There are some real giants in the field of oncology rehab – there’s probably a few that just popped into your head. It can be really hard to imagine how we’re going to get there, with all their expertise & knowledge. But they had to start somewhere once upon a time.
Friend of the podcast, Shai Sewell, stopped by today’s episode to discuss how he navigated oncology rehab as a student, is educating fellow students & peers, & changing the world as a new professional. He provides great strategies to become the oncology professional you want to be, no matter the stage you’re in right now!
Shai’s interest in oncology rehabilitation began prior to starting physical therapy school, when his mom was was diagnosed with cancer. Seeing the effects of exercise not only on her physical health, but mental well-being drove Shai to explore the benefits that rehabilitation and exercise can have throughout the cancer care continuum.
While studying at the University of Miami to obtain his Doctorate in Physical Therapy, he was fortunate to intern at the University of Florida, Shands Medical Plaza where he assessed and treated breast, and head and neck cancer patients undergoing a multitude of cancer treatment related sequela. After graduating from PT school in 2018, Shai began his career at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami where he worked with the hematological oncological population undergoing stem cell transplants. With experience in this setting, his love for cancer rehabilitation only further grew.
During this time, he began a Special Interest Group for University of Miami students to help highlight the importance of cancer rehabilitation, and to spark curiosity in an ever-growing field. He has also been active in the Academy of Oncologic Physical Therapy, where he hopes to educate students, clinicians, and physical therapy schools across the country on the importance of cancer rehabilitation. Shai has recently moved to the University of Florida, Shands Cancer Center where he continues to work in the bone marrow transplant unit and with hematological malignancies during inpatient chemotherapy. With his passion for raising awareness to new therapists and improving access to care for those diagnosed with cancer, Shai hopes to create a field where empowerment takes reign over a life-changing diagnosis.
During his free time, he likes to bike, run, hike, camp, explore what the great outdoors has to offer, cooking, throw clay on the potter’s wheel, and transform his van Zooba into an adventure-mobile.