Scott Shaffer

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Rehabilitation Sciences PhD Program

Do you remember what it was that you connected with, that let you know right away that CHS was the right place for you? 

I knew UK CHS was a special place after my initial campus visit. I met with Dr. Anne Harrison, Dr. Susan Effgen, Dr. Carl Mattacola and Dr. Arthur Nitz.  It was clear to me that it was a positive and professional culture. They valued my ideas but more importantly they asked questions about my background and family. Everyday I walked into that building was a gift and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to be a UK CHS graduate.  

Did you come to UK knowing you wanted to pursue a career in health sciences?  

I specifically came to UK CHS to pursue a degree a PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences with focus in Adult Neurological Disorders and Aging.   This was a perfect fit as I was able to share time between the neurobiology department and rehabilitation science

What is the best advice you received from a CHS faculty member? 

This is a hard questions as I received countless mentorship from multiple faculty members.  

Dr. Anne Harrison was a daily inspiration with countless mentorship sessions that shaped my professional development and life.  She challenged me to think from "the molecular to societal level" and I truly walked away from every one of our of sessions a better person and professional.     

Dr. Susan Effgen, as the Director of the Rehabilitation Science Program, did an incredible job of pairing PhD students with faculty.  I will never forget our initial meeting and her recommendation to have me meet and consider Anne as my primary faculty advisor and Chair of my committee.   

Dr. Art Nitz's work ethic, intelligence and dedication were inspiring and his most memorable quote after I graduated was "stay one step ahead of the students." 

Dr. Kitzman is an intellectual powerhouse but so humble and his advice and example on teaching neuroscience really set me on a path for success.  

Dr. Mattacola was my first instructor in the program and I found myself consistently going into his office for his expertise on balance/postural stability as well as "life balance".  One of the best and most positive human beings I know.  

Dr. Tim Uhl is brilliant and also consistently reminded all of us that "anything worth value requires hard work."  He shared this same quote with my daughter 5 years ago when she made a college visit to UK and she still talks about how powerful his advice was and we talk about this quote consistently.  

Dr.  Terry Malone was so giving of his time and expertise and although he was not on committee I consistently sought out his advice.  He was a legend when I met him but he was so approachable and supportive.   

Dr. Tony English, we were classmates and you cannot help but be positive when you spend time with Tony.  Tony defines the positive culture at UK!  

Do you have any favorite anecdotes from being a student in CHS? 

I could always count on Dr. Nitz and Dr. Malone being in the office every Saturday:) It was clear they loved what they did and it inspired you to work harder.  

What do you love about your job? 

I wake up every morning and cannot believe I am getting paid and get the opportunity to work as an educator, researcher, clinician and consultant.  Some people are lucky to have one job they love and I get the opportunity to serve others in four different roles. I also realize now of this happens without my time and experience at UK CHS. 

How do you stay inspired professionally? 

It is impossible to not stay motivated when you are surrounded by brilliant faculty/students who are committed to optimizing global healthcare.  

What do you hope now to accomplish in health care? 

Establishing community-based screening and interventions for middle to older adults with a focus on reducing fall risk and enhancing participation. 

What advice do you have for students in CHS now? 

Embrace complexity and 2) Stay true to your passion and interests.

What do you wish you would have paid more attention to as a student in regards to your work in healthcare? 

Embrace and work hard to truly understand other health care professions and take advantage of interdisciplinary collaborations.