Hunter Madich, PT, ’21, wasn’t in the best of moods. He was trying to get some Christmas shopping finished and the long checkout line in which he was standing wasn’t helping.
His aggravation disappeared when he answered his ringing cell phone. It was Jamie Kuettel, PT, DPT, NCS, GCS, assistant professor and director of progression and retention at A.T. Still University of Health Sciences’ (ATSU) Physical Therapy program, calling with news that Madich had been named 2020 Outstanding PT Student Award winner by the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy.
“I became pretty overjoyed and excited about the award,” Madich said. “I was shocked and did not expect to receive the honor, but I am very glad and excited I did.”
Originally from Kalispell, Montana, Madich attended Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, where he received his bachelor of science in biology. Having been a high school and college athlete who made his fair share of visits to physical therapists, and possessing a desire to help others, Madich decided to pursue physical therapy.
Madich examined different programs but selected ATSU-Arizona School of Health Sciences’ (ATSU-ASHS) Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.
“I chose to pursue A.T. Still University because of the many research, volunteer, and professional opportunities offered,” Madich said. “I also really enjoyed the mind, body, and spirit mentality and really take that to heart when treating in clinical settings.”
Madich has volunteered with Corbin’s Legacy, Special Olympics fitness screenings, Ability360 programs, Feed My Starving Children, and Team of Physicians to provide physicals to middle and high school students. He’s also a student ambassador for ATSU’s Center for Occupational and Physical Therapy, a pro-bono clinic where student doctors perform occupational and physical therapy treatments under department faculty and staff supervision.
For research, Madich participates in his capstone project, which involves analyzing running performance of parathletes, and volunteers with a hippotherapy project for patients with Parkinson’s disease.
His list of activities is impressive, though Madich said he sometimes wonders if he’s doing too much or is involved in the right things. Being selected Outstanding PT Student confirms he’s on the right path.
“This award helped give me a sign that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing and re-lit a fire and desire to keep pushing through my time at A.T. Still University,” he said.
Lori Bordenave, PT, DPT, PhD, director of the DPT program, said Madich’s expansive resume indicates a highly motivated, high-quality student.
“Hunter has been a leader in launching the ATSU Center for Occupational and Physical Therapy, while continuing to be active in student groups at the state and national levels,” Dr. Bordenave said. “He is always looking for opportunities for growth as a physical therapist and has energy and enthusiasm for everything he is involved with.”
Madich wants to one day work in an outpatient orthopedic setting that has a neurology component.
“I am interested in working with patients with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s, athletes, and everyday individuals,” he said.
Madich will receive his award during the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting next month in Denver, Colorado.