Meaningful Mentors: Meet NAIOMT's Tyrees Marcy

Posted by NAIOMT on Apr 14, 2021 7:54:00 AM

Tyrees Marcy, PT, DPT, OCS, COMT, FAAOMPT received her BSPT from Sacramento State University, Sacramento in 1998 and went on to complete a post-graduate certificate in manual therapy from Curtin University, Perth Australia in 2004 and a transitional doctorate degree in 2010 from A.T. Still University in Mesa, AZ. She currently works as a Faculty Member for NAIOMT, serving as a Clinical Fellowship Instructor and Teaching Assistant. She works at Olympic Sports and Spine Therapy as a Physical Therapist Float. She currently serves as a member of the NAIOMT Faculty Development Committee. She serves on the Nominating Committee for the AOPT Orthopaedic and Residency Special Interest Group and is an ABPTRFE Onsite Reviewer. Additionally, she is an Item Writer for the Specialization Academy of Content Experts [SACE]. Marcy's passion is to empower and inspire Physical Therapists to grow professionally by pursuing Faculty Positions as well as elevating current teaching expertise. 


What drew you to PT as a career?

Having had my own knee surgery at age 18 years old, I experienced first-hand the importance of Physical Therapy in return to function. During my first year at Palomar Community College in Southern California, I walked with crutches and a knee brace carrying my heavy book bag from class to class. I had amazing Physical Therapists who encouraged me, held me accountable on my exercise program and pushed me to succeed. The science of Physical Therapy and biopsychosocial aspect of care intrigued me. I was hooked.

Where did you go to school and why?

Through my career I have attended many Colleges and Universities. Palomar Community College allowed me to obtain by general education for the PT School application and transfer to University. California State University, Sacramento was in state and a newer program with an outstanding faculty who had specialized in manual therapy. Curtin University, Perth Australia in conjunction with Manual Concepts, Inc. had world-renowned practitioners and a strong emphasis in manual therapy. Finally, A.T. Still University allowed me to obtain my Transitional Doctorate degree while living and practicing in Washington State.

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

My first job was with Career Staff Unlimited in the late 1990’s as a Contract PT in the Pacific Northwest traveling as far north as Port Angeles and south as Olympia. I was able to glean knowledge from both experienced and novice Physical Therapists on a myriad of diagnoses.

Why did you leave your first PT job?

I moved to California to live in Brawley, a border town that served a Hispanic Community. I worked three jobs: the Pioneer Memorial Hospital Acute Care on the weekends; my own business, Shatzer Physical Therapy, two afternoons a week; and full-time at Desert Rehabilitation Outpatient Orthopaedics.

How did you hear about NAIOMT?

My colleague from PT school, Dave Lindsey recommended it!

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

My first NAIOMT course was the Thoracic Spine. My first impression: this is EXACTLY where I am supposed to be!

Who was your first NAIOMT instructor?

It was with Bill Temes in 2008 for the Thoracic Spine course.

What got you hooked on NAIOMT?

NAIOMT’s approach provides a foundation to manual therapy utilizing distinct spine and extremity biomechanical information coupled with current clinical concepts for assessment and treatment taking into account the person as a whole. This is what got me hooked. NAIOMT provides a systematic way to approach clinical reasoning in the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems.

Was fitting the fellowship into your lifestyle challenging?

Absolutely, but I made it work! I was a full time working Mom of three young boys managing a PT clinic. My husband is a pilot so he was not home often.


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

My primary mentor was Michael Tollan. I also had Bill O’Grady for my 1:1 direct hours. Through my Fellowship Program, Bill Temes and Steve Allen also contributed to my clinical hours.

Why did you decide to become a mentor?

It was the natural progression of professional growth. As the saying goes, “Learn one, Do one, Teach one.” So many clinicians had given their knowledge and expertise to me throughout my journey. I wanted to continue that level dedication to our field.

Where can PTs go to receive additional mentoring outside NAIOMT's courses and Fellowship Program?

NAIOMT has a program called 'Post-Course Office Hours' where the clinician can attend a monthly virtual platform to discuss case studies, review biomechanics, and gain insight to valuable treatment approaches. Mentorship sessions are being offered for courses at the 500 and 600 levels. Go to Post-Course Office Hours for further information!

What’s unique about you as a teacher?

As a teacher, I always strive to have the FiT see the big picture through building therapeutic alliance with the patient while addressing the patient’s concerns and utilizing the most effective clinical reasoning and intervention tools. This means teaching the art of reflection in everything we do, first and foremost.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I spend time with my husband, 3 teenage sons and 2 dogs. I exercise daily. I also play piano on my 1904 Steinway and I learn Japanese.

How do you combine these interests with your PT profession?

Specifically, playing the piano is about motor strategy, route practice and tuning your ear to the instrument. That is PT. It’s perfect!

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

Every patient must be treated as a unique person, taking into account their specific history of recreation, health, work, family, prior injury, etc. When we approach care in this fashion, Physical Therapists can treat the person as a whole, optimizing functional movement in all aspects of life.

What do you believe is the biggest problem facing PT today?

Physical Therapists are financially challenged by the ever changing world of insurance. We have to be advocates for our patients and step up to this challenge, providing clinical evidence that warrants reimbursement.


Why do you believe in the NAIOMT system?

The NAIOMT system gives the Physical Therapy foundational knowledge of the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular system to effectively, proficiently and safely perform a subjective intake, an examination and implement a treatment with current clinical evidence based practice.

What's your mantra when it comes to treating?

I live by three questions I ask the patient: What do you think is happening? Will you heal from this? What is your expectation of me today. This mantra has helped me build a therapeutic alliance with the patient become more efficient and proficient with my care.

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

A 62 year old female with diagnostic right hamstring tendonosis and grade II tear of the gluteus medius who, by the end of care, was able to go up and down her step-stool without lateral hip pain in 10 visits over a period of 3 months!

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

I was phone mentoring a PT who lived in the Tri-Cities. He reported a clinical case study where his patient, an older woman, had low back pain around L3 with negative radiographs. We talked through his findings and I asked him to reflect on what he really thought the pain driver was. He reported a fracture and we then clinically reasoned through the subjective findings, demographics for this patient and potential red flags as well as potential clinical findings for a lumbar fracture. He was encouraged and advocated for his patient by asking specific questions, performing scanning tests and phoned the MD with his new information. She ended up having a L3 vertebral body fracture. It was a great example of helping someone reflect on their process and advocate for their patient.

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

Our profession needs to continue to be a force at the State and National Levels to continue our ability to perform Manual Therapy interventions as well as continue to contribute to the body of Clinical Research surrounding effective clinical reasoning and treatments. Our future needs to include Regional Interdependence with the body as a whole including biopsychosocial aspects of care that treats the patient’s movement experience relative to their environment.

In work and in life in general, what really matters to you?

Be present. Be present with your family, friends and colleagues and give of yourself without expectation of return.





Post-Course Office Hours

If you ask any of our faculty how they went from good clinicians to great clinicians you will often hear them refer to their mentor. That person who believed in them and took the time to answer their questions. We know that many of you are still looking for that mentor and we would like to help!

Join Tyrees Marcy in NAIOMT's online mentorship program Post-Course Office Hours.

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Join NAIOMT's Fellowship Program

We are now accepting applications to the NAIOMT OMPT Fellowship Program. The application deadline is June 1, 2021 for a July 15, 2021 start date. Openings are limited.

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