By Kate Hunger
From the time she was a child growing up in Brazil, Ana Allegretti, Ph.D., OTR, knew she wanted to be an occupational therapist.
"I don't remember wanting to do anything else," she shared. "I always wanted to be an OT."
Dr. Allegretti attended an internship at the University of Pittsburgh because she wanted to improve the technology available at the seating clinic she worked in Brazil. She later returned to the University of Pittsburgh to pursue her master's and doctorate, and in the process discovered her passion for seating and mobility.
For the past decade, Allegretti has worked to help those with mobility impairments, including children, veterans, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients.
"It really is important to me to be able to provide better means of mobility for people that otherwise would not be able to have independent mobility," Allegretti said. "Mobility is an innate right! You have to be able to go where you want when you want."
That dedication to enabling mobility for all led Morgan's Wonderland to select Dr. Allegretti as one of its five 2017 Wall of Fame Honorees from around the country chosen for their commitment to inclusion. The honorees were recognized at a gala on Sept. 30, and their names are installed on the Wall of Fame Morgan's Wonderland.
Bridgett Piernik-Yoder, Ph.D., OTR, chair, department of occupational therapy, nominated Dr. Allegretti for her work on Go Baby Go, a project which provides modified ride-on toy cars to children with disabilities, as well as for her work fitting wheelchairs at the accessible Morgan's Inspiration Island splash park, which opened this summer in San Antonio.
Go Baby Go is possible because of a team approach, Allegretti emphasized.
"The parents of the children that believed that this would be a good thing for their children to try, the clinicians and physicians at the CRIT who dedicated time to assist, my other colleagues who helped me collect data and supported my research project, and Cole Galloway and his team for letting me be part of the wonderful Go Baby Go program - I am so thankful to all of them and to Morgan's Wonderland for their recognition."