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  • Sites Selected for First Phase of Physical Therapist Education Study

    APTA researchers Gail Jensen, PT, PhD, FAPTA, Jan Gwyer, PT, PhD, FAPTA, Laurita M. Hack, PT, DPT, MBA, PhD, FAPTA, Elizabeth Mostrom, PT, PhD, and Terry Nordstrom, PT, EdD, recently selected 2 academic and 2 clinical sites for the first phase of their project Physical Therapist Education for the 21st Century (PTE-21).

    MGH Institute of Health Professions, in Boston, and the University of Delaware, in Newark, will serve as the project's academic sites. Good Shepherd Penn Partners, in Philadelphia, and Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, in Lincoln, Nebraska, will serve as the clinical sites for the project.  

    "We received excellent nominations from multiple academic programs and clinical sites," said Jensen, who is the project's lead investigator. "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." Jensen is faculty associate in the Center for Health Policy and Ethics at Creighton University. She also is dean of the university's graduate school, associate vice president of academic affairs, and professor of physical therapy, School of Pharmacy and Health Professions.

    Research team visits to the sites will be made over the next 9 months. These visits will include 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).

    The group 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 funding is the result of a request for proposal (RFP) for "Innovation and Excellence in Academic and Clinical Education Funding" developed by APTA and announced in November 2010. The RFP was targeted at stakeholder groups throughout the profession.  

    Gwyer is professor and vice chief of education in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Division at Duke University; Hack is professor emeritus, Temple University; Mostrom is professor and director of clinical education at Central Michigan University; and Nordstrom is chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at Samuel Merritt University. 

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