The American Health Council has cordially appointed Ms. Karen Gartner as “Best in Medicine.” With an impressive background in Physical Therapy, Ms. Gartner has dedicated an incredible 44 years to her field, displaying particular expertise in pediatrics, orthotics, seating, mobility and assistive technology.
Ms. Gartner first became interested in her profession due to her own personal experiences. Overcoming Polio and the physical challenges she faced as a result of the illness, alongside her upbringing, inspired her to become a physical therapist.
Ms. Gartner’s route into physical therapy began with the completion of her BS-PT at Northeastern University, graduating in 1975. Throughout her career, Ms. Gartner has continued to pursue further education and training to become a Board Certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist, now emeritus, and as an Assistive Technology Professional through RESNA. She also holds a Neurodevelopmental Treatment Certification and is Certified in Total Motion Release, Tots and Teens.
Having served for over four decades as a physical therapist, Ms. Gartner is semi-retired and currently serves primarily as a mentor and consultant in her field. She has had the opportunity to work with VT Dept of Health Children with Special Health Needs Clinics and continues to fulfil a role offering guidance and assistance to families navigating the healthcare processes. Ms. Gartner is keen to build a role in education, which would enable her to provide mentorship and consultations with other therapists.
Throughout her many professional accolades, Ms. Gartner is proud of her Pediatric Clinical Speciality. She has undertaken various advanced training in order to advance her knowledge in specialized treatment approaches including; assistive technology evaluation and training, serial casting and orthotics for children and evaluation for the provision of seating, mobility and other positioning equipment.
Looking back at her impressive career, Ms. Gartner attributes her success to her drive and the progression she has found from seeking the most advanced learning opportunities available to her, alongside her desire to continue learning. As a valued team member, she acknowledges the importance of communication and enjoys sharing the wealth of experience she has gained from working with children, ages ranging from birth to adult, and amongst various settings including; home, schools, outpatient clinics, rehab unit, and specialty clinics. She also believes her unique perspective, thanks to her life experiences following Polio, has enabled her to help others and has led to her continued success.
On a personal level, Ms. Gartner has strived to build an active presence in her community, having served on the Board of Directors for many community organizations including; the Rutland City Board of School Commissioners, which she was elected in the same position for three terms. She also had involvement with the Rutland Community Programs, Rutland County Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Rutland Ishidoriya Student Exchange Program (sister City Exchange) Vermont Girl Scout Council as a board member and troop leader, Vermont Morgan Horse Association, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) Empire Region Board and Disabilities Council.
Ms. Gartner also gives back to her community as an active leader at all levels in her local synagogue. Supporting a variety of community, national, international and religious organizations, Ms. Gartner is open to helping any causes which support the health and welfare of youth, or the advancement of medicine and education.
In a continuous effort to broaden her knowledge, Ms. Gartner maintains membership with several professional associations including; the American Physical Therapy Association, the Vermont Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association and the Neurodevelopmental Treatment Association. She was also the VT State Representative for the Academy of Pediatric Therapists from 2000-2006.
Looking to the future, Ms. Gartner plans to maintain her license and certifications, as possible, aspiring to continue consulting and mentoring physical therapists, whilst supporting the development of their skills. Ms. Gartner has recently become a founding member of an international online mentorship community of Pediatric Therapists and hopes to remain involved with the community, placing a focus on education, in particular decreasing the pervasiveness of preventable conditions in children, such as positional deformities and motor delays.
In her time outside of work, Ms. Gartner enjoys singing in choral groups, reading and dedicates her time to being highly involved as a lay leader with her local synagogue.. She also loves to spend time with her family and is especially fond of her role as grandma.