’02 BS Sports Injury Management, ’05 MS Physical Therapy
School of Integrated Health Sciences Alumna of the Year
Ashley Reagor can relate to the idiom “There is no pleasure without pain” — and not just because she’s in the business of helping others overcome injuries so they can resume happy, productive lives. As a child, Reagor was the one lying on the table, receiving therapy for a genetic bone condition.
It was during those childhood therapy sessions when Reagor developed an interest in the field and began plotting a career as a physical therapist — or so you might think.
“I hated it,” she said.
It wasn’t until high school when she worked part-time as a technician at a physical therapy office that Reagor came to appreciate what physical therapists do and the important role they play in improving the lives of others.
“It was a summer job, and when it was over, I became sad about having to leave to resume classes,” she said. “It was like an epiphany, which is ironic given how much I disliked physical therapy as a kid.”
That light-bulb moment illuminated a career path that led Reagor to UNLV's School of Integrated Health Sciences, where she earned an undergraduate degree in sports injury management and a master’s in physical therapy. She went on to become a licensed physical therapist, ultimately founding her own practice, Action Therapeutics in Henderson.
Since opening in 2012, Reagor’s practice has focused a great deal on pelvic and women’s health, two underrepresented areas within the physical therapy field. She also has served the community by offering pro-bono or reduced-cost services to uninsured and underinsured patients.
Reagor’s commitment to community has extended to UNLV’s department of physical therapy, for which she has participated in student interviews, conducted guest lectures, and taught classes in women’s health part-time. Also, thanks to a clinical partnership, Action Therapeutics has opened its doors to UNLV students conducting their clinical education.
Finally, as a founding member of the Las Vegas chapter of the National Association of Black Physical Therapists, Reagor has embraced the opportunity to mentor minority students in hopes of creating a more diverse industry.
What’s the biggest personal or professional challenge you’ve had to overcome, and how did that experience shape you?
I took a clinical directorship position with a company that provided a great opportunity to learn the management aspect of a physical therapy office. Unfortunately, the company didn’t exactly operate in an ethical manner. As a result, a great learning experience also became a painful one. But in the long run, it was worth it because it helped me launch my own business — and taught me the importance of operating it the right way.
What advice would you give to the current health sciences student who is questioning whether they’re on the right career path?
When deciding where to go to college 20 years ago, I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to study but I wanted two things: an accredited athletic training program and post-graduate physical therapy program. UNLV offered those options, so I was able to learn how to care for and treat UNLV student-athletes while later enjoying the autonomy and work-environment diversity that physical therapy offers. So I would encourage students to look broadly at their career field and explore all the options available so they can find what drives their passion.
I’m fortunate enough to be one of those professionals who comes to work every day loving what I do — there’s no better feeling and one I hope current UNLV students get to experience throughout their careers.
What three attributes should every physical therapist strive to have a boundless supply of?
Empathy, a commitment to problem-solving, and a desire to help others. Sometimes you never know what external factors are affecting a person, influencing their life, or driving their decisions. So in addition to providing quality care, it’s important to offer a compassionate and attentive ear. I also love the problem-solving nature of my business. When you can see a patient’s function improving and they tell you they’re no longer in pain — those are the moments I cherish.