Texas Woman’s University has been awarded $388,015 from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Minority Health Research and Education Grant Program to establish and maintain clinical rotation sites in underserved communities for physical therapy and other health sciences students.
The grant will fund the project at the TWU Institute of Health Sciences-Houston Center from September 2017 to August 2019. TWU Houston’s School of Physical Therapy’s Alex Ortiz, PT, Ph.D., professor, and Peggy Gleeson, PT, Ph.D., associate director at Houston, will act as project director and co-project director respectively. Jennifer Bogardus, PT, MPT, Ph.D. (c), assistant clinical professor, will serve as the project coordinator.
“Our plan is to establish 10 new clinical sites in the Rio Grande Valley and West Texas where our DPT [doctor of physical therapy] students can perform their clinical rotations,” says Bogardus. “Our primary goal for the project is to encourage high quality clinicians into communities that they may not have considered for employment and to help provide quality care to underserved areas.”
Texas Woman’s DPT students participate in several clinical rotations lasting from six to 12 weeks at a variety of sites including clinics, hospitals and rehabilitation facilities, so that they may integrate the classroom material into patient practice.
“Literature supports the concept that graduates are more likely to accept initial professional positions at facilities where they had clinical experiences during their professional program. They develop relationships with both patients and professional colleagues during their internships,” said Gleeson. “By providing students opportunities to complete clinical internships in underserved areas, we hope to increase the likelihood that they will return to those areas upon graduation.”
While the project primarily targets physical therapy students, there will be opportunities for collaboration with other students enrolled in occupational therapy, speech therapy and nutrition programs at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
For the 2017-2019 cycle, the Minority Health Research and Education Grant Program funded four universities including Texas Woman’s, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, The University of Texas at El Paso and the University of North Texas.
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