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Therapists attain doctorates; additional occupational and physical therapists welcomed


Therapists attain doctorates; additional occupational and physical therapists welcomed

SYLVA AND BRYSON CITY – Therapists Kim Clayton and Thomas Burns recently obtained the Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) which is the highest level of degree available in the physical therapy field. Clayton and Burns serve patients in the rehabilitation services department of Harris Regional Hospital. Melissa Hodges, an occupational therapist, recently joined the rehabilitation services staff at Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital and Lauren Parker Sides, a physical therapist, joined the staff at Harris Regional Hospital.

Burns is board certified in orthopedics by the American Physical Therapy Association. He graduated from the University of Georgia, received his Master of Physical Therapy from Western Carolina University and his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Montana.  In addition to treating a wide variety of patients, Burns works with runners of all levels and has an interest in orthopedic manual therapy.  He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, has extensive experience with running, cycling and mountain biking and is a certified cycling coach with USA Cycling.  Burns is also a credentialed clinical instructor with WCU’s Physical Therapy and Athletic Training Programs.  Burns, his wife Jamie and their son live in Bryson City.

Clayton is certified in the neuro-developmental approach to treating individuals with central nervous system pathophysiology and has an interest in treating patients who have had a stroke.  She graduated from Duke University and received her Master of Physical Therapy from WCU and her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Shenandoah University in Virginia. After completing her undergraduate education she taught English as a second language with the JET Programme in Okinawa, Japan for three years.    Kim enjoys traveling, swimming and participating in sprint triathlons.  Kim lives in Cullowhee with her two dogs. 

“Thomas and Kim are dedicated to their patients and their practice. Their attainment of the doctorate-level degree in physical therapy demonstrates their commitment to providing the highest level of care to patients,” said Carlyle Schomberg, director of rehabilitation services and sports medicine.

Melissa Hodges holds a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy and Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Services from East Carolina University. Previously, she worked in Greenville, NC in an outpatient setting with adults suffering from neurological disorders. Hodges worked in an acute care setting with Pitt County Memorial Hospital and did her field work there in acute orthopedics and the Traumatic Brain Injury Unit. She also has her scuba diving license and has been taking yearly diving trips with her Dad for the past 15 years.

Hodges sees patients Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Swain County Hospital and Tuesdays and Thursdays at Harris Regional Hospital.

“Melissa has unique training experience and we are pleased to welcome her to our Harris and Swain campuses, serving patients from around the region,” Schomberg said.

Lauren Parker Sides earned her Master of Physical Therapy degree from Western Carolina University and her Bachelor of Science degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has worked in the outpatient physical therapy setting for several years and treats a wide variety of patients. Lauren enjoys outdoor activities and lives with her husband in Sylva.

"I am very excited that Lauren has joined our staff at Harris Regional Hospital. In addition to bringing a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm, Lauren desires to impact her community in a positive way," Schomberg said.

Comprehensive rehabilitation and sports medicine services are provided at the Harris, Swain and Franklin campuses and include physical, occupational and speech therapy as well as athletic training and sports medicine game coverage at Western Carolina University and the local high schools.





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