Tom Tobin Class of 1992
Tom Tobin, MBA, OTR, is a founding partner of both Fit for Work, an onsite injury prevention, and early intervention services provider for industry clients, and Confluent Health, which owns physical therapy practices across the country and Evidence in Motion (EIM), a post-professional educational institution. Tobin is currently Chief Development Officer for Fit for Work. “Our services prevent employee injury and illness while shifting our client’s culture to one of employee health and prevention,” he says.
The holistic, “whole person” approach of occupational therapy drew Tobin to the profession, which enabled him to fulfill his dream of working in the healthcare field. He previously had served in the U.S. Army, volunteered with youths at an inpatient psychiatric facility and worked at an outpatient physical therapy practice.
Tobin urges occupational therapy students to avoid the urge to “slide by,” adding, “The healthcare field is rapidly changing and we need people that can adapt, create, and implement changes that grow our field, are evidence-based, and differentiate our service model and/or career field.” He also strongly advocates for students to actively seek out an understanding of the business of healthcare and credits the management and consultation course he took as an OT student for setting him on the path to success in his business career. “I still believe OT’s need to have a better understanding of the ‘business of healthcare’ so that we can better quantify and justify our services,” he says.
Tobin and his wife of 26 years, Sherri, have two children. When he was a new father, Tobin was diagnosed with Stage IV Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He found his experience as a patient gave him perspective and motivation to keep people out of “the system” through prevention, and he recalled an encounter with a patient early following a chemotherapy treatment drove that point home.
“During my evaluation, “John,” a big construction worker, just sat with his arms crossed glaring at me. I wasn’t sure if it was him or me just feeling sick, so I said, ‘Hey, I can’t help but notice that you don’t seem very interested in your evaluation…is there something wrong?’ He leaned across the table close to me and said, ‘All I want to do is provide for my family, and you’re keeping me from that, so the sooner we get this done the faster I can provide for my family.’ I was stunned, but at that moment I knew exactly how he felt and my passion for keeping workers at work was ignited.”
Tobin responded, “‘Hey, John, I know how you feel. Friday I had my first chemo session after finding out I have cancer. I have a 6-month-old daughter and all I want to do is watch her grow up. I promise you I’ll do everything I can to get you back to work and providing for your family.’”
What Tobin enjoys most about his career is the knowledge that prevention—through early engagement on leading indicators, relationship-building and evidence-based practice—keeps employees healthy and productive for the families and employers “and then go home safe because we’re there.”