Name: William McGehee, PT, PhD
Undergrad and PT School:
BS in Zoology and Athletic Training from Eastern Illinois University (Go Panthers! Also the alma mater of New Orleans Saints Head Coach, Sean Peyton (I taped his ankles as a student athletic trainer) and SF 49er’s quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo).
BS in Physical Therapy from Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois
MHS in Physical Therapy from University of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN
PhD in Public Policy Analysis from St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO.
Hometown and family life: I’ve been married to my wife, Lisa, for 32 years. We’re from the same hometown, Taylorville, IL and grew up near each other. We have 4 kids together: a daughter, Erika who lives in the Denver area, and 3 sons, Patrick who lives in Nashville, TN, Derek, and Tony who both live in Orlando, FL.
Fun Fact: I’ve said many times that if I wasn’t a physical therapist, I would want to be a butcher/meat cutter, preferably with my own shop. I’ve always been fascinated by seeing fresh meat at a meat counter. Weird, yes! Perhaps that is what led me to have a passion for the human body and movement.
A Passion for Advocacy
Before I was a physical therapist, I began my career as an athletic trainer. My interest in athletic training and rehabilitation started in high school when a couple of coaches persuaded the school district to pay for me to attend a summer athletic training camp. There began a very fruitful journey that continues to this day.
My passion in physical therapy is the care of older adults and in advocacy to advance our profession so we can better care for those people we serve. Ageism is said to be the last acceptable form of discrimination and we see it in the provision of physical therapy on a daily basis. Too often, clinicians will reinforce stereotypes that an impairment or limitation is just “part of getting older.” Frequently, treatment options are discounted, without discussing them with a patient, just because of someone’s age. One of my favorite sayings is “Age is not a contraindication!” I try to reinforce that in my teaching and clinical practice.
I’ve served in many roles at both the Chapter and National level. My involvement began while I was in PT school attending my first CSM in 1995. My service as an appointed member of the Illinois Physical Therapy Association began in 1998 when I joined the finance committee. I’ve served as a Chapter delegate to the APTA House of Delegates 11 times, a chapter treasurer, Vice Speaker of the House of Delegates and member of the APTA Board of Directors, a member of several committees and task forces, and am currently a candidate for Speaker of the House of Delegates (running unopposed) with the election coming in June.
I have received much more in benefits from being involved that what I have contributed, that is for sure. That is one reason to be an active member. You learn so much about the profession, about yourself, being a better leader and person, and make many, many, lifelong friends that you might otherwise never know who hail from all parts of the country! Being an active member also helps advance the profession by the contributions of your experience, knowledge, and time. Advocating for expanded access to physical therapist services helps to decrease health care costs and improve lives. The APTA needs active members to share this message and pool resources to move us forward. Without the APTA and all the efforts on our behalf, our position in the health care system would be diminished.
My “Why Regis?”
I chose to come to Regis for the opportunity to be at an institution that values teaching and service and one that has a commitment to better the community. I also have great respect for several of the faculty, past and present, that I know from my work in APTA. I was confident this was a good institution based on those I know that have been, or are, here. I also was looking for a university that was a bit smaller in size compared to my previous institution, the University of Florida. I had a wonderful experience there, learned a great deal about leadership, research, and myself. I knew that long term a smaller place was better for me and was more oriented to my passions.
To My Students
Students, I advise that you try to take a big picture view of your education rather than getting bogged down in the day to day minutiae of assignments, projects, exams, group work, etc. Focus on why you wanted to be a physical therapist. Take the opportunity of the 3 years you have in PT school to EXPLORE, LEARN, and EXPERIENCE. This may be the last time in your life where you have options to examine and experience different facets of physical therapist practice. Be open minded and take a chance on new experiences. You never know how that might change your life and career trajectory. If you have some “master plan” for your life, please don’t let it stifle your opportunities. For now, be careful about looking more than 2 years down the road. Embrace change and opportunities unexpected as they will make you better and take you on unexpected journeys. Finally, and on a more practical note, invest in your 401K, IRA, or retirement plan with your first paycheck at your first employer as soon as you allowed to do so. The results of compounding interest are amazing. Invest in you. Do what you need to do to get any free money your employer will give you toward retirement.