Get to Know Our Grads- Ryan MacNeillNov 19, 2020
Ryan MacNeill was born and raised in Helena, Montana. After initially beginning his undergraduate degree in Journalism at the University of Montana in Missoula, MT, MacNeill started exploring physical therapy when he switched his major to Exercise Science.
Having developed an interest in exercise and weightlifting in his later years of high school, MacNeill found himself regularly watching YouTube videos and reading blogs to learn more about exercises and movements to train specific muscle groups. “I began to learn anatomy and physiology through my coursework which only increased my interest in the exercises I performed,” he said. “Through developing this passion for human movement and my desire to pursue a career where I worked with people to solve problems, physical therapy seemed like an excellent path.”
When the time came for MacNeill to select a school for his Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree, he was drawn to CU’s interdisciplinary campus and the emphasis that CU PT places on high quality education as well as the importance of life balance for student success.
MacNeill was a part of the leadership team for the manual therapy student interest group. The group would meet for skills-practicing and invite experts in orthopedic manual physical therapy to share their knowledge and experience with students. “I have gained some excellent mentors and colleagues in both the program faculty and some amazing clinical instructors,” he commented.
Adjusting to virtual learning and guidelines related to COVID-19 was certainly difficult rounding out the curriculum. “At the end of the day, I was just happy that our faculty and the university were able to keep our curriculum and graduation on track,” noted MacNeill. “It was undoubtedly a challenging task for our educators to accomplish and I applaud them for their excellent work in uncertain times.”
“During my time at CU, I have received a top-notch education while making amazing personal and professional relationships and some wonderful memories,” said MacNeill. “To anyone who wants to become a part of a wonderful community and move the field of physical therapy forward, I recommend CU PT.”
MacNeill has been recognized as the recipient of the Richard D. Krugman Award by his peers. Richard D. Krugman, MD, served as Dean of the University of Colorado School of Medicine for 24 years. Fondly known as the “Dean of deans” across the nation, Dr. Krugman established this award to honor an individual who portrays the spirit of service to individuals and the community, fostering caring and quality of life for people at all levels of society. This individual is compassionate toward others, creates connections and values ongoing innovation. The recipient of this award mirrors Dr. Krugman’s leadership through excellence, integrity and high quality work.
In his nomination, MacNeill’s tremendous passion and positive attitude not only towards the physical therapy profession, but to every other aspect of life that he engages in was recognized. “He sheds light on situations and topics in desperate need of attention and is willing to openly have real, and sometimes uncomfortable, discussions about them because he understands the importance,” noted a classmate. It was noted that MacNeill raises the bar academically with authentic interest and continuous engagement throughout the DPT education.
“Ryan is a tremendous ambassador and leader for our program, the profession, and healthcare as a whole,” said a colleague, “but most importantly, he is an exceptional human being that remains humble, practical, and ambitious for more.”
Despite the adaptations needed for physical therapists across the country, the future of the profession remains bright with new opportunities. MacNeill added that delivering physical therapy services in a telehealth or remote-format is only going to continue to grow and adapt. “We will occupy the health & wellness and preventative healthcare space more as our healthcare system becomes more proactive in nature,” he said. “One of our largest roles as physical therapists is to address the growing epidemic of chronic diseases and pain.”
Following graduation, MacNeill plans on becoming a board-certified orthopedic specialist and have a special interest in treating conditions within the craniofacial and cervical regions including headache disorders and temporomandibular disorders.
“What the future holds remains uncertain,” said MacNeill. “However, I know that CU Anschutz and CU PT has given me the skills and experience to succeed anywhere!”