Between earning his undergraduate degree from Temple and starting in the college's doctor of physical therapy program, Kevin Kruth took a year off. For him, that year “off” involved working at children’s hospitals and outpatient clinics and getting experience in physical therapy, “just to confirm if this was the right path for me,” he says. Now, Kruth is set to receive his doctoral degree in May, with support from Temple’s Matt Williams Scholarship.
He values the scholarship for helping him pursue his studies, but he sees more to it than that.
Established in memory of Matt Williams, a member of the physical therapy Class of 2002, the scholarship is peer-nominated. “Students nominated someone in their class who they thought had ‘a servant's heart,’” he says. “Receiving that scholarship, and knowing that my peers chose me, has helped both financially and with my confidence—not only as a clinician, but also as a human being who serves a purpose. And I think that's been the most positive effect for me.”
Kruth is studying remotely from Scranton, Pa., while he works in the acute care section at the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center.
“I'm usually seeing people post surgery, or someone having an acute exacerbation of COPD or something similar,” Kruth says. “I'm also seeing people in the ICU who have had COVID. It’s been challenging to see what everyone is going through, physically and mentally.”
Prior to that, he did clinical rotations at an outpatient orthopedics clinic in Virginia and at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital in Bethlehem, Pa.. In the rehab hospital, he was in the outpatient neurological unit, working with patients with spinal cord injuries, strokes, traumatic brain injury, and Parkinson's disease.
“That’s been a population that I truly enjoy working with,” Kruth says. “I feel like my traits as a person, my patience with people, helps me be equipped to serve this population.”
While in Temple’s DPT program he has also served on the board of the North Broad Physical Therapy Center, a pro-bono clinic for community residents. He is also on the Minority Affairs Committee for the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association.
“One of our biggest goals is to promote diversity in healthcare by talking to people of color in the earliest stages of their life, whether it's an elementary school or high school,” he says. “People don't see other people of color in these positions. So one of the things I'm very grateful for has been the opportunity to go into high schools and talk to people who look like me.”