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FPTA Member Spotlight: Elizabeth DeMarse

Where do you practice?

I worked at Moffitt Cancer Center (mostly OP with some IP here and there) for 15yr and just recently (January) transitioned to full time faculty (assistant professor) and ADCE at Nova Southeastern University Tampa Bay Campus. I do indep contracting with Aspire Pain Institute OP PT Clinic and my own entity Body Rehab LLC. Tell us a bit about your practice (your patients, your focus areas, etc). My practice has focused on all Oncologic related pathologies and general spine/core related pathology. I’m a certified manual therapist through the University of St. Augustine and completed my tDPT through U.S.A. with a Manual Therapy focus.

What led you to become a physical therapist?

My journey to becoming a PT began with pursuing a Dance Major where I was introduced to dance therapy for autistic children and Pilates; both a therapeutic approach to movement. I also played soccer at Towson University and through my own injuries, which ended my participation on the team, I learned the value of recovery. With this I gained a profound appreciation for helping people feel better with prescribed movement and incorporating daily healthy physical activity habits/postures which motivated me to pursue physical therapy.

After completing my Master’s degree at FGCU I began working at Moffitt Cancer Center because of my family’s experience with Moffitt as patients. I had no idea what PT’s could do for cancer patients at that time. Soon after learning about radiation fibrosis, and with my desire to help my patients improve, I pursued the tDPT at U.S.A with a Manual therapy focus (very useful in treating radiation fibrosis!). I also realized the lack of oncology related PT practice information available and immersed myself in everything I could do to help my patients, as well as help the Oncology Specialization come to fruition (case reviewer, Item Writer and now Onc Specialty Council IRC Assistant). I became certified with the inaugural cohort in 2019.

I’ve always loved teaching and became an APTA Certified C.I. (I think in 2012) while at Moffitt Cancer Center. I consistently utilized the 2:1 student/CI Clinical Experience to facilitate exposure of SPT’s to the oncology population and feed my desire to teach. Additionally, I was a lab instructor for 9yr at NSU Tampa Bay Campus with the intention of someday becoming full time faculty at a University.

What’s your favorite thing about being a PT?

Everything I have previously listed regarding my PT journey is my favorite thing about being a PT. The profession is not only extremely rewarding to help people feel, move and live better but also the multiple opportunities/avenues the PT profession provides. There are so many dimensions to this profession and possibilities to serve many different interests/endeavors making it an exciting evolutionary career.


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