Dr. Uzair “Z” Hammad is the new resident of the University of Central Florida & Orlando Health Neurologic Residency Program. He currently works at Orlando Regional Medical Center Institute for Advance Rehabilitation’s spinal cord, stroke and brain injury program. Dr. Hammad has a Bachelor of Science in Sports and Human Performance and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from UCF. He is the co-chair for the Florida Physical Therapy Association Neurology Special Interest Group’s Membership and Communication Committee. When he is not working, he likes traveling, lifting weights, running, creating Instagram videos, and reading.
Tell us about yourself, academic history, research interest and passion
Hammad: I graduated from the University of Central Florida with my B.S. in 2016 and again in 2021 with my DPT. Believe it or not, I wasn’t accepted to a DPT program on my first attempt, however, I believe experiences like these should be seen as opportunities rather than challenges. This mindset has shaped me to become a self-driven, inquisitive, and emphatic person who strives to do right by his patients and fellow human beings. My passion for physical therapy started when I saw how a physical therapist transformed the lives of neurologically compromised patients. My path through UCF’s DPT program including special experiences I’ve had with patients, has only strengthened the bond I have with this profession. My research interest and passion lie in successfully fulfilling the gaps and overcoming the barriers neurological patients face on a daily basis. I hope to one day develop an affordable and effective means of access to physical therapy for patients who are otherwise confined by the restrictions placed on therapy by insurance companies.
Why did you choose neurology and why did you choose UCF & Orlando Health Neurologic Residency?
Hammad: I really do enjoy working with all patient populations. However, the human brain is something that genuinely fascinates me, as it is the essence of our perceptions of reality and the world we live in. Therefore, neurologically compromised patients and the devastations they face really hit me hard and instill this deep passion within me to help these patients recover. We literally get to be the person walking alongside our patients down the path towards getting their life back. I also enjoy helping guide them through the psychosocial aspects associated with their new life’s conditions.
I chose the UCF and Orlando Health Neurological Residency program because the individuals that are a part of this team, like the mentors, professors, administrators, have shown me what a truly dedicated and educated neurologic physical therapist looks like. Although this program is made up of professionals with a variety of accolades, acknowledgements, and clinical excellence awards; the environment they foster for their patients and team members alike, is irreplaceable and is the most important aspect of my decision. Additionally, my mentors in this program are consistently and actively engaged in community outreach and support programs such as the multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury support groups which is something I personally value tremendously.”
What experiences are you looking forward to in the residency program?
Hammad: I’m hoping to strengthen my skills in neurologic PT practice by learning from some of the most knowledgeable and devoted clinicians in this specialty practice. I’m looking forward to participating in support groups, research, and community outreach programs as these opportunities align with my personal passions of “bridging the gaps” in neurologic PT practice. Along with gaining the ability to “pick the brains” of some of the most skilled neurological physical therapist in our profession, I’m excited to learn the proper and appropriate use of cutting- edge technologies such as Exoskeletons, Body weight support treadmills, and Xcite Functional E-Stem units.