Joanna Alfieri, PT, DPT
Joanna Alfieri always admired her older sister, who went to school in New York and became a professional dancer. Joanna loved dance as well, and while in college, became a dancer for the Philadelphia Soul. She was dancing at the Garden State Dance Festival when she met another dancer who was the PT for Wicked on Broadway. Intrigued, she started to research physical therapy.
Her parents convinced her to take advantage of the NJ Stars Program. NJ Stars is a scholarship program that covers the cost of tuition at New Jersey’s community colleges. If they maintain a certain grade point average, they may then go on to a participating New Jersey College or University.
Joanna completed two years at Burlington County College, and enrolled in Rutgers University in New Brunswick to study exercise science. After that, it was off to prestigious Thomas Jefferson University for graduate school.
“I interned with a PT who worked for the Pennsylvania Ballet,” Joanna said. “She would go to the rehearsals and re-choreograph the dances based on the dancers’ injuries.”
While in grad school, Joanna did a clinical rotation with Kristen Garland, PT, DPT in the inpatient setting. “I loved it and I wanted to work in inpatient, but there were no openings at the time. Kristin convinced me to apply for a position in outpatient. I will be here 2 years on October 17.”
“I have been able to treat a few dancers here; whenever a dancer needs PT they try to send that person to me. But my passion is really the neuro population – stroke, MS,spinal cord injury, brain injury, CP. I see the same kinds of patients I loved seeing and treating in the inpatient setting.”
Joanna commuted to Burlington CC, Rutgers and to Thomas Jefferson. “My parents convinced me that I would be so happy later if I listened to them, “she said. “They cried when I graduated, and my dad told me recently that he drove by the new Bacharach Physical Therapy Center in Marlton and just thought about how proud of me he is.”