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Tanner Holden, PT, DPT, CSCS recently attended the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting (APTA CSM) for his first time as a UNC DPT graduate. The DPT program is housed within the Division of Physical Therapy in the Department of Allied Health Sciences.

At the CSM, Holden presented his research titled ‘Utilization of Computer Adaptive Tests in Patients with Knee Conditions’.

A Rewarding Four Years at UNC

Holden began his time in the UNC DPT program in 2017, and notes that UNC felt like a family from the start. “The faculty are distinguished but accessible, and the DPT class of 2020 was filled with extremely intelligent, empathetic, and genuine people,” he said. “The greatest thing I took away from my time in the DPT program was how to work through problems that were unfamiliar and treat the patient in front of me, not just the one in the textbook.”

After a fulfilling experience within UNC’s DPT program, Holden went on to complete UNC’s Orthopedic PT residency in 2021.

Clinical Work and Interests

Holden currently works as a full-time staff physical therapist at Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates in Charlotte, NC. “I primarily see patients with orthopedic spine pain, but I also work with strength sport athletes including powerlifters, Crossfitters, and weightlifters in the evenings and on weekends,” he said.

Most of his work is clinical, and Holden is interested in improving exercise prescription in physical therapy practice, integrating principles of strength and conditioning into the rehabilitation process, and enhancing the therapeutic alliance and patient education strategies.

CSM 2022 Presentation: Utilization of Computer Adaptive Tests in Patients with Knee Conditions

“The project started out as my 3rd year capstone,” said Holden. “After finishing the first draft I was encouraged to consider pursuing publication of the work by my capstone advisor, Dr. Thoma.” Holden then recruited another UNC DPT graduate and current PhD student, Chris Lane, to help him refine the review.

Holden presented the findings in the form of a poster presentation, titled ‘Utilization of Computer Adaptive Tests in Patients with Knee Conditions: A systematic review.’

Computer adaptive tests (CATs) reduce both the administrative and respondent burden in collecting patient reported outcome measures. Holden and his team evaluated how and for what purposes CATs are used in patients with knee conditions, the psychometric properties of each identified CAT, and any correlations between fixed length patient reported outcome measures and CATs.

Though it was his first time attending CSM as a clinical practitioner, Holden first attended CSM as a student when the conference was held in Washington, D.C.

“As a student, I remember being overwhelmed by everything CSM had to offer in the way of networking and education,” he said. “However, having the opportunity to both consume and contribute to the content made the conference even more exciting this time around. I hope to continue contributing ideas and research at future CSMs.”

Future Goals as a Physical Therapist

Holden hopes to continue building his business working with strength sport athletes of all ages in Charlotte, NC and the surrounding areas. “I hope to have the opportunity to mentor student physical therapists and become a more active member within the APTA NC chapter,” he said. “I would love to work with DPT students in some type of teaching role someday.”


Louise Thoma, PT, DPT, PhD is an assistant professor in the Division of Physical Therapy. The Division of Physical Therapy is housed within the Department of Allied Health Sciences, which is a part of UNC’s School of Medicine.