ABOUT THE WALTKE CANCER REHABILITATION ACADEMY
MY MOTIVATION TO BUILD THE ACADEMY
It was nearly 2 decades ago. I can still clearly hear her desperate-feeling and definitely stinging words. “What are you going to do about it?”
I became an oncology physical therapist in the mid 1990’s. The age of “Don’t worry about your arm, just be happy you’re alive,” was fading, but definitely still regionally persistent.
During that era, I was part of a growing band of physical therapists beginning to challenge the post cancer surgery status quo of “take it easy,” “limitation is to be expected” and “don’t lift, don’t push, don’t pull, don’t carry and you will be just fine.”
Forward thinking physicians, researchers and physical therapists began looking for new answers. And when we listen closely to the human body, anatomy and physiology will lead us in the right direction.
The answers are now more clear. Pain and limitation are not normal. Rehabilitation and exercise for people before, during and after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are not only safe, but essential. So began a quiet evolution.
These new answers, however, were not reaching everyone. And thus is how I heard those stinging words while speaking at a cancer survivorship conference. “What are you going to do about it?”
The roots of the Waltke Cancer Rehabilitation Academy were planted in 2004 as R3 Programs (Rehab. Research. Results.). R3 Programs was established in response to this enormous need for accurate information regarding physical therapy, rehabilitation, exercise and physical wellness after cancer diagnosis and treatment. Through continuing education courses and onsite training, R3 Programs began to teach the importance of rehabilitation and exercise to the medical community and cancer patients and survivors throughout Milwaukee, the State of Wisconsin and the US.
Fast forward to the present. Cancer survivorship issues are now in the spotlight of research and cancer care. The number of cancer patients and survivors are growing at an astonishing pace. This has only highlighted the still present “cancer rehabilitation gap”: Oncology doctors and nurses don’t know enough about rehabilitation, and rehabilitation therapists don’t know enough about oncology. The result? The very patients that come to us for help, bear the brunt of our unawareness. They suffer more pain, more fatigue, more weakness and more loss than is necessary.
With the intent of pushing the quiet cancer rehabilitation evolution into a not so quiet revolution, the Waltke Cancer Rehabilitation was founded in 2016. By adding international collaboration and harnessing the power of social media and online education, the WCRA is driven to pull the worlds of rehabilitation and oncology together.
People affected by cancer deserve the finest evidence based treatment available. Together we have the power to provide it to them. I look forward to the opportunity of working with you to make the world better for people with cancer!
Leslie J. Waltke, PT, DPT
The Waltke Cancer Rehabilitation Academy seeks out human diversity and appreciates the full range of individual distinctions among people. Cancer does not discriminate, we don’t either. Our differences make us stronger.
Waltke Academy MISSION: We strive to reduce the unnecessary suffering and functional loss felt by cancer patients and survivors.
Waltke Academy VISION: We foresee a world where rehabilitation is fully integrated into cancer care and where everyone diagnosed with cancer has access to cancer rehabilitation.
International: +1 414-322-8033
Leslie J. Waltke, PT, DPT is a physical therapist with a clinical mastery in cancer rehabilitation and Founder of the Waltke Cancer Rehabilitation Academy. Since earning her degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Wisconsin in 1988, Dr. Waltke has spent the majority of her career solely dedicated to treating the physiological, musculoskeletal, integumentary and functional needs of persons during and after treatment for cancer. She is respected internationally as an oncology physical therapist, key opinion leader, author, educator and consultant.
Since 2005 Dr. Waltke has been the Cancer Rehabilitation Coordinator for Aurora Health Care, one of the United States’ largest cancer programs and proud holder of the rare Commission on Cancer “Outstanding Achievement Award.” Her role, in addition to treating patients with cancer, includes cancer rehabilitation program development, education and training, and best practice and clinical standards development. Cancer rehabilitation programs are now available at each of Aurora Health Care’s 14 hospitals and at 27 outpatient Aurora Rehabilitation Centers throughout Wisconsin. The Commission on Cancer and the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers have consistently described her cancer rehabilitation programs as “excellent” “amazing” and “outstanding.”
A gifted and impassioned speaker, Dr. Waltke teaches and lectures throughout the United States to rehabilitation professionals, medical and oncology providers, universities, cancer organizations as well as cancer patients and survivors. She recently spoke at the 2014 China Cancer Congress and the 2015 World Cancer Congress.
Dr. Waltke sits on multiple state and national oncology boards and was recently honored with the 2015 Academic Excellence and Leadership Award from Rosalind Franklin university of Medicine and Science, the “Article of the Year Award” from the Journal of Patient-Centered Research and Reviews and the 2015 Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Education Recognition scholarship.
CONTACT DR. WALTKE:
International: +1 414-322-8033
Dr. Waltke’s 2017 Speaking Schedule
|February 20||Mount Saint Joseph PT School||Cincinnati, OH|
|February 26||1 day onsite rehab staff training: Northern Community Hospital||Arlington Heights, IL|
|March 13||Rosalind Franklin University PT School CA Rehab Lecture||North Chicago, IL|
|March 17 & 18||2 day onsite training Ascension Health System||Appleton, WI|
|May 6||Rehabilitation for the Patient with Cancer||Galway, Ireland|
|May 13||Cancer Toolbox for Physios||London, England|
|May 19-21||World Cancer Congress 2017||Barcelona, Spain|
|July 29, 30||2 day Advanced On-site Training Ochsner Health System||New Orleans, LA|
Dr. Waltke’s 2016 Speaking Schedule
|February 12||Mount Saint Joseph PT School||Cincinnati, OH|
|March 14||Rosalind Franklin University PT School CA Rehab Lecture||North Chicago, IL|
|April 6||American Lung Association - Lung Force Conference||Brookfield, WI|
|April 9 & 10||Leaders in Oncology Forum||Philadelphia, PA|
|April 14||Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association Spring Conference||Madison, WI|
|April 16 & 17||Rehabilitative Treatment for The Patient with CA||Chicago, IL|
|July 15 & 16||2 day rehab staff onsite training: Ochsner Health System||New Orleans, LA|
|September 24||Marquette University School of Exercise Physiology||Milwaukee, WI|
|October 24||Marquette University PT School CA Rehab Lecture||Milwaukee, WI|