The Building Blocks to Reach Meaningful Goals
Shepherd Pathways physical therapist Chris Dela Cruz, PT, DPT, NCS, enjoys helping clients get back to activities that are important to them.
Q: How long have you worked at Shepherd Center?
Q: How did you know you wanted to be a physical therapist?
I knew I wanted to go into healthcare because of my parents. They immigrated from the Philippines when they were recruited to be nurses in the United States. When I was growing up in New Jersey, if my parents couldn’t find a babysitter, they would bring me to the hospital with them. I saw how they got to take care of their patients, the impact that they were making on the patients and their families, and how they were helping people.
Physical therapy was a good fit because I'm active and like playing sports. As a physical therapist, I spend a lot of time with patients and families, helping them get back to hobbies or activities that are important and meaningful to them.
Q: How do you think your role impacts patients and families?
I get to spend a lot of time with patients and their family members. I know that they are so appreciative of our help and support during one of the hardest times in their lives. But they teach us a lot, too, about patience and resilience. I look up to a lot of them for how they cope with these hard times — they're really role models.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
I love helping our clients get back to doing the things that are important to them — whether it's something as simple as helping them go to the bathroom on their own or transferring out of the bed to the wheelchair — or getting back to golf, getting back to dancing. I love giving them the building blocks to help them reach these meaningful goals.
University of Florida
- Bachelor of Science, Applied Physiology and Kinesiology with a minor in Health Science
- Doctor of Physical Therapy
- Chris’s wife is also a physical therapist.
- Clients and co-workers at Pathways know Chris by his love of all things with leopard or cheetah print – from his shoes to his coffee mug to his lunch box.
- He loves beach volleyball and recently took up golf.
- Chris enjoys singing and dancing and has even performed for Shepherd Pathways patients. He does a mean Bruno Mars impersonation!
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neurological conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.