INDEPENDENCE CENTER STAFF


PHYSICAL THERAPISTS

+ CHARLEY MEADE PT, DPT, ATC

Clinic Manager

Physical Therapist and Dry Needling Specialist

“I have wanted to have a career in sports medicine since I was 16 years old and was first introduced to the field. To be able to think critically and functionally about a patient’s condition and work WITH the patient to achieve their goals is why I love what I do. I get fulfillment out of each interaction I have with a patient or athlete and attempt to make a positive difference in their lives.”

Work Location:

  • Independence
  • Dry Ridge

Education:

  • Doctorate of Physical Therapy, College of Mount St. Joseph
  • BS, Athletic Training, College of Mount St. Joseph

Continuing Education: High School and Collegiate Sports Medicine Conference Advanced Concepts for the Rehabilitation Professional Integrated Rehabilitation of the Lumbar Spine and Pelvis Evidenced-Based Evaluation & Treatment of Common Running Injuries Manual Therapy Assessment & Treatment for the Spine, Ribs, and Pelvis

Memberships:

  • American Physical Therapy Association (Orthopaedic Section)
  • Kentucky Physical Therapy Association

Personal Interests:

  • Sports: UK basketball & the Cincinnati Reds
  • Running, biking, and hiking
  • Spending time with family and friends

What is your favorite vacation you have ever taken? Why?: Our family vacation to Italy when I was a young boy. The cultural experiences and places I saw will stay with me forever.

My bucket list (three things I want to do before I die):

  • Complete a Triathalon
  • Travel the world- Australia, Alaska, and Europe
  • Open a pizza restaurant

If you could trade places for a day with someone, who would it be and why?: I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want to switch places with anyone. I enjoy my life!

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+ NATALIE DUNAWAY PT, DPT

Physical Therapist

"Helping people change their lives on a daily basis is why I love my job and thank God that He called me to this profession. Being able to motivate and encourage patients to take control of their health and functional mobility is what we do best, and the changes I have been able to witness patients make have been more rewarding than I ever imagined."

Work Location:

  • Dry Ridge
  • Independence

Education:

  • Doctorate of Physical Therapy, University of Kentucky
  • BS, Psychology, Eastern Kentucky University
  • Graduate of Grant County Highschool class of 2009

Continuing Education: American Institute of Balance- Vestibular Rehabilitation Certification

  • American Physical Therapy Association
  • Kentucky Physical Therapy Association

Personal Interests

  • Running, Biking, Hiking and Backpack Camping
  • Cooking and Baking
  • UK Basketball- Go Big Blue!
  • Spending time with family and friends

What is your favorite vacation you have ever taken? Why?: My husband and I took an 8 day road trip from Cincinnati, OH to Denver, CO and back, visiting 9 different states along the way. The views were incredible, we laughed until our sides hurt, and we got to experience many hidden gems our country has to offer.

My bucket list (three things I want to do before I die):

  • Visit all the National Parks in America
  • Hike The Appalachian Trial or The John Muir Trail with my husband
  • Mission work in Africa

If you could trade places for a day with someone, who would it be and why?: Audrey Hepburn- I love her movies and the example she set by showing inner beauty, wisdom, humanitarianism, and love.

+ LIZ HOFFER PT, DPT, ATC

Physical Therapist and Dry Needling Specialist

"We are so lucky to be able to do what we do every single day. Not only is being a PT rewarding, but it is so much fun! I love being able to encourage and motivate my patients to reach their goals while making them smile along the way. I truly wake up & enjoy going to work every single day.”

Work Location:

  • Independence

Education:

  • Doctorate of Physical Therapy, College of Mount Saint Joseph
  • Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training, Northern Kentucky University
  • Newport Central Catholic High School, Class of 2008

Experience/Background:

  • Certified Athletic Trainer
  • PT Internships: St. Elizabeth Sports Medicine Florence, VillaSpring of Erlanger, HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, and Oxford Physical Therapy Independence Center
  • ATC Internships: Thomas More College, NKU Women’s Basketball, St Elizabeth Sports Medicine Edgewood, Simon Kenton High School, NovaCare Rehabilitation

Continuing Education:

  • Integrative Dry Needling: Foundation Course
  • WorkWell Functional Capacity Evaluation Certified Provider
  • Maitland Australian Physiotherapy Seminars: MT-1 Essential Peripheral & MT-2 Essential Spinal
  • North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy: Lumbopelvic Spine I
  • Examination & Management of Movement Disorders of Neck, Shoulder, Lower Back, & Hip
  • SASTM Method of Soft Tissue Massage Introductory Course
  • Mulligan Concept Upper Quadrant Course
  • Integrating Neurodynamics & Manual Therapy in Rehabilitation

Memberships:

  • National Athletic Trainer's Association
  • Kentucky Athletic Trainer's Association
  • American Physical Therapy Association

Community Involvement:

  • Arthritis Foundation Advocate
  • Flying Pig Marathon Volunteer

Personal Interests:

  • Sand Volleyball
  • Cooking & Baking
  • Boating
  • Dogs
  • Scuba Diving
  • Country Music
  • Growing Vegetables

What is your favorite vacation you have ever taken? Why?: My husband, Nick, & I have traveled to the Caribbean several times. Our honeymoon we went to Barbados & we went horseback riding on the beach. It was incredible! We also love our vacations to Norris Lake in Tennessee, it is so relaxing & fun on the boat

My bucket list (three things I want to do before I die):

  • Backpack through Europe
  • Travel to Bora Bora & stay in a hut over the ocean
  • Scuba Dive the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

If you could trade places for a day with someone, who would it be and why?: Not a person, but I'd totally trade places with my dogs. They just lie around, eat, and get back rubs. Who wouldn’t love that???

+ TOM ERNST PT, MPT, OCS, COMT

Physical Therapist, Clinic Manager, Partner

“I enjoy practicing physical therapy because it is an opportunity to integrate the concepts of education, exercise, and wellness in a rehab plan. I’m excited about the opportunity to practice with OPTC because it is owned and operated by physical therapists that share my passion to provide the best care possible for each patient.”

Work Location:

  • Crestview Hills / Chancellor Dr
  • Independence
  • Florence
  • Dry Ridge

Education:

  • BS, Rehabilitative Sciences, College of Mount St. Joseph
  • Masters, Physical Therapy, College of Mount St. Joseph
  • Graduate of Covington Catholic HS

Certifications:

  • Certified provider of Work Well Functional Capacity Evaluations
  • Certified full service provider for Atlas Ergonomics
  • Board Certified Certified Orthopedic Specialist
  • Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist

Continuing Education:

  • Cervical & Lumbar Spine Evaluation
  • Functional Capacity Evaluation Training
  • Office and Transportation Ergonomics with Atlas Ergonomics
  • High School & College Sports Medicine Conference
  • Surgical & Rehab Advances in the Knee
  • Modality use in Patient Care
  • Rehabilitation for the Post Surgical Orthopaedic Patient
  • The art and science of medical screening for physician referral
  • MT3- Intermediate spinal seminar
  • MT-ST Stabilization training seminar
  • MT-O Evidence based orthopedic and diagnostic seminar
  • Current review of minimally invasive spine surgery

Memberships:

  • American Physical Therapy Association (Orthopaedic Section)

Personal Interests:

  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Outdoor activities – running , archery, hunting, fishing, camping, and boating

What is your favorite vacation you have ever taken? Why?: My favorite vacation was to Lake Cumberland with my family on our boat. I love Lake Cumberland and being on the water fishing, skiing, swimming and boating with my family is the best.

My bucket list (three things I want to do before I die): Go to Hawaii with my wife and kids Sky dive Elk hunt with my bow

If you could trade places for a day with someone, who would it be and why?: That is a tie between Doug Stange, editor of the infisherman (the guy fishes all the time and always catches a ton of big fish) or my wife. She stays home and gets to spend all day with our kids!


PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANTS

+ KAYLA SMELTZER PTA

Physical Therapist Assistant, Team PTA

“As a PTA, I always look forward to being able to get people back to their previous functional abilities and favorite activities/ hobbies after an injury. I love seeing each of my patients faces and their spirits lifted when they can achieve goals they never thought they would.I also enjoy being able to build relationships with those I work with and showing them how much we care about getting them up and moving again.”

Work Location:

  • Independence
  • South Region Team PTA

Education:

  • Associates Defree- Physical Therapist Assistant Sinclair Community College
  • Bachelor's in Health Sciences University of Cincinnati

Personal Interests:

  • Spending time with family, friends, and my dog!
  • I am a huge Cincinnati Reds fan and I also enjoy watching college football especially UF Football- Go Bearcats!
  • Trying new craft beers and eating at local restaurants around the city
  • Trying new recipes
  • Country music

What is your favorite vacation you have ever taken? Why?: My family has been going to Cancun for many years now and it is my all-time favorite vacation spot. The beach is beautiful and the weather is always fantastic! We have met many family friends that we call our “Cancun Family.” We try to meet up with our Cancun family from California every year when we are there! My next favorite trip would our all-inclusive honeymoon to St. Lucia. Beautiful country and my husband and I can’t wait to go back!!

My bucket list (three things I want to do before I die):

  • Visit all the Major League baseball stadiums and see a game in each.
  • Go on a Mediterranean cruise
  • Travel to all 50 states

If you could trade places for a day with someone, who would it be and why?: I would trade places with Joanna Gaines. I love watching her show Fixer Upper on HGTV and absolutely love all of her home designs. I would want rehab an old house or redesign my house (with her design abilities, of course) if I traded places with her!

 
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+ MEREDITH WAGNER PTA

Physical Therapist Assistant

"As someone who has been through physical therapy for multiple knee injuries myself, I understand the profound effect it can have on your overall quality of life. I look forward to being able to make a positive change in all of my patients overall health and wellness. I strive to always treat my patients how I would want my family members or friend to be treated. I have had the unique opportunity to see many different aspects of physical therapy, all the way from a patient, to a PT aide for many years, and now as a PTA, and I look forward to using all of that experience to give my patients the best care possible."

Work Location:

  • Crestview Hills / Chapel Place

Education:

  • Physical Therapy Assistant, University of Indianapolis
  • Exercise Physiology, Northern Kentucky University

Personal Interests:

  • Boating
  • Traveling
  • UK basketball
  • Snow skiing
  • Trying new restaurants/ exploring town

What is your favorite vacation you have ever taken? Why?: I took a western Caribbean cruise with some of my best friends. It was amazing to get to see four different islands in such a short period of time. During the trip I had the opportunity to swim with dolphins, go zip lining, cave tubing, and many other cool activities. It was an amazing experience!

My bucket list (three things I want to do before I die):

  • Backpack through Europe
  • Go sky diving
  • Go skiing in Colorado

If you could trade places for a day with someone, who would it be and why?: Ellen DeGeneres, she seems like such an awesome person. She is constantly going out of her way to help anyone who seems to be struggling at the time, as well as spot lights people who are doing alot of good for society. She is always a positive role model and really preaches kindness, which I think is amazing and something we all should do. Plus, she is hilarious and knows almost every celebrity.