Physical therapy faculty profile: Kristi Hallisy

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program educates a new cohort of 40 students per year, so at any time 120 students are matriculating through the program. Faculty and staff work in the program to educate students in the varying facets of physical therapy. Students are prepared to graduate as generalists with additional experiences in service learning, research, community service, business and education.

In the following Q&A, get to know Kristi Hallisy.

What is your current position?

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.

Can you describe your main duties?

My position involves a variety of roles blending teaching, service, clinical practice and research. In the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, I teach musculoskeletal coursework, health promotion and wellness courses and tai chi independent study/research practicums. I also teach tai chi professionally to health care providers and fitness/wellness professionals.

As the director of Mentoring for the UW Health and Meriter Hospital Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency, I wear many service hats. I serve on the curriculum and steering committees and mentor the clinical decision-making skills among our residency mentors and residents. Clinically, I practice at as an orthopedic specialist at University Health Services. My present research involves the use of tai chi as a community-based exercise program for falls prevention among community-dwelling older adults. Our interprofessional research team is working to disseminate our evidence-based tai chi program to promote healthy aging in Wisconsin and beyond.

When did you join SMPH?

I started working for the Physical Therapy Program in the fall of 1997 when it was still a baccalaureate degree program. I worked on the curriculum committee for years and have seen the program go through many changes from BS-PT to Master’s of Physical Therapy (1999-2008), to our current DPT Program.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love the diversity of teaching and service activities I can be involved with in the School of Medicine and Public Health. Interacting with intelligent, motivated students maintains my professional energy and challenges me to maintain a breadth of clinical and practice environment knowledge. My clinical practice and research grounds me to the roots of my professional career – caring for people with movement challenges and promoting individual and community wellness in any way possible.

Can you give us an example of your typical work day?

Since variety is the spice of life, I am very happy that every workday is a bit different. Teaching is 55 percent of my workload and it is balance over the week by scholarly activity and professional service (30 percent), clinical practice (10 percent) and direct service to the DPT program (5 percent).

Where are you from?

I am Wisconsin born and bred and grew in the northwoods (Antigo). I played basketball for the Badgers (1979-1983), so I figuratively (and literally) have bled Wisconsin red. I live by the alumni adage “once a Badger, always a Badger,” except on Sundays when my black lab Packer and I sport our green and gold.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?

I love any outdoor activity (walking, hiking, biking, birding, boating, etc.). I like to explore strategies that bring the miracle of mindfulness into daily life (tai chi, yoga, reading and discussing books on spirituality). While I am a self-confessed sports enthusiast, I relish the arts, music and theater and am grateful for Madison’s many gifts.