The UTC Department of Physical Therapy recently hosted their annual Physical Therapy Forum, with over 250 in attendance.
The Forum is co-hosted with Chattanooga State’s Physical Therapy Assistant program, and has occurred for approximately 20 years out of the UTC PT doctoral program’s 26 years of existence. In addition to faculty and students from UTC and Chattanooga State, the Forum also invites all clinic sites that provide supervision to our students.
“Students from UTC and Chattanooga State are able to come together and to have lunch with clinical instructors from all across SE TN region, and the students and the physical therapy community are able to hear from a nationally recognized speaker,” said Dr. Debbie Ingram, PT, EdD, FAPTA, Head of the Department of Physical Therapy.
Every year, the Forum honors one UTC PT alumnus with the Alumni Achievement Award. This year’s recipient was Susie Thompson, current president of the UTC Physical Therapy Alumni Association.
Thompson, along with her friend Gigi Logan, saw a significant need in the community for patients who were discharged to their homes but could not afford necessary medical equipment like tub chairs, walkers, and wheelchairs.
The two approached Chattanooga Goodwill Industries in 2000 to institute Goodwill’s Health Equipment Link Program services (HELPs), which collects, repairs, sanitizes, and provides needed durable medical equipment at no cost to individuals in need. Goodwill of Chattanooga’s HELPs program is the only one of its kind in the Greater Chattanooga area and within the Goodwill International network. Over 24,000 people have received medical equipment from Goodwill HELPs – 6,126 in 2014 alone.
“We selected Susie for our alumni of the year award because of the great work she has done and continues to do in the community,” Ingram said.
This year’s speaker was Dr. Corrie Odom, the Director of Clinical Education at Duke University and the past Chairman of Clinical Education for the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)
“We were excited to have Dr. Odom speak, because she is considered a leader in physical therapy clinical education,” said Ingram.
Odom discussed Duke’s method for delivering clinical experiences, where they send multiple students into the clinical setting with a single clinical instructor. Ingram explained that physical therapy clinical education has been a 1:1 model, where one instructor takes one student.
“What the literature is indicating is that this peer learning model, where you send multiple students with a single instructor, has similar outcomes as the 1:1 model. The advantage for the academic institution is the ability to place more students at fewer sites. The advantage for the clinic sites is that they may have one person who is working with the students at a time,” Ingram said.
“The model has been fully implemented at Mayo, with a 1:5 model, where a single instructor has five students at all times. And they recognize that while that instructor may have a reduced caseload in the beginning, the students are able to take on more responsibility of the care of the patients as time goes on, and the instructor can manage more patients,” continued Ingram. “We asked Dr. Odom to come because we see this model seldom used in the Chattanooga community, and we are wanting to encourage our clinic sites to consider it.”
The Forum traditionally hosts nationally recognized speakers in the physical therapy field, including presidents of APTA.
View photos of the event below.