Advanced Competency in Home Health Faculty 

Faculty for individual live courses varies, based upon course registration and location. The following individuals are current faculty for Advanced Competency in Home Health live PT and PTA courses.

 Melissa Bednarek PhotoMelissa Bednarek, PT, DPT, PhD, Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy, received her Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology and Psychology from St. Bonaventure University, followed by a Master of Physical Therapy from MCP Hahnemann University. Following four years of acute care experience, she returned to graduate school to complete a PhD in Physiology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Upon completion in 2009, she joined the faculty in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she is currently an Associate Professor. Dr. Bednarek teaches exercise physiology, cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy and the pharmacology thread in the curriculum. To enhance her teaching, she has continued to practice in outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation and home health and became a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy in 2014.  

Christine Childers Photo

Christine Childers, PT, MS, Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Geriatric Physical Therapy, received her Bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy from the University of East Anglia, England. In 1998 she moved, with her husband then serving in the USAF, to Utah where she became licensed to practice in the US. During their 8 years in SLC, Utah Chris practiced in the skilled nursing arena and in 2005 she gained her MS in Gerontology from the University of Utah the same year she became a board certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist. In 2006 she moved to California, again working in the skilled nursing arena until she transitioned into the academic setting in 2012, working as an assistant professor for the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. Teaching full time she maintains her clinical skills through home health visits. Chris is currently serving on the Geriatric specialty council of the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialist, is a content expert for the specialty examination and is working on her PhD in Health Psychology from Walden University. 

Kandy Ortgies, PTA, received her AAS from the physical therapist assistant program at Kirk-wood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1996.  For 15 years she worked as a senior PTA in the general medical service, inpatient orthopedics, inpatient and outpatient rehabilita-tion and SNF. During that time she was instrumental in developing an early ambulation protocol for ventilator dependent patients. She has also worked in rapid recovery in a nursing home. In 2003 she joined  Kirkwood Community College as adjunct faculty teaching and assisting in the PTA program.  From 2011 to 2019 Kandy worked in the home health setting for UnityPoint at Home Home Care. Currently Kandy is working at a local hospital as their Home Care Consult-ant. She is a credentialed clinic instructor, CPR instructor and very active in committees  in-cluding QUAPI, Patient Family Experience Council, Performance Improvement and has assist-ed in developing an orientation Road Map for new PT/PTA hires. Her interest is in improving the quality of life through physical therapy for her home health patients. 

 Nick Panaro PhotoNicholas J Panaro, PT, DPT, Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Geriatric Physical Therapy, has been a licensed Physical therapist since 2003 upon graduation from Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA with a Masters in Physical Therapy. In December 2015 He completed his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Temple University. Dr Panaro has been practicing in Home Health for 10 years as an employee of UPMC Home Nursing Agency. As a home health physical therapist, he has been active in Same Day Joint Replacement Protocol initiated by his Agency as well as participated in data collection for CMS CJR program since 2014. Dr Panaro also has advanced certifications as both a Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES) and Senior Fitness Specialist( SFS) from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). In 2004, he co-founded Sports Evolution, LLC providing performance enhancement programming for young athletes ages 8 and up using evidence based training techniques and program design while emphasizing proper movement patterns and injury prevention.