July 27 – HARLINGEN – Phillip Parker saw so many injuries while working for the fire brigade that he began to wonder how they were going to recover.
That’s why Parker, 31, will soon begin helping people regain their physical and professional health as CEO and Clinical Director of Omni Rehab LLC.
“We’re gearing up to open in September,” said Parker, who worked with the Harlingen Fire Department for about five years before moving to the Dallas-Fort Worth area for grad school.
Parker spent his early years in Harlingen before moving with his family to the town of Glen Rose south of Dallas when he was in eighth grade. He still has family in Harlingen and moved back here after graduating from high school.
“I worked for the Harlingen Fire Department while I was completing my undergraduate degree at UTPA (University of Texas Pan-American),” he said. “I left the fire service to complete my higher education. It was, I believe, in 2017 when I left.”
He earned his Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy at Texas Women’s University in Denton, while recalling his experience with the fire department.
“I was in the Harlingen fire department where there are first responders, so we get a lot of medical calls,” he said. “There is a high prevalence of strokes in Harlingen and throughout the valley, so I started fielding a lot of stroke calls.”
The high incidence of strokes showed him how dramatically it can affect the patient, which piqued his interest in therapy and recovery.
“I started thinking, ‘How are they recovering, what’s it like?'” he recalls.
He contacted a friend who was a nurse practitioner at Valley Baptist Medical Center and arranged to begin shadowing the activities of the rehabilitation program. He eventually realized he wanted to work in therapy, but couldn’t decide whether to pursue physical therapy or occupational therapy—so he applied to both—and was accepted into both.
So what did he decide?
“What made me lean towards occupational therapy was the focus on neurological impairments, which interests me, and also the focus on the upper limbs, which interests me a bit more “, did he declare. “That’s why I ended up choosing this specific route.”
He has been practicing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for a few years and also does research with the University of North Texas on biomedical engineering for rehabilitation equipment. He gained an understanding of new equipment, new treatments and modalities available to people in occupational therapy.
Just one problem.
“Much of this equipment and technology has yet to reach the valley,” he said. “It was always a plan to come back, and it was just a matter of when I was going to come back. Just seeing that need kind of made me start developing the concept of Omni. It’s been about a year in the works.”