Portrait of Leah Ross
An experience with her young son in the hospital changed the way Leah Ross, a physical therapist who works mostly with pediatric patients, approaches her job.
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People of the U: Leah Ross

Published on Wednesday, March 25, 2020

By: Kate Royals

Leah Ross is a physical therapist with some pep in her step.

Ross, who attended PT school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and began working here after graduation, works with the University Pavilion’s outpatient physical therapy team. She sees mostly pediatric patients dealing with fractures and other orthopaedic issues, as well as some adult patients.

As a mother of two, she also knows how to interact with children and brings those skills daily to her job.

“I treat a lot of kids, and some people say I am a kid,” she said, laughing. “With treating kids, you have to have a lot of joy and a lot of pep in your step.”

She’s always been passionate about what she does, but a recent experience with her oldest son reignited her passion. At only six months old, he was hospitalized for over a week with RSV. She did her best to be an advocate for him, but there were times when other caregivers “were an advocate where I couldn’t step in,” she said.

The experience made her realize another way in which she can help her patients as a physical therapist.

“There’s a way for me to be an advocate for the kids as well as encourage the parents to be advocates … Some people don’t think you have a say (in your medical care),” she said. “I personally think it’s important to know you can ask questions and if they’re too nervous or scared, I can be their advocate.”

She said she’s realized lately working here is “a calling.”

“There’s been time and time again there’ve been outlets I’ve tried to pursue, but God’s pulled me back … within a week,” she said. “I think if you’re working here, there’s a reason why, and I think that these patients need someone to show care.”

Jeffrey Hodges, Ross’ supervisor and assistant director of rehabilitation services, confirms Ross’ passion for providing the best care for her patients.

“Leah is very concerned for the overall well-being of all of her patients, not just for their physical therapy issues,” he said.

Even as a mother of two children under two years old, Ross always maintains an upbeat and energetic attitude. This, she says, helps when the job gets tough – which it does.

“There are definitely complicated days but approaching it with the joy I talked about earlier and with grace, that’s what gets me through day to day and it’s what patients remember.”

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