Cedars-Sinai Blog

Faces of Cedars-Sinai: Jodi Hirata, Physical Therapist

Physical therapist Jodi Hirata at a Dodgers World Series game.

Meet Jodi Hirata! She's been working at Cedars-Sinai since she completed her master's in physical therapy at USC.

She helps patients in physical therapy navigate any curveballs their treatment might throw them. And recently, she got the chance to throw a curveball herself—tossing out the first pitch at a Dodgers game.

"So what if I throw it in the dirt? Even if I throw really well, it's not like they're going to offer me a contract!"

What do you do at Cedars-Sinai?

Jodi Hirata: I'm currently the assistant manager for outpatient physical therapy for orthopaedics patients.

I supervise our orthopaedic physical therapy clinic. I also still have the opportunity to treat patients from time to time. I support our therapists operationally to make sure their days run as smoothly as possible. I work with the front office so therapists can just focus on their patients.

When patients have questions about the process, I can explain to them how everything works without the pressure of having to run from appointment to appointment.

I also help match them up with a therapist who can give them the best possible experience. All of our therapists are excellent, so I'm looking at communication styles and other factors. That way, they don't just get the care they need, they also get care they enjoy.

What do you wish more people understood about physical therapy?

JH: The idea of "no pain, no gain" is not true. Sometimes, it might hurt a little bit, but it's not supposed to be flat-out painful. Everyone jokes that PT stands for "pain and torture." We therapists even joke about that, but it's not really true.

Physical therapists are movement analysts. We look to see how you're moving. And sometimes, we're detectives. If you have back pain, for example, we want to figure out what is causing it so we can treat it.

How do you unwind?

JH: I love to cook and bake. Someday, I want to win the Pillsbury Bake-Off. That's culinary immortality! You send in your recipe, they test it and decide which one they want to feature. I have some sweet dishes and a savory one in mind.

What's your favorite "hidden gem" in Los Angeles?

JH: There's an Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills that doesn't have Beverly Hills prices called Da Pasquale. It's amazing.

What do you geek out over?

JH: I am a huge sports fan.

Last year, I went to two World Series games. I was in the nosebleeds, but I was still in the stadium.

I'm a Dodgers fan, and earlier this season, I got to throw out the first pitch. I was nominated to do it because my executive and associate directors know I'm a die-hard Dodger fan and they wanted to highlight someone on our staff.

I've been with Cedars-Sinai for close to 24 years and worked my way from an entry-level physical therapist to management. I'm a good example of how someone can build a really great career here.

Any pitching advice?

JH: Practice some, but not as much as I did. I practiced so much I got a little tendonitis. Thank goodness I'm a PT! Practice enough that you get the mechanics of the throw.

Most importantly, keep it in perspective and enjoy the moment! I had to remind myself, "So what if I throw it in the dirt? Even if I throw really well, it's not like they're going to offer me a contract!"