Melissa Stiles, PT, Receives Golisano Health Leadership Award

Melissa Stiles, PT, Receives Golisano Health Leadership Award

Special Olympics, a global movement promoting inclusion through sport, health, education, and leadership programs, envisions a world where individuals with intellectual disabilities have equal opportunities and access to healthcare. This vision, supported by the Golisano Foundation, is embodied in the Golisano Health Leadership Awards. These awards recognize leaders and organizations contributing significantly to equal health access for people with intellectual disabilities. The award highlights efforts in advancing the goals and mission of Special Olympics Health initiatives. Each state can honor up to three individuals or organizations annually; this year, Special Olympics Montana (SOMT) selected one recipient.

Melissa Stiles, a dedicated volunteer, has been chosen for this prestigious award. Trained by Special Olympics to become a FUNFitness Director, Melissa has since served as a Clinical Director for FUNFitness screenings, one of eight health screenings provided to over 3,500 athletes across Montana. With 15 years of service, she is the most experienced Clinical Director in SOMT’s history.

As a Clinical Director and physical therapist, Melissa is responsible for leading the vital FUNFitness health screening. This screening provides athletes the opportunity to be examined for flexibility, functional strength, balance, and aerobic fitness. She consistently makes herself accessible, including a willingness to travel to various locations. Upon arrival at the screenings, she promptly assembles a team and efficiently trains them within a short amount of time, a task that is not easy to do.

Through her dedicated work with the Special Olympics movement, Melissa has helped create more inclusive access to health services within Montana.

Melissa Stiles, PT, is the Lead Pediatric Physical Therapist at St. Peter’s Health in Helena, MT. She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Physical Therapy from D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY. She is also a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Pediatric Physical Therapy, one of only eight in Montana. Her clinical interests include pediatrics, STAR Cancer Rehab, night-time positioning, and ankle/foot positioning and bracing.

In her free time, Melissa enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching sports, reading, crafting, and enjoying the outdoors.

Congratulations to Melissa Stiles, the 2023 Local Golisano Health Leadership Award recipient from St. Peter’s Health Physical Therapy. Her commitment to improving healthcare access for individuals with intellectual disabilities exemplifies the spirit of Special Olympics.