Employee Spotlight: Kirsten Radke

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Employee Spotlight: Kirsten Radke

Kirsten grew up in the countryside of Ottumwa in Southeast Iowa, surrounded by hogs, horses and her family. Here, she learned some of her most valuable lessons along with her three sisters as they helped on the farm and showed pigs and horses in the 4H. When in school, she kept busy with volleyball, basketball, softball, track and band. Her own injuries in high school were what first piqued her interest in physical therapy.

A lesson she learned early in life was from her father, Charlie Brown, who suffered from an unknown illness that later became known as pancreatic cancer, the words no one wants to hear. Charlie is now missing a few organs, but he didn’t let his less than 5% chance of living control his future and still calls after each appointment confirming that the doctors ‘cleared him to see tomorrow’! This is why Kirsten is here. She’s devoted herself and her life to help patients beyond what a pill could do.

After high school, Kirsten attended Buena Vista University and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. During her time at BVU, she was a four-year member of the volleyball team, met her husband and was introduced to an amazing woman named Tracey. Kirsten was able to provide home health care assistance for her as she was living with ALS, a terminal illness. Between learning the ins & outs of wheelchair mobility, physical therapy home programs and how to blend the perfect vanilla banana shake, Tracy taught her another life lesson. Making life worth living is attainable for anyone, in every circumstance. Tracy inspired her. She presented Kirsten’s first exposure to the world of osteopathic physical therapy, craniosacral therapy and the dedication patients have to seek care from medical professionals that sincerely care about helping make their life worth living.

In the midst of her formal training at Des Moines University, she had the opportunity to spend one of four clinical internships in NJ at the #3 grossing clinic for the company she was working at. While there, more than one patient repeated something that struck a chord with her: “You are the first therapist to actually spend this much time doing manual therapy with me.” Manual therapy is a large piece of physical therapy, and the main reason Kirsten attended an osteopathic based physical therapy program. Upon graduating, she was fortunate enough to find herself in a setting much different than the one she experienced on the East Coast: Core Physical Therapy.

Over the past 4 years, her specialty focus has evolved at Core. Her patients have inspired her to pursue more advanced training in craniosacral therapy through Michigan State University, women’s pelvic health through Herman & Wallace and her Clinical Certification in Vestibular Therapy through the University of Texas. She also credits much of her vestibular knowledge to a close friend and former co-worker for inspiring and educating her about this type of therapy. Kirsten says, “Serving this patient population has been one of the most rewarding parts of my career to date.”

Outside of the office, you can find her teaching slow flow yoga classes throughout the metro, riding or running the beautiful trail system, listening to tunes at a live music venue, cheering on the ISU Cyclones, hiking trails or being curled up reading in one of the local coffee shops.

 

Learn More About Kirsten

  • What is something about you that would surprise people?

I met my husband on my first day of class at BVU. The professor walked in and said, “Be careful who you meet your first week on campus. That’s how I met my wife.” Over a decade later… still together.

  • What is your favorite part of your job?

The patients. Educating them, giving them a sense of control over their diagnoses, and seeing them live life again.

  • What is a dream vacation or trip?

Off-grid. No cell reception. Ideally somewhere between an ocean and a mountain. My husband and I are slowly working our way through the National Parks. We just came back from Acadia. It checked off all of those boxes with an added bonus of all-you-can-eat lobster.

  • What three items must your refrigerator contain?

Avocados, eggs, and red wine (except don’t put that in the fridge…maybe next to the fridge…)

  • What is your WHY?

To use my knowledge base and skill set to empower patients beyond their diagnosis so that life is worth living.

  • What is your favorite pastime?

Live music. I have a small concert addiction. The music scene in the metro continues to grow and bring in new acts each year, but I’m not above taking a 10+ hour road trip to see the same concert twice in one year. I’m also not picky about the genre. Anything of the singer-songwriter variety is in my wheelhouse. Hands down my favorite venue in Des Moines is Hoyt-Sherman Place.

  • What is your guilty pleasure?

A dark red wine paired with a large charcuterie board. I also choose to believe that cheese is a food group.

  • Favorite book you've read or gifted to people the most?

Anything by Brene Brown or Dr. Judith Orloff. Their respective insights on our mental and physical health are unparalleled.

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