Lakeland Regional Health


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Doctors & Departments

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Meet our Therapists

Laurie Carls, PT

Laurie graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from the University of California, San Francisco. She has 23 years of experience, mainly in outpatient orthopedics. Her treatments emphasize manual and exercise therapy techniques.

Laurie has worked in clinics in California, Wyoming and Colorado prior to coming to LRMC. While at these facilities, she has had extensive experience with patients dealing with joint replacements, joint repair, injuries following motor vehicle accidents, and athletes recovering from sports-related injuries. She strives to help patients reach their goals to increase function and quality of life.

Rosa Garcia, OTR/L

After graduating in 1998 from the University of Puerto Rico with a BA in Occupational Therapy, Rosa began working with an early intervention program at a hospital and immediately fell in love with the children. Since then, her work experiences include hospital, school and private clinic settings. She brings 12 years of experience in pediatric occupational therapy to Lakeland Regional.

Describing herself as a dynamic, fun, creative and compassionate therapist, Rosa’s specialties include the Handwriting Without Tears program and all four courses on the Sensory Integration Certification sponsored by the University of South California and Western Psychological Services.

Rosa is registered by the National Board of Certification for Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) and is licensed by the State of Florida. She participates in community health and fitness by providing Latin dance-fitness classes (Zumba) to adults and children in the Lakeland area.

Michael Gardner, ATRI, Ai Chi

Mike received his Aquatic Therapy Certification through the Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute (ATRI) and is also Chronic Pain Certified.  In addition, he is trained in Ai Chi, water-based total body strengthening and relaxation.  In November 2010, Mike will travel to Chicago to complete Pediatric Aquatic Therapy Certification training at ATRI.

Mike works with adults and children facing a variety of challenges to improve function, flexibility and locomotion.  He feels that, in addition to producing clinical outcomes, he helps his patients gain something that cannot be measured — confidence.

In addition, outside of Lakeland Regional Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Clinic, Mike coaches minor league baseball for boys, ages nine to 11, and fast-pitch softball for girls, ages 10 to 13.  He also served as a captain for an Extreme Kids Olympics fourth grade team through his church.

Kelley Giovannucci, PTA, CLT

Kelley graduated from an accredited Physical Therapist Assistant program at Polk State College. She is driven to provide the best care possible for all of her patients, from pediatrics to adults.  After graduating, Kelley has continued to advance her professional knowledge by completing two certifications. The first is in skilled manual therapy, which better allows her to identify and treat various joint and soft tissue deficits. Kelley also has a certification in lymphedema therapy which allows her to care for patients who have a history of cancer and cancer treatments.  In addition, Kelley is certified in fitting compression garments for patients with lymphedema. Kelley continues to strive to gain more knowledge to better treat all her patients.

Kelley believes in giving back to her profession and mentoring physical therapy students to allow future therapists more clinical knowledge to advance their patient care.

Nicole Johnson, PT, DPT, CEEAA

Nicole graduated with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Wheeling Jesuit University in 2007. She has continued her education with courses ranging from insurance regulation, manual therapy, and has completed her certification as an Exercise Expert in Aging Adults (CEEAA). In addition to her educational training, Nicole has a wide range of clinical experience in the areas of pediatrics, assisted living, skilled nursing, sports medicine, and outpatient orthopedics.

Currently, Nicole is a physical therapist and team leader at Lakeland Regional Medical Center’s outpatient facility.

Mary Lisa Laches, MS CCC

Mary Lisa has more than 25 years of experience as a Speech Language Pathologist. Throughout her career, she has worked with infants, children and adults in a variety of settings including clinics, schools and hospitals. Prior to joining LRMC, Mary Lisa was a full-time Clinical Instructor and Supervisor in the graduate program of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at the University of South Florida. Additionally, Mary Lisa previously owned and managed an outpatient pediatric speech therapy clinic.

Mary Lisa earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in Speech Language Pathology from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech Language & Hearing Association. Mary Lisa’s professional interests include language development; working with infants, children and adults exhibiting feeding and swallowing disorders; and providing literacy intervention to school-aged children.

Outside of work, Mary Lisa enjoying boating, bicycling and spending time with her husband and daughters.

Rizwana Mir, PT, CLT

Riz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy from Sheffield City Polytechnic in 1992.  She is a certified Pilates instructor and is working toward certification in Pilates reformer and manual therapy.  Riz is also certified in lymphedema therapy.

For seven years, Riz worked in health care in Illinois at facilities including Rush North Shore Medical Center, Lutheran General Hospital and the renown Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.  In addition, she gained five years of experience in the outpatient rehabilitation facility at Winter Haven Hospital.

Riz is an active member of the PTA.

Lisa Reuther, M.Ed., CCC-SLP

Lisa comes to LRMC with more than 20 years of clinical expertise treating both adults and children.  She is experienced in the evaluation and remediation of impaired communication, cognition, and swallowing.  Specialty areas include the following:  aphasia, brain injury, dysarthria, oral/pharyngeal/esophageal dysphagia, and alaryngeal speech methods.

 Lisa graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and went on to earn a Master of Education in Communication Sciences and Disorders, both from the University of Georgia.  She is certified in the use of Vital Stim, a therapeutic intervention for the management of dysphagia (difficulty swallowing).

 Lisa has been a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association since 1990 and has a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology.

 In addition, she has worked in Georgia, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Florida.

Luz Rivera, PT, CLT

Luz received her BS in Physical Therapy from the University of Puerto Rico (Medicine School Campus). She has 20 years of experience in acute care and outpatient rehabilitation.

Luz provides outpatient rehabilitation for UE (upper extremity) orthopedic injuries, outpatient wound care and specializes in lymphedema care within LRMC’s new lymphedema clinic.

Active in her church, Luz serves as treasurer, secretary and as a Bible school teacher. She is bilingual.

Michael Smith, OT, CHT

Michael received a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Eastern Kentucky University in 1996 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Board of Governors Program from Eastern Illinois University.

Michael received advanced training and earned a specialty certification as a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT). For the past 14 years, he has specialized in evaluating and treating patients within a wide age group range with diverse and complicated musculoskeletal and neurological deficits affecting the use of the upper limbs (shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand). He is dedicated and passionate about treating each patient as an individual and customizing treatment to meet patients’ unique needs.

In addition to his work with LRMC, Michael is a Tai Chi instructor and a member of the Florida Hand Society.

Jamie Sturgill, PT, MA, MBA

After graduating summa cum laude from Ohio University with a BS in Physical Therapy and becoming licensed as a physical therapist, Jamie went on to receive both an MA in Health Services Management and an MBA from Webster University in Orlando, Florida.

Jamie’s area of specialty is orthopedics, and he enjoys working with the geriatric population. He also serves on the Board of Kaiser University’s Physical Therapy Assistant Program.

Working in a management role for a number of years, Jamie comes to the LRMC team with a great deal of leadership experience and enjoys the challenges of leading a team and coming together to accomplish common goals.

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