Mary Sheid Schrag is dedicated to life-changing difference-making that doesn’t fill days, but rather, fills needs.
The physical therapist, community leader and native Ozarker has spent the majority of her life serving her region. Those efforts go back to Schrag’s decision to become a physical therapist: It was a way she witnessed, as a 20-something hospital volunteer, to make a noticeable change in someone’s life.
A need for those services is why she came home to West Plains after receiving her PT degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. At the time, there were no such services available in the area, so she initially began a PT program at the local hospital.
That decision in turn led Schrag to open Physical Therapy Specialists Clinic, which she has owned and operated for more than 30 years. The clinic – one of only 75 in the world to be certified by the McKenzie International Institute – has locations in West Plains and Mountain Grove, and serves approximately 2,100 patients annually through more than 25,000 visits.
In the three decades since PTSC’s inception, Schrag has put a premium on offering optimal care as well as the profession’s development. She spent years on the Missouri Board of Healing Arts, and also was one of only two United States representatives on the seven-member International Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy Research Foundation. Through the latter, she helped raise $600,000 over six years to invest in the advancement of treatment options.
While there are literal ways Schrag works to serve – such as by helping patients improve their lives – she also makes a difference beyond both health care and the region’s borders.
She currently serves on the Missouri State Board of Education and is chair of the Legislative Priorities subcommittee. In connection with that work, Schrag is also a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission, the latter which will study ways to improve teacher recruitment and retention across the state. Just two other examples of her community service include the Missouri State University Foundation, where she serves as a trustee, as well as former roles on the Missouri State University Board of Governors.
These efforts and many others have been recognized with a variety of honors. She was given the Missourian Award in 2009, which only a few distinguished state residents receive each year, and was chosen as one of five “Women Who Mean Business,” by Biz 417 in 2022.
Other honors take her back to her roots. She was given the Bronze Lady International Excellence Award for Physical Therapy, which she received in Denmark in 2015, and was asked to give the commencement address at graduation for the University of Missouri School of Health Professions in May 2016.