Meaningful Mentors: Meet NAIOMT’s Steve Allen

Posted by NAIOMT on Jul 11, 2020 11:15:57 AM

Steve Allen is the founder of Evergreen Physical Therapy in Spokane and retired shareholder and clinic director at Therapeutic Associates, Inc. in Liberty Lake, Washington. Steve received his Board Certification in Orthopedic Physical Therapy in 1986 and is a 1996 graduate of the North American Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy. 


What drew you to PT as a career? When and how did you start your journey?

I loved a kinesiology class I took in college and at about the same time, saw my first PT working on my girl friend's father after he suffered a stroke.

Where did you go to school and why?

I attended PT school at the renowned University of Southern California. The school was located on the campus of Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Center. The school was top ranked and the environment rich in research and clinical expertise.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

Staff PT in a community hospital in Seattle. Great learning environment and caring for patients both in-house (hospitalized) and out-patient PT clinic.

How did you hear about NAIOMT?

A colleague recommended I invite Erl Pettman to my clinic and hold a weekend course. The rest is history!

I was over the top impressed, confused and delighted to be so challenged!


Where did you take your first NAIOMT courses and what was your first impression?

Portland Oregon. A 600 level cervical spine class with Erl Pettman. I was over the top impressed, confused and delighted to be so challenged!

What got you hooked on NAIOMT?

Clinical reasoning by far and away hooked me. Then, detailed surface palpation, specificity and localization of care to articular joints, and understanding those patients deemed unsuitable or at risk for manual interventions.

Was fitting the fellowship into your lifestyle challenging?

Of course. Really for the first time on a targeted basis, both observing and being observed by expert PTs in my clinical care of patients. Stressful, rewarding, most challenging.

Who was/is your mentor? Tell us about several if you have them!

Ann Porter-Hoke. Ann models unbelievable clinical reasoning in simple and not-so simple clinical scenarios. Specificity, gentleness of hands, accuracy. Erl Pettman... inspiring and always, always challenging me. Bill Temes. Differential diagnosis and excellent "hands to head" behavior.

Why did you decide to become a mentor?

Because if I teach, I learn. Selfishly, I grow from the experience! 

What’s unique about you as a teacher?

I teach with passion about my profession and claim our science is indeed, only our science and we as a profession must not let that go.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Play with grandchildren, hike with my wife, Angela and read great books. Also taking guitar lessons.

How do you combine these interests with your PT profession?

I seek fitness. How can I do otherwise but be a good model for those I take care of.

Your knowledge and love of literature is well-known to anyone who’s had the pleasure of attending any of your classes or presentations. Your custom of reciting poems from memory during transitions gives everyone in the room the opportunity to reflect. Can you share some more insights into you as a reader of great books?

Well, I married an English Literature major who now teaches at university. So I don’t believe I would have ever met Dickens or Austen without her influence. Poland by Michner was the first book I ever read and cried. Just reading Fail Better by Mark Kingwell, all about baseball written by a philosopher. I’m re-reading to better understand his incredible insight to the game and to life.

With passion and conviction that I will practice to the top of my license, my skill and impart hope to my patients.


What's your most strongly held belief about how PT should be provided?

With passion and conviction that I will practice to the top of my license, my skill and impart hope to my patients.

Why do you believe in the NAIOMT system?

We are the best eclectic, focused manual therapy training program in the US. Our roots are well embedded in the great, early advocates of our field from all over the world, those whose names will always be part of our legacy.

What's your mantra when it comes to treating?

I'm really glad you have come to see me.

Give an example of a time when you know you made a difference with a patient.

Manipulation of a cunieform that restored pain free walking and allowed my patient to return to walking for fitness with her husband after five years of impairment.

Give an example of a time when you know you made a difference with a student.

I don't know who this student was, but in a survey reply after a course, they stated their renewed pledge and excitement to be in our profession, sharing they were on the verge of leaving.

What changes would you like to see the PT profession make? What's lacking?

More direct care and access. Most states have that in their state practice acts, but the insurance industry and medical profession still controls this issue and to the detriment of patients and the ever rising cost of health care.

Favorite movie? Why?

Saving Private Ryan. I love the pain and the horror of war so represented and helps me better appreciate what my dad went through and especially the line by Tom Hanks before he dies... "make it count."

Which historical figure has been most influential in your life? Why?

John F Kennedy. He brought hope and vision for a better future.

Favorite vacation spot? Why?

Priest Lake, Idaho. Unsurpassed beauty, peace.

Finally, tell us about your recently launched podcast series “You Think You Know: Conversations that Inspire”.

When my interview with Erl Pettman on the Functional Shoulder Girdle came out, my sister, who is an art major, called me to say how much she loved the podcast, I knew we had something going. I have no idea why I’m doing this only to say I really am enjoying it and keep thinking about the title (offered by my daughter, Maile).




Listen to Steve Allen's podcast "You Think You Know: Conversations that Inspire":


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