Pioneering Change in Pelvic Health: Meet Rizing Tide Scholar Bridget Ochuko
This is the thirteenth installment of the 2022 Rizing Tide Lighthouse Series: a series of blogs and video interviews that spotlight our exceptional scholars. Stay tuned for the next installment!
Bridget Ochuko’s journey into the field of physical therapy began with a desire to improve the well-being of others. Her background as an athlete pushed her toward the PT profession, but she found her passion for pelvic health during her PT education. As she puts it, “The first time pelvic health was mentioned in school, my ears perked up… And so when I learned that PTs could have an impact on that, that kind of influenced me to go down that path.”
Recognizing she would get only limited exposure to pelvic health from her traditional physical therapy education, Bridget strategically decided to pursue a residency program. She sought a mentorship-heavy program that she believed would help her gain invaluable experience and establish a strong foundation for her career. But even though she extended her educational track, Bridget wasted no time giving back to her community.
During her studies, Bridget co-created a remarkable community initiative called “Physical Therapy for Better Birth.” This program works to enhance the collaboration between pelvic floor physical therapists and doulas in order to provide comprehensive care to pregnant individuals. Through this program, Bridget hopes to address health disparities and improve outcomes in maternal care. As Bridget explains, “My thought was, why not reach out to doulas and see what they know—or what they would like to know—about pelvic floor or physical therapy, and see if we could increase that interprofessionalism between birth workers and pelvic floor PTs.”
In addition to community-focused, interdisciplinary programs, Bridget also believes in the importance of provider diversity. She notes that representation matters and that patients often feel more comfortable and understood when they can relate to their healthcare providers. Bridget’s presence in the field as a Black physical therapist has made a significant impact on the lives of her patients. “It’s all about representation. And I think that we talk about this a lot today in the news and in society, but the way that things change when you can see yourself in someone else, the way your outcomes change are incredible,” Bridget says.
As Bridget nears the completion of her residency, she envisions a future where she can continue to make a difference in her community. She plans to return to her hometown in Atlanta, juggling her work life with her passion for community involvement and advocacy. In her own words, she says, “My goal is to have that good balance, and then to ensure that I’m continuing to stay involved in community advocacy and education and creation of programs so that everyone can experience pelvic floor physical therapy—not just the people who have access to it.”
Bridget Ochuko’s journey in physical therapy is marked by dedication, passion, and a commitment to improving the lives of her patients. As she continues to forge her path, there’s no doubt that Bridget will leave a lasting legacy in the field of physical therapy.