Dr. Olkowski ’99, ’02DPT Receives Inaugural Clinical Education Award

By Caitlin Burns | January 13, 2021

The Arcadia University College of Health Sciences is proud to announce that alumnus Dr. Brian Olkowski ’99, ’02DPT is the inaugural recipient of the Physical Therapy Department’s Clinical Education Award. 

Dr. Olkowski completed both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Arcadia University, and now works for Capital Health in Pennington, N.J. as manager of the Department of Rehabilitation and the Site Coordinator of Clinical Education.

“It’s a huge honor to receive this award,” said Dr. Olkowski. “There are so many great clinical instructors and program coordinators at the different health systems in the region who work with Arcadia, and it’s humbling that they feel I deserve this award.”

The Clinical Education Award is designated to recognize an individual who exhibits commitment to the physical therapy profession and to Arcadia University through their contributions to clinical education by upholding high standards for patient care, while also demonstrating the flexibility and compassion required of a mentor. 

Dr. Olkowski was among the first cohort to graduate from Arcadia’s DPT program, which had launched due to demands in the field for more advanced degrees beyond the University’s master-level program. Dr. Olkowski noted that the DPT program’s focus on the whole patient was a very unique and integrated model that attracted him to the University and helped shape his successful career. 

After nearly 20 years in the field, Dr. Olkowski said his advice to upcoming physical therapists is to always keep an open mind about the different pathways of physical therapy. Dr. Olkowski recounted how he originally wanted to work in outpatient and sports therapy when he entered the program in 2000, but found that he fell in love working at a hospital during the clinical rotations. 

“You never know what you’re going to find out there,” said Dr. Olkowski. “I fell in love with working in a hospital, and after that I never wanted to work in outpatient again.”

Dr. Olkowski also recommends staying involved with clinical education after graduation. While he taught in Arcadia’s Department of Physical Therapy as an adjunct professor and lab instructor previously, he also finds being hands-on with the clinical education program at his workplace inspiring. Whether graduates are working in outpatient settings, hospitals, or in other physical therapy fields, Dr. Olkowski encourages them to get involved with educating the next generation of physical therapists. 

“I’m just so passionate about educating not only physical therapy students but clinicians,” said Dr. Olkowski. “It’s very satisfying seeing students who you train working with patients and actually improving their quality of life. It’s satisfying to know that you can do that yourself, but you can also teach somebody how to do that.” 

Dr. Olkowski was recognized for his award in November during a virtual celebration with faculty, staff, students, and alumni from the Department of Physical Therapy.