Sites Selected for First Phase of Physical Therapist Education Study

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ALEXANDRIA, VA, June 27, 2012 – American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) member researchers recently selected 2 academic and 2 clinical sites for the first phase of a study, Physical Therapist Education for the 21st Century (PTE-21), a project to identify excellence and innovation in physical therapist academic and clinical education.

The selected academic sites are Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for the Health Professions, Boston, and the University of Delaware, Newark. Selected clinical sites are Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Philadelphia, and Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, Lincoln, Nebraska.  

Researchers are Gail Jensen, PT, PhD, FAPTA, faculty associate in the Center for Health Policy and Ethics at Creighton University and dean of the university's graduate school,  associate vice president of academic affairs, and professor of physical therapy in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions; Jan Gwyer, PT, PhD, FAPTA, professor and vice chief of education in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Division at Duke University; Laurita M. Hack, PT, DPT, PhD, MBA, FAPTA, professor emeritus, Temple University; Elizabeth Mostrom, PT, PhD, professor and director of clinical education at Central Michigan University; and Terry Nordstrom, PT, EdD, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at Samuel Merritt University.

According to lead investigator Jensen, "We received excellent nominations from multiple academic programs and clinical sites. The 4 sites selected will serve as foundational qualitative case studies that uncover and examine the crucial dimensions of excellence in physical therapist education across academic and clinical settings."

Researchers will visit the sites during the next 9 months to conduct individual and focus group interviews, observations, and document review focused on the teaching and learning that lead to effective preparation of physical therapists. These case findings will be used for a larger Delphi survey of academic and clinical education leaders that explores the feasibility of implementing specific changes consistent with excellence. The study also builds on the findings of the Carnegie Foundation's comparative study, Preparation for the Professions, involving 5 professions (clergy, engineering, law, medicine, and nursing).

Researchers will issue a final report on the first phase of the study in the fall of 2013. Also in 2013, Jensen and colleagues will begin fundraising for the second phase of the study that will include an additional 6 sites.  Phase I of the study is funded by a 2-year APTA award of $50,000.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) represents more than 80,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Learn more about conditions physical therapists can treat and find a physical therapist in your area at Consumers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@moveforwardpt) and Facebook.