Meet Laurel Proulx, PT, DPT, Ph.D., OCS
Dr. Laurel Proulx first received her B.S. in Kinesiology from the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk!) in 2009. She then attended Regis University, where she was awarded her DPT in 2013. Most recently, she has successfully defended her dissertation and achieved her Ph.D. at Texas Woman’s University in 2021. Laurel then returned to Regis University prior to the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, this time, as an assistant professor in the Rueckert-Hartman College of Health Profession. Laurel, in her first semester of teaching, was tasked with coordinating DPT 703 Biomechanics and Kinesiology of the Extremities – a hefty course for a first-time professor. Laurel credits her tremendous support from other faculty members in her success in her first semester of teaching. Laurel also mentioned that she had a good relationship with the previous course coordinator, whom although no longer a Regis faculty member was more than willing to help support Laurel in many ways.
Laurel had not yet completed her Ph.D. program when she became Regis faculty and when she was teaching her first course, so you can imagine just how busy she was juggling everything on her plate. She successfully completed her physical therapy Ph.D. program in the fall of 2021. Currently, she is a faculty member in a supporting role in a few DPT courses in the Spring 2022 semester and is teaching biomechanics for undergraduate students at Regis University. Since she no longer has schoolwork of her own, Laurel has gotten some of her free time back. She has been making an effort to expand her network and integrate herself into her new community in Colorado Springs. She has recently begun working in her own private practice at a crossfit gym and is supporting the trainers that are a part of the BirthFit program which is aimed towards helping new or expecting mothers regain or maintain their pelvic floor function and control while exercising at the gym.
In her years practicing physical therapy, Dr. Proulx has taken what may seem like an unconventional path. Fresh out of DPT school, Laurel stuck with a very traditional route, outpatient orthopedics where she worked with mainly athletes. She still had an interest in pelvic health at that time. While she was working as a very hands on PT in the orthopedic clinic, Laurel started to notice her own health decline. She had to take a step back from her passion to focus on her health. During this time, she went into working in full-time research, which she ended up really enjoying. Her boss and mentor at that position was very supportive of her interest in pelvic health research, which led her to her decision to obtain her Ph.D. Her Ph.D. focused on identifying and quantifying musculoskeletal impairments in individuals with pelvic pain. She takes a high interest in connecting orthopedic physical therapy with pelvic health because orthopedic physical therapists can still significantly help patients with pelvic pain without specializing in it.
Her passion for pelvic health stemmed from learning about pelvic dysfunction during a course at Regis University. She took an elective course in pelvic health to gain a more in depth understanding of the material. She then went to Ethiopia through the global health pathway opportunity. In Ethiopia, she visited a fistula clinic where she was able to appreciate just how detrimental pelvic floor dysfunction can be to the individual. Laurel noticed how pelvic dysfunction can be ostracizing to the patient and by treating patients with pelvic dysfunction, we can help the individual rejoin society and gain back some normalcy.
As far as what Laurel likes to do for fun, she and her husband were avid travelers prior to March 2020. She has come back to Colorado with a goal to get more comfortable while skiing (aren’t we all?). When they feel safe enough to travel outside of the United States, Laurel and her husband are set on some breathtaking destinations: Ireland, Scotland, and Greece. If you are a Game of Thrones fan, then you might be a bit jealous to hear that Laurel has actually visited many of the sets in Croatia where Game of Thrones was filmed. She said that Croatia was one of her favorite places to visit, so make sure to add that to your bucket list. Other than that, Laurel enjoys working out in her home gym, exploring and adventuring around Colorado for weekend trips, and trying all of the food wherever she goes. She is happy to be back in Colorado. She loves teaching and she loves getting to see the students growing and envisioning where they might end up practicing in the future. If she had one piece of advice to give to the DPT students, it is to really practice the inter-professional skills and listen to feedback. She says that she wishes she had taken the opportunity to get the feedback from the experienced faculty to make the most out of her education.