Action Physical Therapy | Meet The Staff
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Meet The Staff

You Deserve The Best

We make sure our employees have the qualifications and skills needed to provide you with the highest level of treatment and care. Each year, we invest in the education of our staff to ensure that they have the latest knowledge and training available. Our strong team spirit and personal attention to every person’s needs is why doctors choose us, and patients recommend us.

The Action Physical Therapy team is trained in many areas, including:

Orthopedic Manual Therapy

Balance and Fall Prevention Program

Women's Health Physical Therapy

Maitland Method/Maitland Australian Approach

McKenzie Method

Meet The Staff

Paul Berman

General Manager

Paul is the co-founder of Action Physical Therapy. He is in charge of strategic planning, overseeing the operations of the facility, managing staff, external relationships, technology, and marketing programs. Paul has extensive experience in information technology and organizational management in the health care industry. He has a BS degree in Engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York University.

Alina Fish PT

Clinical Director

Alina is the co-founder of Action Physical Therapy with over 20 years of clinical experience specializing in orthopaedics, manual therapy, and pelvic floor rehabilitation. She has completed advanced coursework in Maitland manual physical therapy techniques for the spine and extremities along with many other manual therapy courses. She has received specialized training in the treatment of bladder dysfunction and pelvic pain issues from Herman and Wallace pelvic rehabilitation Institute. Always passionate about her work, she goes above and beyond to see her patients succeed.

Alina is in charge of community education programs, and teaching classes on various topics including women’s health and musculoskeletal issues. She is also a member of the American Physical Therapy Association.

In her spare time Alina enjoys photography and interior design.

 

Why I became a PT:

I was raised by my great grandma Dina who lived with us. Both of my parents worked and Dina was the one who gave me all her love and attention and was the closest person to me during my childhood years. In essence she was like a mother to me.
Her whole life was dedicated to our family. Dina only had a high school education but loved to read anything she could get her hands on. She read stories to me before bedtime and I loved them as much as the sound of her voice. 
Always very active and generally healthy, when Dina turned 84, all her joints got affected by arthritis and she became bedridden. She could no longer walk or even get up by herself. There were no walkers, wheelchairs or commodes back then. I remember how my mom and I were trying to get her to the bathroom… My mom would hold Dina and I would move her legs. She would scream with every step because it was so painful!
She went to see a doctor. After carefully examining her he said: “I am sorry, but unfortunately, you will never walk again”.
He was probably not a bad doctor, but he did not know my great grandmother, her will power and her determination. She did not have a college degree, but she was a reader. Dina read an article in the newspaper on the benefits of an exercise program for people of all ages and decided to do it on her own. She made up a list of exercises for each joint and went to work.
First lying in bed, 10 times each exercise, then 20, then 30… all the way up to 100 times each joint. Then she did them sitting, then standing. Soon Dina was able to walk again!
Not only that, she was doing all the house chores and more. Dina was back! She lived to be 99 years old and she continued doing those exercises every single day. No canes, no walkers.
That got me thinking. I was very athletic and did all kinds of sports including fencing, gymnastics and track and field. I also loved medicine. I somehow knew that medicine would be my path from the time I was in the middle school. I just combined the three, my love for sports, my love for medicine and my grandmother’s story. The rest is history.
That is why I do what I do and  love doing it every single day!

Erin Connelly

DPT

Erin Connelly was born and raised in Bryn Athyn, PA where she attended the Academy of the New Church Girls School. Throughout her life she participated in many athletic events such as gymnastics, dance, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and spring board diving which inspired her to further her education in the health and athletic industry. In 2011 she completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise & Sport Science from Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina. After graduation she worked in a physical therapy outpatient clinic as a physical therapist aide and receptionist where she found her true passion in life was to become a physical therapist with a specialty in manual therapy. Manual therapy inspired her because she found that the techniques gave positive healing results to patients while offering quality and individual healthcare. In 2012 she moved to Saint Augustine, FL where she completed her degree as a Doctor of Physical Therapy with a specialty in manual physical therapy in 2014. Erin has now Manual Therapy Certified specializing in manual techniques for the sub-cranial/cervical spine, thoraco-lumbar spine, sacro-iliac joint, extremities, and myofascial mobilization of the entire body. Outside of work her time is well spent with fitness/athletics, running with her rescued black lab, and cooking with her husband.

 

Why I became a PT:

 

When I look back on the development of my career, I realize that it was by chance that I ended up in physical therapy. Growing up I was involved in athletics daily. From gymnastics to soccer, you name it, I was involved. While running down the stairs to get to my first job as a dishwasher in high school, I tripped down the stairs causing a horrible sprain in my right ankle. After getting cleared at the hospital with an ankle fracture, I was sent back to school and sports but noticed that my leg was holding me back in soccer.

I spent many hours in the training room at school with an athletic trainer. She taught me exercises which improved my ankle enough for me to return to soccer with only mild limitations.

Not having the best of luck, I ended up with another injury the following year. I was kicked in the leg below my knee in a soccer game. Waking up the next day with my leg feeling a little strange, I thought nothing of it and went to school and continued my after-school activities as usual. After beginning our warm up in soccer practice, I began to fall on the field and trip over my own leg. The trainer did not know how to help me, and I was referred to my primary doctor. Being diagnosed with drop foot and given instruction to rest was not the answer I thought I would get. As an active child, resting was a horrible punishment- like feeling. Was there really nothing more I could have done for this injury?

When the time came for me to choose a career in college my thoughts fell short of options. Should I attempt to please my father, a self-made woodworker, and go into business or nursing? Or should I follow what I knew I was interested in? The only thing I was sure I was interested in was athletics, and I had turned down the opportunity to play lacrosse in college to go to a college I knew nothing about. Because I changed my major five times in the first year, my college advisor knew I was lost in the direction of career choice. After a long discussion with him, he sent me over to the head of the exercise and sport science department on campus. I was set up in summer classes because I fell behind to graduate in 4 years with my indecisive career path.

Taking biomechanics and exercise physiology that summer started me in the right direction. But, in a blink of an eye, I was in my last semester of college feeling I did not have a career set out for me.

Procrastinating on selecting my internship may have been the best thing that happened to me. The last place on the list of internship sites had a spot open for me. Atlantic Physical Therapy accepted my 350-hour observational internship at a satellite outpatient physical therapy office in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

I became fascinated with the various types of conditions and injuries that physical therapists could treat; strokes, ACL repair, amputations, cerebral palsy, ankle sprains, and even drop foot! It was wonderful to finally be introduced to a career that I could personally relate to

At the end of this internship my onsite teacher questioned me about my future. He saw both my passion for the career and lack of direction on how to achieve this goal. He hired me after graduation and taught me to be a physical therapy aide and receptionist for the clinic.

Later, he introduced me to a school, University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in St. Augustine, Florida which offered a spot in a physical therapy program beginning in August 2012. Graduating with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in a little over two years, I finally found my passion as a physical therapist.

Dan Vizak

DPT

Dan grew up in Huntingdon Valley and went to Abington High School. Dan graduated from Chestnut Hill College with his B.S. in Biology and has been practicing physical therapy since getting his doctorate in Physical Therapy from Arcadia University in 2011. He experienced in treating patients with all conditions with a particular interest in orthopedics and vestibular rehab. Dan enjoys taking courses to learn new techniques such as IASTM (instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization) and myofascial decompression (cupping) to help his patients achieve their goals, whatever they may be.
When Dan is not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife and son. Dan is also a big sports fan and loves all four Philadelphia teams.

Olga Derbis

Receptionist

Olga has been with the Action Physical Therapy team for several years, and is in charge of our front desk. She is an experienced medical receptionist, is very well organized and detail-oriented. Patients and staff love Olga for her welcoming smile, willingness to help, her patience and ability to multitask and handle competing priorities.