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A Decade of Doctors: Celebrating 10 years of USciences’ Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree

By Jenna Pizzi

DPT 10th Anniversary
DPT 10th Anniversary Continuing Education Event:
The event featured continuing education opportunities for those interested in either an orthopedic or neurologic tract.
Orthopedic focused sessions were: “Patellofemoral Pain from Adolescence to Arthritis” and “How to get your athlete’s groove back: Maximizing the rehab response by optimally managing healing tissues, training effort, and physiological load and the decision for safe clearance for return to sports.”
The neurologic tract included one session, during the same timeframe, titled “Organizing Patient Interventions to Maximize Activity and Participation in People with Stroke.”
The course provided five hours of physical therapy continuing education credit for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.
A toast and photo celebrating the physical therapy program at the alumni reception following the course.
University of the Sciences’ Physical Therapy department celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program this year by looking back on the evolution of the program and the success of its alumni, students, and faculty. 
The anniversary was marked by a continuing education event hosted by the Physical Therapy Department on Nov. 5, 2016 during Alumni Reunion and Fall Fest weekend. 
In the 10 years since the inception of the doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program at USciences, much has changed in the world of healthcare and physical therapy. The DPT program has evolved with those changes to ensure graduates are well positioned for a rewarding career, said Marc Campolo, PT, PhD, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy.
“Over the last decade, the program has grown and evolved to keep up with the rapidly expanding physical therapy profession,” said Dr. Campolo.
In 2006, when the inaugural class entered the DPT program, the American Physical Therapy Association was promoting the vision that all physical therapists should be autonomous practitioners with doctoral degrees, giving them the ability to see patients without physician referral by 2020. The field moved more quickly than anticipated. By 2014, legislation had been passed in every state in the U.S. to make it possible, in some degree, for patients to see physical therapists without a physician referral.
The USciences DPT program was also ahead of this curve, offering an innovative curriculum which was adapted to reflect a diverse, complex, and evolving healthcare system, said Dr. Campolo.
When the DPT program started, there were 29 students enrolled. Today, there are 80 students in each class and 240 students enrolled in the program. This expansion reflects the growing need for physical therapists, a demand which is projected to increase by 34 percent over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The employment rate for graduates of USciences’ DPT program is 100 percent six months after graduation.  
The program has bolstered its curriculum over the last decade, incorporating new topics to address the evolving science of physical therapy, said Dr. Campolo. Classes on topics such as vestibular rehabilitation, concussion management, and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization have been added as new research emerged.
The department has also expanded interprofessional opportunities such as those with University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and students enrolled in other programs at USciences.  The Interprofessional Education Complex (IPEX) opened in the fall of 2015, providing students with expanded classroom and laboratory space and allowing them the opportunity to use the latest in technology.
The use of evidenced based medicine and hands on research has expanded since the inception of the program. Faculty and students work with state-of-the-art equipment in the Motion Analysis Laboratory, the BTE Technologies Rehabilitation Research Laboratory, as well as in the Patricia Leahy Rehabilitation Laboratory. Approximately 25 percent of faculty-student research is accepted for presentation at local and national conferences.
USciences faculty have presented nationally and internationally, and are board certified specialists in geriatrics, pediatrics, orthopedics, sports, and cardiopulmonary therapy. Many have been with the University since the start of the DPT program, including Carol Maritz PT, PhD; Lora Packel, PT, PhD; Greg Thielman, PT, ATC, EdD, and Margie Roos PT, DPT, PhD.
DPT students demonstrate excellence in patient care and their USciences education makes them lifelong learners who take on leadership positions in their professional communities, Dr. Campolo remarked. Dr.Campolo pointed to the success of physical therapy graduates who have earned specialty certifications, completed residencies, published research, and opened their own private practices. 
“We have been able to develop the program and curriculum in order to cultivate successful students who go on to be successful in their careers,” said Dr. Campolo.

Categories: News, Faculty, Alumni, Students, Academics, Event, Samson College, Department of Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy