Liana Johnson

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Sammamish, WA

Undergraduate experience:

Bachelor of Science in Public Health-Global Health, University of Washington

I began to understand the need for public health-educated individuals in all disciplines, including healthcare, if we are to address the complex health problems that our communities face. ”

Liana Johnson
Physical Therapy Program, College of Health Sciences, Glendale, Class of 2024

What inspired you to pursue a healthcare career? 

My interest in healthcare started at a young age when an immediate family member of mine was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I observed firsthand their treatment and recovery and witnessed the profound impacts that healthcare providers can have on people's lives as well as the potential for them to forge trustworthy relationships with patients during their most vulnerable times.

What later confirmed this decision was my time at the University of Washington studying public health and global health. This education instilled in me the desire to work in a sector where I can raise issues, confront presumptions, and look for solutions to advance the health and welfare of my community. Later, I had an opportunity to study in London and looked at the historical and contemporary factors affecting the health of racial and ethnic minorities in Britain and the implications for the United States. I observed how the socioeconomic determinants of health impact both current and historical health issues in the United States and around the world throughout this experience. I began to understand the need for public health-educated individuals in all disciplines, including healthcare, if we are to address the complex health problems that our communities face; and I wanted to be one of them.

How did your background and history factor into your career choice?

During my time at the University of Washington, I played on the Women’s Club Rugby team. At the end of my senior year, I suffered a shoulder injury and was unable to continue playing. To stay involved, I mentored players who were new to the sport. Rugby can become dangerous when proper technique is omitted, so it’s important for mentors to break down movements to teach proper form. I truly enjoyed this mentorship and guiding others through personal development, and I wanted a career that thrives on these ideals.

My initial exposure to and interest in physical therapy, like many others, came from my experience as a patient, but it was later reaffirmed while working and shadowing in this area. These personal development ideals that I was striving for were present in physical therapy. I liked how physical therapy focuses on developing relationships of trust with patients in order to offer continued care and support throughout recovery. This profession empathizes with the patient experience and addresses obstacles that may prevent patients from achieving their goals. I observed that physical therapy thrives on empathy, trust, and a willingness to listen. These encounters strengthened my desire to work in this profession and inspired me to seek graduate school.

Why did you decide to attend Midwestern University?

My decision to attend Midwestern was largely influenced by my experience during the interview process. I initially applied to Midwestern’s Physical Therapy program as I was interested in the extensive curriculum and quarter system. However, after my first day of interviews, I had an entirely new perspective on why Midwestern University was the right school for me. An initially daunting experience ended up being incredibly delightful! The program's staff, students, and faculty members' enthusiasm and genuine sincerity in understanding me as a person astounded me. It was apparent that Midwestern fosters a welcoming atmosphere and environment, and this has held true through my first year.

I also admired Midwestern's holistic admissions procedures, and I firmly believe that this is what sets its graduates apart as healthcare professionals. I observed that Midwestern is not only cultivating trained healthcare professionals but is also striving to produce kind, caring, and thoughtful people in our communities. My favorite aspects of the curriculum and culture are the significant efforts made to incorporate cultural competency, trauma-informed care, and evidence-based practice into our education. I was also enticed by the interprofessional collaborations and communication skills students could develop working with other programs.

What about a Midwestern University education do you want to carry forward in your career?

I would like to bring with me my capacity to deliver holistic treatment that is culturally competent from my education at Midwestern University. Additionally, I would like to keep taking part in and learning from interprofessional collaborative practice at all stages of healthcare.

Liana Johnson

Liana Johnson is a Class of 2025 student in the Physical Therapy Program at the College of Health Sciences on the Glendale Campus.