The Physical Therapy Department offers a myriad of learning opportunities from participating in a student health services clinic to participating in research and attending scholarly lectures. Examples of education experiences are described below.
LEND Training Grant
Students in the DPT program are eligible to apply for a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) training grant which is funded by the Maternal & Child Health (MCH) Bureau. The LEND training grant (photo above) is open to 2nd year students with an interest in working with children and young adults who have neurodevelopmental disabilities. The LEND trainees commit 10 hours per week and participate in an integrated curriculum that is built around the MCHB leadership competencies including interdisciplinary collaboration, family centered care, and cultural competence. The LEND activities include clinical training, leadership training, community partnerships, and didactic coursework covering a wide range of topics related to neurodevelopmental and related disabilities.
PT Clinical Rounds
The Department of Physical Therapy holds a ‘grand rounds’ style presentation every week during the fall and spring terms. The purpose of PT Rounds is to engage students, faculty and other colleagues in a lively discussion on a number of topics related to contemporary and evidence based PT practice.The speakers present clinical cases, topical updates /overviews, and research reviews.
Performance Improvement Project
This is our Capstone Project. In the Evidence Based Practice series of classes, students learn to incorporate and apply the principles of EBP during daily care of patients. A unique component of the EBP series is a performance improvement project that is conducted during the student’s year-long clinical internship. The project requires students to collect and analyze clinical and process outcomes data over the course of care for all patients that they treat over a 3 month period during their year-long clinical internship. The data are than analyzed with the intent of critically evaluating their clinical performance. The focus of the analysis is on compliance with data collection, adherence to evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and a critical analysis of the outcomes achieved. Particular emphasis is placed on the student’s critical analysis of patients that did not attain a clinically meaningful outcome with the intent of improving future clinical performance. The results of the student’s critical appraisal of his/her performance are used to develop and implement an individualized performance improvement plan. The performance improvement plan should address what the student will do to achieve better clinical outcomes as well as how to improve the process for collection and analysis of clinical outcomes data. Data are then collected for a second 3 month period to determine the effectiveness of the performance improvement plan. This unique capstone project encourages students to embrace the principles of EBP and provides them with skills that are necessary for reflective practice and life-long professional development.
Participation in Research
A unique opportunity is available for DPT students in our department. Students can participate in ongoing research projects that are carried out by our faculty during the DPT program. This experience allows students who are interested in research to have a hands-on learning experience by actively participating in several aspects of basic, clinical and translational research.
The Scully Lectureship
Dr. Rosemary Scully, PT, EdD, FAPTA (pictured left) established an endowed visiting scholar program made possible through contributions in honor of her parents, Eleanor and Edward Scully. Her vision was to try to enrich the faculty, students, and the Pittsburgh physical therapy community by bringing in a guest who would stimulate the community to rethink and reevaluate their practice. Seven of the past 21 Scully lecturers have also received the Mary McMillan lectureship award, which is the highest award of the physical therapy profession.
The Scully lecturers who have spoken over the last 21 years are an illustrious group of physical therapists who have brought their sage advice and wisdom to the University of Pittsburgh community.
Professional Association Activities
Students have opportunities to attend various professional activities and meetings along with having several interactions with leaders in the field of physical therapy.