SHP Alumna Recognized for Achievement in Physical Therapy

For University of Missouri School of Health Profession alumna Mary Sheid, physical therapy is about more than providing excellent patient care, but about being a leader. In her involvement in the profession and the community, Sheid strives to continue to advance the field.

Recently, Sheid received the McKenzie Institute International Extension Award for outstanding service to the profession of physical therapy. The annual award nicknamed the “Bronze Lady” is awarded to an individual who has made contribution to education or research.  Sheid is the 11th American of the 30 recipients to receive the annual award.

The McKenzie Method is a consistent method of manual care for musculoskeletal disorders for the spine and extremities. Sheid owns two physical therapy practices based on the McKenzie Method, in West Plains and Mountain Grove, Missouri.

In addition to thriving practices that allow her to pursue both clinical and business excellence, Sheid is active in the PT industry. She is involved with the American Physical Therapy Association and has served on the Physical Therapy Commision for the Board of Healing Arts. Sheid has also won the Missouri Physical Therapy Association Service to Profession Award.

Currently, Sheid is Chair of Fundraising for the International Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT) Research Foundation. Since 2008, she has helped raise half a million dollars to fund MDT research.

“In physical therapy it is really important to have evidence based outcomes,” Sheid said.  She said funding researching is important for the future of health professions.

Sheid received her undergraduate degree in biology and psychology witha minor in chemistry from Drury University before coming to MU to receive her professional degree.

When she graduated from MU she went to Ozark Medical Center in West Plains to practice as a full-time therapist and to develop the Physical Therapy department and related services, such as home health PT and nursing home contracts. Then in 1990, she opened her own physical therapy practice, and Sheid said peers and faculty from SHP were always very supportive and were a great resource.  “I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” Sheid said. “I was able to pick up the phone and they would help.”

MU did more than provide networking opportunities but provided the tools for Sheid to foster one of her biggest passions.  “Mizzou gave us leadership skills in addition to clinical skills,” Sheid said. “People are more confident to step out on their own if they have a support system.”

When Sheid first started in the field she said she was the only physical therapist in a ten county area. Now, there are 30-40 physical therapists. Sheid believes this increased visibility is vital to the growth and advancement of the profession. Now, Sheid is hoping to inspire future leaders in the field. “Women need to be in leadership roles in physical therapy – both in education and in practice,” Sheid said. “The more strong women that take on leadership, the easier it is for the next one to go through the door.” Sheid is passing on her experience even beyond her practice by teaching classes on risk management, compliance and private practice at Missouri State University.

Sheid involvement with her profession has taken her internationally to Copenhagen, Germany, Canada, Turkey, Africa and Jamaica. She has held positions on the Missouri State University Board of Governors and on the MSU Foundation executive board.

Despite the volume of involvement and achievements, Sheid is still going strong.Currently she is working closely with high schools near West Plains on health and wellness projects in the community.