal despite regular PT. I was always curious to learn why some individuals respond to a certain therapy and some not. In other words, I was always seeking evidence for the treatments we were doing. I decided to pursue research in rehabilitation, so I applied and selected for a PhD in Rehabilitation at University of Kansas Medical Center, KS. I graduated with a PhD in 2016 and my research focused on role of balance training in Parkinson’s disease. Alongside, I also worked as a consultant PT at Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center at Landon Center on Ageing at the University of Kansas Medical Center. For 7 long years I worked on several projects which lead to important conclusions. I joined Sage College in 2014 and since then have taught Adult Neuro, Motor Control, and Analysis of professional literature in PT.
How long have you been an active member of the NYPTA? Can you tell us how membership in your professional association, as well as in leadership roles, has enhanced your career?
I have been an active member of NYPTA since 2014. I have always been very active in my professional organizations since I stepped into the world of PT. I believe it is very important to stay up to date about latest accomplishments, changes and any relevant news. Had it not been the professional organizations, I would have never met my current employers. It is via professional meetings that I was able to learn so much about the PT world and what great work our colleagues are doing in their respective places. I have always tried to be in some form of leadership position within the professional organizations, which had helped me develop connections. Directly or indirectly being an active member has always helped whether it is a research project I need help with, in employment and in many other areas where I need guidance from senior researchers and PT’s.
How is technology helping or changing your experience in the physical therapy industry? What is your favorite new technology or device?
Over the last one decade, technology has changed exponentially, especially in the field of PT. Addition of technology such as gait and motion analysis, robotics; BWSTT, etc. have helped us understand every single detail of the patients. Technology in several forms is quickly becoming an integral part of the delivery of physical therapy. Technology is being used to help patients with everything from patient care, timely recovery, better outcomes and guiding patients through therapy sessions. Technology has made it easier for the therapists to standardize the measurements, which have helped extensively to track improvements. In addition technological advancements in education such as use of audio, video, software to analyze data, quizzes etc. have made the classrooms more interactive and learner friendly. One of my favorite devices are Gait rite Mat, which is very user friendly as well as it provides a plethora of information about patient’s gait in a very short time span.
What is one of the biggest differences between now, and the time you first started practicing physical therapy?
Since I started my PT practice in India, it was very different back then. Most of the therapeutic strategies were based on manual therapy, which often required more time and more manpower, with limited output. With the use of new technologies these days, things have definitely become easier and more efficient as well. Using BWSTT can significantly help individuals who are not able to take full body weight, however the work of PT is significantly reduced and more attention can be focused on other aspects of gait and balance than just handling the patient. Rehabilitation in my view has changed in such a way that we now have better outcomes, with the amount of work PT’s do.
What is your favorite hobby or past time, and how have you incorporated that into your career if at all?
My favorite team when I am not teaching is reading recent research articles. Although, it may sound strange reading research articles makes me happy. APTA advocates the use of evidence in practice. I try to back up my teaching with more recent research evidence. Additionally, as a researcher it helps my research agenda. Reading about new research help me develop my own ideas and at the same time help me understand what may be helpful and what not. Other than that, I love spending time with my 6 year old son, playing with him is a routine.
What advice would you give to a young professional or a student of physical therapy as they embark on this career path?
The only one advice I would like to give to young professionals and students is that be very proud of yourself. You are in a noble profession, where you have this unique opportunity to help individuals in problem. Never lose hope and make sure your patients understand your intentions. Always remember that PT’s have a dual responsibility that is to treat and at the same time prevent any harm.
What else would you like your fellow NYPTA Members to know about you?
I moved to Albany in 2013 with my wife (Rupali Singh PhD, PT) and my son Yuvi. Personally, I like running if I get a chance and I like to play with my son. My hobbies include running and playing ping pong. I love to volunteer so I do a ton of activities around the year. Every year, I along with our organization “American Sikhs for Humanity” organize a 5K in the area “Interfaith Peace Run/Walk”.