Escalera Receives Highest Student Award from APTA of Massachusetts

December 18, 2020
Ramiro Escalera

Ramiro Escalera, a student in the MGH Institute’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program, is the 2020 recipient of the Ruth P. Hall Clinical Fellowship Award from the Massachusetts chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association. 

Escalera, who is in the Class of 2021, received the highest honor it awards each year to one physical therapy student in the state.  

“Ramiro is a student I can say without hesitation is going to be a star in our profession,” said Dr. Anne McCarthy Jacobson, an assistant professor of physical therapy, in her faculty reference letter. Noting that she has overseen Escalera working with patients who have neurological and complex medical disorders, she said, “Ramiro is such a thoughtful, insightful person, with incredible warmth and empathy when working with clients. This is balanced by an incredible thirst for knowledge and a desire to ‘figure out what else I should be doing to help this person’.”  

Working with these patients has spurred him to pursue a neurological residency after graduating in 2021. “I want to use my research to help develop ways that will lead to providing exceptional patient-centered care,” Escalera said, adding that his recent experience being a review session leader with first-year DPT students has sparked an interest in teaching. “I would love to give back and teach future DPTs,” he said. 

According to Amanda Tetreault, his clinical instructor at MGH Sports Physical Therapy, Escalera demonstrates good critical thinking skills when working with patients. “He prepares and researches beyond expectations when introduced to new concepts, treatments, and presentations within the clinic,” she said. “He has excellent manual skills and quickly adapts to cues or recommendations along the course of treatment.” 

Escalera is also a model classmate and leader, according to Emily Workman, who worked on a capstone project with him. “Ramiro demonstrates a persistent work ethic in the classroom, evident by his willing participation in class and his drive to challenge and improve his skills and abilities,” she said. “Ramiro is kind and empathetic to his classmates, and he displays qualities to his peers that are of the utmost importance for a physical therapist. His professionalism has helped challenge me to become a better student and future physical therapist.”

Recipients of the Hall award are chosen on their demonstration of the professional qualities of dedication and caring which exemplified Hall’s career, which included educational concerns, devotion to quality patient care, and high standards of ethical practice. “Ramiro is the student that Ruth would have gravitated to, taken under her wing, and counseled along the way,” said McCarthy Jacobson. “She would have seen the potential in Ramiro and his true caring for those around him and his passion for helping those in need.” 

In addition to Escalera, Dr. Julie Shulman, a 2020 graduate of the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program, received the Clinical Research Award from the organization. She is a physical therapist scientist in the Department of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Services at Boston Children’s Hospital.