Mover & Shaker of the Month: Samantha Goetz 

By Paula Green 

       A teenage girl’s surgical experience has persuaded her to seek a medical career path. Two years ago, Shaler Area High School sophomore Samantha Goetz, 16, underwent a nine-hour spinal fusion and stabilization surgery to correct severe scoliosis.  

      Allegheny Orthopedic Association surgeon, Dr. Mark Sangimino, who practices out of Wexford, performed the surgery. “I can’t say enough about Dr. Sangimino and the care he gave Samantha.  Afterwards, Samantha completed physical therapy with Dan Glatz, owner and founder of Performance Unlimited Physical Therapy, also in Wexford. These two men worked together to get Samantha back to where she needed to be and among other things, she has returned to cheerleading,” said Samantha’s mother, Lori Goetz. 

     This past July, Samantha attended the 2017 National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF) Medicine. She was awarded a scholarship to this career development symposium, which introduces young scholars to the many challenges and career options in the field of medicine. The forum sessions were held in nine U.S. cities, and Samantha attended the program at UCLA in Los Angeles, Calif. 

     This next generation of healthcare professionals was introduced to numerous medical fields such as research, general practice, public health and medical ethics. The students toured clinical facilities and medical schools. “A highlight of the forum is a simulation that enables students to test their knowledge as they triage injured patients in a mass-casualty disaster scenario,” Lori added. 

      Last year, when Samantha was a freshman, she wrote a biography in school and noted how her medical issues made her want to help others. She stated, “I wish to become a surgeon, I prefer orthopedics. I want to go into orthopedics because I want to perform surgeries like the one I had. If I don’t become a surgeon, then my second choice is to become a physical therapist like Dan Glatz. He helped me emotionally get back onto to me feet after a setback so large like spinal surgery. I am thankful I met him, and I still think of his life lessons every single day.”