Dr. Wade Rinehart, PT, DPT, owner
Dr. Wade Rinehart is known for the culture of caring he has created at First Choice Physical Therapy, and when you get to know him, you can see how deeply that commitment reaches into all aspects of his life.
Drawn to become a physical therapist initially because he wanted to help people, besides running First Choice PT, The Hyperbaric Centers of Excellence and MVP Sports Enhancement, he still manages time to use his skills in medical missions to help others less fortunate in developing countries around the world.
He dedicates much of his non-work time to working with area youth and serving in youth ministries since 1995, helping to teach music and live band dynamics and performance.
Dr. Rinehart began his professional training by achieving an A.A. at Gulf Coast Community College followed by studies at Florida State University where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition and Fitness. He achieved his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of St. Augustine.
He began his career working in outpatient orthopedics and that has been a focus of his entire career. He is particularly focused on spinal manipulation, myofascial release, and sports injuries.
He trained under many top ranking professors, but he says his most valued experience came under the training of Dr. Ronald Deem, DO, who taught him how to treat patients with respect, kindness and consideration along with providing them with the best possible medical care.
In 2002, he opened his own company and currently First Choice Physical Therapy has clinics in Lynn Haven and Panama City Beach.
A musician as well as a singer and songwriter, when he is not working he spends time teaching youth how to lead worship. He also loves to spend time with his family as they explore the world one vacation at a time.
He also enjoys playing golf, basketball and tennis and being outside. He has a hobby of collecting sunset pictures from all the places he has travelled. He also loves to cook and enjoys his food.
Dr. Brett Frank, PT, DPT, director
Brett became interested in a career in physical therapy when he was a young athlete who sustained a painful injury and was greatly assisted back to recovery by physical therapists.
He injured his back in high school and ruptured a lumbar disc, which required surgery. It was in the rehabilitation program following surgery that he worked with physical therapists and saw what an improvement they make in people’s lives.
In fact, he chose his current area of expertise, which is in dealing with sports injuries, because it gives him continued contact with athletes and people with active lifestyles.
Now director of First Choice Physical Therapy’s two clinics in Lynn Haven and Panama City Beach, Dr. Brett practices out of the town location.
He studied first at Gulf Coast State College, receiving his AA Pre-Physical Therapy, and then completed his Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from Florida A&M University in 1998. He received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of South Florida in 2013.
Currently he is working on additional certification as a Post-Injury Running Coach.
His specialties include myofascial manipulation, mobilization/manipulation of the spine, golf specific rehabilitation, and post-injury running.
Prior to working at First Choice Physical Therapy in 2003 he worked with a physical therapy and sports medicine clinic.
When he is not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two boy as well as playing golf and basketball, fishing and being near the water. He also helps to coach his son’s baseball and basketball teams. He is currently serving his second term on the board of the Bay Education Foundation.
Dr. Brannon Chester, PT, DPT
An avid outdoorsman, Brannon Chester fully appreciates the importance of being able to get to nature’s special places with full freedom of movement and lack of pain. He believes everyone should be able to pursue their interests and embrace a pain-free life as well, and that is what drew him to a career in physical therapy.
His passion now is to help others with musculoskeletal dysfunctions return to their previous level of function and restore their quality of life.
Working out of the First Choice Physical Therapy Clinic in Panama City Beach, he specializes in spinal manipulation, sports rehabilitation and spinal rehabilitation.
Dr. Chester began his education by achieving a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science at the University of West Florida in 2011, followed by obtaining his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at University of Saint Augustine in 2014. He trained under a spine specialist in Tennessee and took a sports residency in Jacksonville before joining First Choice PT in 2014.
He is certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED).
When he is not working, he enjoys bow hunting, fishing and spending time with his beautiful wife.
Dr. Johnny Gray, PT, DPT
Maggie Garbiec, PTA
Maggie Garbiec is an honor graduate of the 2009 Gulf Coast Physical Therapist Assistant Program with “Outstanding Physical Therapist Assistant Student Award”. Currently, she is interested in expanding her knowledge and experience in orthopedic therapy techniques, focusing on clinical application of myofascial manipulation.
Maggie is a Credentialed Clinical Instructor certified by APTA. She is an advocate for outdoor physical activities such as biking, hiking, kayaking and boating.
Prior to her career as a PTA, Maggie graduated from Silesian University in Poland with Master of Arts degree majoring in Polish Language and Literature. After graduation, she worked as a teacher and a newspaper editor in her native country.
Lauren Dupree, PTA
Growing up with a sister who was born with arthrogryposis, a disorder involving multiple joint contractures, Lauren Dupree was exposed to the career of being a physical therapist assistant at a young age.
She watched how extensive physical therapy played a big role in her sister learning to walk with the help of a walker and orthotics.
That, coupled with an urge to have a career that truly made a difference in the lives of others prompted Lauren to obtain her Associate of Science Degree (AS) in Physical Therapy Assistant in 2013 at Gulf Coast State College, Panama City.
Previously she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing and Minor in Communication in 2009 from Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.
She spent the next three years working with physical therapy and rehabilitation firms until 2016 when she joined First Choice Physical Therapy, working out of the Lynn Haven clinic.
When she is not working she enjoys spending time with her husband Michael and their young son, Noah. She also likes to attend the Lynn Haven United Methodist Church and enjoys playing tennis.
Ashley Carter, PTA
Born and raised right here in Panama City, Ashley Carter graduated from Gulf Coast’s PTA program in 2008 and joined the the First Choice family as a new grad. After a year on our team, she went on to peruse a 9 year career in home health gaining valuable knowledge in geriatric rehabilitation, and specializing in fall prevention and balance training. We were excited to welcome Ashley back to our team in 2018 and feel her attention to detail and skill set compliment our therapy family well.
Outside of the clinic, Ashley spends time with her husband, Adam and son, Cadence in the woods, on the water or on the little league baseball field. Every now and then, a lazy Saturday morning allows for watching HGTV while sipping coffee.
“I love helping people discover how exercise fits into their life and teaching them how to move confidently again. More moving equals more living, more memories and a better quality of life.”
Heath Walker, PTA
Heath is a native to the Panama City area and has been here his whole life. He graduated from Mosley High School in 2009. He enjoys spending time with family, game nights with friends, studying nutrition, and being outdoors.
He started Gulf Coast State College with an interest in Engineering however, the Lord changed his direction and gave him a desire to help people. Heath obtained his Associate of Science Degree (AS) in Physical Therapy Assistant in 2015 at Gulf Coast State College.
Heath joined our team in July of 2017. He feels laughter is the best medicine and important in the recovery of his patients, so expect to leave the clinic with a smile!
He has training in Myofascial Release and plans to further his knowledge in Manual therapy techniques with special interests in Shoulder and Spinal Rehabilitation.