Happy Friday Everyone! While we normally use our blog to discuss various wellness and health tips as well as new happenings at the clinic, this week we thought we would have a little fun getting to know the face behind the practice, Dr. Kelly Bernard. We hope you enjoy the following interview and learn a little bit more about what makes our very own Dr. Kelly tick!
Why did you decide to become a Physical Therapist?
My first exposure to physical therapy that I can remember was around the age of 7; my grandfather had a stroke. During his recovery, I loved being his “mini Physical Therapist” and helping him do his exercises and strengthening his weak side. From this experience, I realized that I had a passion for helping others and discovered one of my love languages was touch. Given these developments and my firm belief that human touch is a powerful tool for healing, physical therapy became a natural fit for my eventual career.
What is your Alma Mater?
I attended LSU for my undergraduate degree (Geaux Tigers!) and then attained my Master’s in Physical Therapy from LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Finally, I completed my Doctorate in Physical Therapy as well as my Post-Doctorate Fellowship in Orthopedic Manual Therapy at the University of St. Augustine in Florida.
What do you like to do when you are not working as a Physical Therapist?
To be honest, my work-life balance of running my own business while also being a single mom is an art in itself! However, when I am not working, I’m usually having fun with my partner-in-crime and four-year-old daughter, Ivy! In addition, as a major priority in my life is self-care, I make time for meditation and yoga as well as relaxing in a nice bath with a good book to rejuvenate. I also enjoy gardening, cooking, and writing. Finally, Ivy and I love to travel, visit family, and explore nature (even if just in City Park).
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever received?
My parents have both taught me so much growing up, but my favorite advice my Dad gave me was that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. This concept truly resonates with me and I bring it with me day in and day out in both my personal life as a parent and in my practice at Hands on Health.
What is your favorite New Orleans Neighborhood?
While I love all the neighborhoods of my city for various reasons, I have to say that my own neighborhood in Lake Vista is my personal favorite. The area is filled with so many beautiful parks and gardens to explore and the joy of seeing so many families together makes the neighborhood incredibly welcoming and social even in these times of social distancing.
Do you have any pets?
I have one cat, Emily, who I was fortunate enough to adopt in April during quarantine. She is very sweet and loves to curl up in my lap for frequent cat naps!
What is your favorite New Orleans Restaurant?
This one is so hard to answer because there are so many awesome choices! I have lived in New Orleans for 20 years and always have a running list of restaurants to try. That being said, I think Emeril’s is my favorite spot for special occasions while Blue Oak BBQ in Mid-City is my favorite casual haunt.
What is your favorite Mardi Gras parade?
Definitely Endymion! The all-day party in the heart of one of my favorite neighborhoods of Mid-City and the spectacle and extravagance of the parade itself make it one of the best experiences of the Carnival season.
Where is your favorite place that you have ever traveled?
I was blessed with the opportunity to spend over a month traveling through both Thailand and Malaysia. Besides being the most exotic and exciting trip of my life, the opportunity to soak in the beauty of Southeast Asia and its culture really solidified my passion for Eastern Medicine, which I proudly incorporate into my daily practice.
Do you have any favorite sports teams?
Obviously, the Saints! New Orleans has the best fans in the world, and I love rooting for the black and gold. I also love Drew Brees, as he is such an amazing role model and ambassador for our city. He should come see me as I’m considered the “rib queen” in our clinic! Who Dat!
Do you have any new ventures in the works with Hands on Health?
Absolutely! We are expanding our Porch PT program where we actually come to patients’ porches or outdoor spaces to provide safe and holistic care during the pandemic. In addition, I am working on a course with two other local Physical Therapists called the “Centered Sustainable Practitioner,” which will focus on optimizing workflow and decreasing burnout amongst healthcare providers through utilizing scientifically proven self-care strategies. It’s going to be an awesome 2021!