Meet a Member

Stefanie Stoller, SPT

Meet Stef, our Student & New Professional Subcommittee’s Director of Professional Development and a rising star in the field of oncology rehab!

When I tell family and friends about my interest in oncology rehab, I observe the familiar reflection of uncertainty in their faces that I too once expressed. I entered physical therapy school with the knowledge that I wanted to treat individuals holistically, be a resource for others during times they feel most vulnerable and support patients in achieving a higher quality of life through movement. Upon speaking with an alum of my physical therapy program who practices at the local cancer center, I too asked the question I now receive from others: “what can a physical therapist do for cancer patients?”.

This one question has transformed the entire trajectory of my physical therapy schooling and professional aspirations. I quickly learned that the answer to this question is extensive and exponentially evolving. Oncologic physical therapy supports my passion to treat patients holistically and unites the enthusiasm I possess towards the multiple body systems and their interactions. While the research on the benefits of exercise throughout the cancer care continuum exists, these patients continue to fall short of our professional reaches. Solving this shortcoming is multifaceted, however, as a student with a devotion towards assisting these patients, I recognize a gap in our didactic learning of oncology content. 

The APTA Oncology Student and New Professional Subcommittee has been a monumental resource for me throughout my time in school. This group has connected me with mentors and peers, provided didactic backing specific to oncology rehabilitation, and most importantly has given me a platform to advocate as a student for the future of oncologic physical therapy. As Director of Professional Development for the SNP Subcommittee, my goal is to increase student and new professional’s awareness for the rehabilitative needs of oncologic patients and to equip the next generation of providers with knowledge to treat this unique population. Every other month, I help the subcommittee organize Town Hall presentations, a series of virtual lectures taught by board-certified oncologic physical therapists on special topics within oncology rehab. As one clinician opened my eyes to the current state and prospect of oncology rehab, it is my ambition that through these Town Hall lectures, other students’ interests will be sparked by the wisdom and experiences of guest clinicians. As I just begin to scratch the surface in learning about oncology rehab, I hope to bring other future and current clinicians along in growing our knowledge, and ability to speak up the next time someone asks, “what can a physical therapist do for cancer patients?”.