The Road to Results: ASP’s Caio Sarmento on His Career Path, Future Goals

Like most anatomists, Caio Sarmento spent years getting to where he is today. He worked as a physical therapist, served as a graduate teaching assistant and graduate research assistant at the University of Kansas Medical Center for five years before joining the Department of Physical Therapy at California State University, Fresno in 2019 as an assistant professor teaching anatomy.

Sarmento, who has a Ph.D. in rehabilitation sciences from the University of Kansas Medical Center, researches the effectiveness of exercise interventions for the management of chronic pain conditions. His professional goal is to develop non-pharmacological intervention programs as an alternative treatment to opioid medications.

Today, Sarmento is learning to enjoy the journey rather than focusing on the destination. “I have been focusing and enjoying the time spent creating, studying, teaching, writing, etc., rather than solely relying on the results of such activities to be satisfied,” Sarmento said. “The feeling of receiving a teaching award may be terrific,” said Sarmento. “However, the daily efforts and experiences teaching and working closely with your students would bring a greater and unreplaceable sense of joy and satisfaction.”

Still, Sarmento has plenty of milestones to celebrate along that journey. In January 2021, he received the Provost’s Award in Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times recognition.

And this year, Sarmento become one of three scholars inducted into the new Anatomy Scholars Program (ASP), a program designed to support and increase retention of Underrepresented Minorities (URM) in STEM academia in the United States and Canada.

“All the aspects and activities of the program are very attractive,” he noted. “However, what stands out the most to me is the opportunity to receive mentorship from established scientists, along with the possibility to open a door for future collaborations.”

Meanwhile, Sarmento, who identifies as Latino, says his personal goal is to recruit more URM students into the physical therapy DPT program at Fresno State. That’s one reason the call for ASP cohorts resonated with him.

“The ASP application call was very appealing to me as the program would cover essential academic life topics such as grant-writing, work-life balance, and lab management,” Sarmento explained. “In addition, the goal of the ASP is to increase retention of Underrepresented Minorities (URM) in academia, which overlaps with my personal goal.”

He also has some advice for other young AAA members who are considering applying for a program, award or grant. “If you see any program that sparks your interest, do not hesitate. Go ahead and apply,” Sarmento said. “Make sure to prepare your application ahead of time before the submission due date. In my opinion, extra time revising your application before the deadline is one of the critical aspects of a successful application.”  

About the Anatomy Scholars Program

The goal of the Anatomy Scholars Program (ASP) is to support and increase retention of Underrepresented Minorities (URM) in STEM in academia in the US and Canada.

ASP applicants should be recently appointed faculty or individuals transitioning from either a terminal degree or a postdoctoral fellowship to an independent position as a faculty member in an anatomy-related field. A new cohort will be selected yearly from the pool of applicants. Scholars will participate in a two-year program of professional development activities.

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