Twenty CSUN Physical Therapy Students Take the Field at Dodger Stadium

Growing up a few miles outside of Dodger Stadium, second-year California State University, Northridge physical therapy student James Choe spent many memorable days cheering on the Los Angeles Dodgers from the stands.

On April 18, Choe achieved a childhood dream when he was one of 20 CSUN physical therapy students in the renowned doctorate program honored at Dodger Stadium. These students were recognized for being recipients of the prestigious Roy and Roxie Campanella Scholarship. The scholarship is provided by the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation and the Roy and Roxie Campanella Foundation every year to CSUN students in the Department of Physical Therapy.

The students walked on the field before the Dodgers played the Colorado Rockies and stood in front of loud cheers from more than 37,000 fans as an announcer listed off each of their names to the crowd.

“This was the closest I’ve ever been to the field,” Choe said. “I’m just speechless. The relationship the foundations have with the CSUN physical therapy department is special. The scholarship is for $1,000, so it was a significant portion that can help pay for tuition.”

Dodger legend Roy Campanella was injured in a car accident in 1958 that left him paralyzed from the neck down. After moving to the West Coast, he settled in the San Fernando Valley to pursue a second career in community relations for the Dodger organization. He also spent time mentoring young catchers during Spring Training for the Dodgers. He sought out physical therapy treatments to help him with his condition, which eventually led to his Campanella Foundation funding scholarships for physical therapy students.

“All my father cared about in terms of providing the scholarships was that he could reward and show his appreciation to students who were following their dreams of becoming physical therapists,” said Campanella’s daughter, Joni Campanella-Roan. “Physical therapists turned my dad’s life around and gave him the motivation to live. It meant everything to him to be able to provide an opportunity for people following in that field.”

Through the partnership between the Campanella Foundation and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation the number of recipients has grown by five every year since 2015, and is expected to grow to 25 by the fall. Campanella-Roan credited the increase to the success of CSUN’s physical therapy program.

“If my mother and father were alive today, they would be so thrilled to see how the number of recipients has grown,” Campanella-Roan said. “The program at CSUN provides [students] with so many tools. Adding five more recipients each year is such a great opportunity and I know it would mean the world to my parents.”

For honoree Catherine Soliva, the scholarship validated that her hard work throughout school has paid off.

“Having the support [from the scholarship] means a lot because it shows that so many people are behind us — parents, friends and now even the Dodgers,” Soliva said. “All of us here are very committed and excited about the profession.”

On top of the 20 scholarships provided to CSUN students, the Dodgers select one student from the program each year to intern with the team for eight weeks during Spring Training. This year’s intern, Ryan Yoshida, said the experience was incredible and extremely beneficial.

“I am very thankful for the opportunity through the CSUN physical therapy program,” Yoshida said. “I was able to learn so much and really gain an appreciation for the day-to-day events and work that go on with a Major League Baseball medical staff.”

Sharing in the students’ appreciation of the Roy and Roxie Campanella scholarship was College of Health and Human Development Dean Farrell Webb.

“I’m very grateful to the Dodgers organization and Joni [Campanella-Roan] because what they’ve done is more than just give scholarships to students,” Webb said. “They’ve opened up life opportunities, which is something very few people get.”

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Physical Therapy Services Department offers free sessions to students

By Jordan Renfroe, Staff Writer —

The Department of Physical Therapy Services is using their team of orthopedic experienced faculty and students involved in similar studies to offer free physical therapy sessions to students in need.

The program, managed by Assistant Professor Betsy Myers, not only allows students with early on injuries to be examined at no cost, but also allows students studying physical therapy to gain experience in helping patients.

The physical therapy program exposes practicing students to various cases in which they are able to execute real-life decision making skills related to patients. They are also given the opportunity to interact with multiple professionals, including nurses and nurse practitioners.

Myers felt that opening the pro-bono clinic was an adequate way to equip physical therapy students with non-traditional methods in preparation.

UTC will be able to provide a more gradual transition into the clinical arena by providing mentored real clinical practice with faculty precisely reinforcing examination procedures and interventions learned in the classroom,” Meyers says. “Student physical therapists benefit from having a consistent starting point entering patient care in an environment supported by faculty who understand the students’ academic preparedness to date.”

Myers believes in the importance of hands-on training for her physical therapy students, but feels that the services that are in turn provided to students are equally beneficial.

“We are consistent with the ‘Students first’ mentality of UTC. We meet the needs of students who otherwise might not have the funding or the time to see traditional physical therapy.” Meyers says. “In addition, the university community gets to see how addressing problems early on might make large changes and prevent issues from magnifying down the road.”

According to Myers, the program has helped work with over 50 patients, and has saved those individuals up to $11,000 dollars in medical costs.

The clinic is available for scheduling on Tuesdays from 8 am to 12 pm, and Thursdays from 1 pm, to 5 pm. Services are provided from January 10th, and end on April the 17th. To make an appointment, the clinic can be reached at 423-425-2266.

Alina Hunter-Grah

News Editor

Alina is a junior Communications major with a minor in Political Science from Clarksville, Tenn. Alina is also the official Chattanooga Correspondent for 2nd & Church, a literary magazine based out of Nashville, Tenn. Alina dreams of being an investigative journalist or political reporter.

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CSUN PT Students Encourage People With Limb Loss to Find New Independence

Community members came together with California State University, Northridge students and faculty from the Departments of Physical Therapy, Kinesiology and Family and Consumer Sciences on April 1 for the third annual Exercise Community Living in Prosthetics and Supporting Everyone (ECLIPSE) Symposium.

CSUN once again partnered with the Mutual Amputee Aid Foundation (MAAF) to offer a full day of educational sessions, networking and exercise clinics for people associated with the amputee community, in the Activity Center of Redwood Hall.

“CSUN is positioned to be a resource for this community. This event creates an opportunity for physical therapy students to learn about the issues and concerns of people with limb loss,” said physical therapy professor and event coordinator Victoria Graham. “The community members receive services during the day, and interact with experienced clinicians as well as students.”

The day began with a talk by guest speaker, Mark Muller, the Chair of the Orthotics and Prosthetics Department at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Muller delivered a speech that touched on the technology used for individuals dealing with limb loss, how people could find information about different outcome measures, the changes in the health care system in regard to benefits for patients and what resources are available to them through their insurance.

There was a short break after Muller’s presentation, then patients were given a tour of CSUN and participated in several warm-up exercises followed by an hour-long run clinic.

Noel Flannery, 49, who lost his leg following a head-on collision with a distracted driver, participated in the run clinic.

“It’s been outstanding and great fun,” Flannery said. “I think it’s very beneficial to connect both the people going out into the field and the people that need the assistance.”

After lunch, patients and family members were given a tour of the CSUN Center of Achievement (Brown Center) through the Adapted Physical Activity facility.

In the Center, patients rotated every 30 minutes between exercise training sessions such as inter-professional gait analysis, functional testing lab, agility training or balance and strengthening exercise for prosthetic users.

Melissa Villa, 36, decided amputation was the best option when doctors told her she developed osteomyelitis after her hardware became infected with a staph infection after she was discharged from a routine operation.

Villa, who attended ECLIPSE for the first time this year, said she appreciated how CSUN students made her feel encouraged and supported throughout the event.

“I’ve been to another event and they’re very nice, but it really feels more like a community [here],” said Villa.

The day wrapped up with patients having the opportunity to meet with clinicians to go over the course, get feedback and take a post test for their professional Continuing Education (CE) credit.

Melissa Flores, a lead third year physical therapy student, helped organize the event sessions and found ECLIPSE to be helpful for both physical therapy students and amputees.

Flores said, “I really love that we are able to bring in patients as physical therapy students. We are able to see patients who have amputated limbs and are able to practice evaluating them, treating them and strengthening them. It’s really cool to work with patients and hear their story.”

For more information, visit the ECLIPSE website.

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Husson Physical Therapy Students Host 19th Annual Wheelchair Hoops Tournament

Husson Physical Therapy Students Host 19th Annual Wheelchair Hoops Tournament

Husson hosted its 19th annual wheelchair basketball tournament. There are 6 years of classes of physical therapy students who are separated by their grades into teams. The favorites, The Wheelers, a professional traveling team in the field again. The tournament is played to give experience and education for the P.T. students. It also raises money for Bangor’s Alpha One Center for Independent Living.

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Husson University Physical Therapy Students to Hold Wheelchair Basketball Fundraising Event

The 19th Annual Wheelchair Basketball Tournament will be at Husson University’s Newman Gymnasium on March 25, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. (noon). This community event pits students, faculty members, and professional wheelchair basketball players against each other in a tournament that helps raise money for the Alpha One Center for Independent Living in Bangor, Maine.

Bangor, Maine (PRWEB) March 24, 2017

The members of Husson University’s Organization of Physical Therapy Students (OPTS) are hosting their 19th Annual Wheelchair Basketball Tournament at Newman Gymnasium on March 25, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. (noon).

“This community event pits students, faculty members, and professional wheelchair basketball players against each other in a tournament that helps raise money for the Alpha One Center for Independent Living in Bangor,” said Spencer Philips, Husson University physical therapy student and president of OPTS. “Fellow students and Bangor residents should make a point to join us at this event. It’s a supportive and fun afternoon that helps people with disabilities live more independently.”

As part of this exhibition, a team comprised of Husson University physical therapy students will play against a professional wheelchair basketball team called “The Wheelers.”

In addition, members of OPTS will raffle off door prizes from local area companies during the event. Anyone attending this event can purchase raffle tickets. Individuals must be present to win. Raffle tickets cost $1 for one, $3 for five or $10 for an “arm’s length.”

“Physical therapy is more than exercises and repetitions. It’s about helping people live their lives to the fullest,” said Philips. “Part of our mission as physical therapy students is to find ways to help each individual enhance their quality of life through healthy movement, interaction, and good choices. When you encourage change in an individual, you encourage change in society. Collectively we can be a powerful force for helping people lead fulfilled lives.”

If you need more information about the event, please contact Spencer Philips at 703-851-1903 or philipss(AT)

Husson University’s Organization of Physical Therapy Students promotes academic excellence, public service, and professional networking through a series of meeting and fundraising events. The group is dedicated to promoting healthy life styles, raising awareness of disability-related issues and encouraging professionalism within the discipline of physical therapy.

OPTS members are all students in the School of Physical Therapy at Husson University. This School is dedicated to developing skilled and knowledgeable practitioners who can work with clients on an independent and collaborative basis. Husson’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program consists of a three-year pre-professional phase, followed by a three-year professional phase. Husson also offers a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology.

The School of Physical Therapy is part of Husson University’s College of Health and Education. Offering degrees in counseling, nursing, physical therapy and occupational therapy, the College of Health and Education helps prepare students for professional success in a variety of healthcare careers.

For more than 100 years, Husson University has prepared future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent superior value in higher education. Our Bangor campus and off-campus satellite education centers in Southern Maine, Wells, and Northern Maine provide advanced knowledge in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. In addition, Husson University has a robust adult learning program. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit

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Physical Therapy Students Translate Care for Spanish-Speaking Patients

Although Mitchell Rausch took Spanish in high school, he still struggled to communicate with the Spanish-speaking clients at the orthopedic practice where he worked in Flower Mound, Texas.

Rausch, a physical therapy technician for two years, asked coworkers for help if a client was unaccompanied by a family member or friend who spoke English.

“Working with patients, you want to try to make them feel as comfortable as you can,” said Rausch, a first-year student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program at The University of Texas at El Paso. “And when you can’t speak their language, it’s very difficult to get on that personal level with them.”

In an effort to improve communication between physical therapists and Spanish-speaking patients, the UTEP DPT program integrates Spanish training across its curriculum. It is the only one out of 230 physical therapy programs in the United States to do so, said Celia Pechak, Ph.D., interim associate program director for the program.

Language barriers not only prevent patients from having productive conversations with their health care providers, they can also increase the risk of medication errors and unnecessary procedures.

“In orthopedics, if patients go through certain surgeries, you have to be able to tell them what not to do,” explained Sandra G. Terrazas, an adjunct faculty member in UTEP’s DPT program. “For example, if your patient has a fractured leg, and if you can’t tell them not to put any weight on their leg, or to only put a fraction of their weight on it, then they’re going to fracture their leg again.”

According to the Pew Research Center, 12.5 million Hispanics in the United States in 2013 said they speak English but rate their speaking ability as less than “very well.”

The U.S. Census estimates that 31 percent of the population in El Paso County speaks English less than “very well.”

“Communication is the foundation of the therapeutic relationship between clinicians and their patients,” Pechak said. “It affects patient satisfaction and positive outcomes.”

Spanish Class

Because Spanish language proficiency varies widely among students, the DPT program’s Spanish Medical Terminology course is divided into three sections: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Students are grouped according to their level of proficiency.

The course is not meant to prepare students to become fluent Spanish-speakers. Instead, it is designed to improve proficiency in specific Spanish medical terminology commonly used in physical therapy practice. They learn to translate anatomy and general questions, such as, “How are you feeling?/¿Cómo se siente?” and “Where do you feel the pain?/¿Donde siente el dolor?”

“Knowing how to correctly pronounce a medical term was a huge help and really helps you bond with patients when you can explain a complicated diagnosis or procedure to them in their native language,” said Sandra Walker, a DPT student who was born in El Paso and raised speaking Spanish. “It allows the patient to have a greater role in their care when a physical therapist or health care professional knows how to exactly translate what they will need.”

Spanish classes are taught at Spectrum Therapy Consultants and Spectrum Fitness, a rehab clinic and fitness center in El Paso, where students practice their Spanish doing mock evaluations with former Spectrum patient volunteers who reenact their health conditions.

“This really helped integrate what we learned in our Spanish Medical Terminology course and connect it to real life scenarios,” said DPT student Taylor Molnar, an Ohio native who never spoke Spanish until she came to El Paso. “The fact that this program had Spanish integrated into their DPT curriculum is one of the main aspects that really attracted me to UTEP’s program.”

Students also practice their Spanish in other DPT courses, like Pechak’s Cardiopulmonary Patient Management course during the spring semester. The lab portion of the course takes place in UTEP’s simulation center in the Health Sciences and Nursing Building. The students first learn and practice their clinical skills in English, then they practice with each other in Spanish.

“Being able to just introduce yourself in Spanish to the patient reduces language barriers and increases the trust the patient has for you,” said Nick Lehker, an intermediate Spanish speaker who expects to graduate from the DPT program in May 2018.

Research Opportunity

According to Pechak’s research, the training appears to be working. Data collected from the DPT class of 2016 revealed that the majority of students self-reported that their Spanish had improved since the start of the program.

Thirty-two students took a Spanish vocabulary pretest when they started the program and a posttest when they were halfway through the program. They also answered a questionnaire about how they felt about Spanish being part of the curriculum.

The posttest showed that students improved in their speaking, reading, writing and understanding of Spanish. They also had a positive attitude about learning Spanish.

“Students thought they would be better physical therapists,” said Evelyn Villarreal, an undergraduate research assistant who helped Pechak analyze the data. The research was part of Villarreal’s project for UTEP’s Campus Office of Undergraduate Research Initiatives (COURI). “We have data supporting that they themselves are thinking or feeling like they’re actually improving and benefiting from it.”

Villarreal, who will start the DPT program in May, is the lead author on a manuscript she and Pechak wrote about the research, which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Physical Therapy Education.

As part of her research, Pechak and her colleague Loretta Dillon, DPT, interim DPT program director, hope to create a standardized tool that would allow faculty to determine a student’s Spanish proficiency, instead of relying on students’ personal assessments.

But students like Rausch, who are learning to speak Spanish, already see the benefits.

“I’m not advanced by any means, but I noticed each semester I’m starting to at least understand more words,” Rausch said. “With this knowledge, we have a foundation to have some sort of a conversation that would help (patients) realize that we’re trying to communicate with them in a language that is most comfortable to them.”

Author:  Laura L. Acosta – UTEP Communications

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St. E. Healthcare hosts physical therapy students in friendly ‘Crosstown Splint Off’ competition

St. Elizabeth Healthcare invited students from Mt. St. Joseph University’s physical therapy (PT) program, Xavier University’s occupational therapy (OT) program, and the University of Cincinnati’s physical therapy (PT) program to duel in plastic at the sixth annual “Crosstown Splint Off.” The competition was held at Mt. St. Joseph University physical therapy department in Delhi.

The winner was the University of Cincinnati and its entry “Healthcare in Sync.” Xavier University was runner up with its entry “Occupations in a 3D Printed World.”

Physical therapy students from the University of Cincinnati take home first place for their entry “Healthcare in Sync” in the 2017 Crosstown Splint Off.

“Many of these students have no idea how to use splinting materials when they start helping patients,” said Meg Robinson, St. Elizabeth occupational therapist and certified hand therapist. “This friendly competition will give them a chance to feel comfortable with the material before having to put it on a person.”
Occupational therapists use activity and exercise to help patients restore ability to return to work or job duties and improve self-care skills following an injury or illness. Recovery often includes splinting. Physical therapists also may have to splint a patient.
“It’s tricky to use thermoplastic because it hardens quickly. You have to form the splint material to conform to a particular body part during the three to five minutes that the material is flexible. You wait too long and you have to reheat or the splint might not fit,” said Robinson, who noticed students struggling to shape splints during yearly lectures at Xavier University. “We want therapy students to feel more comfortable with splinting, learn the basic qualities of various splint materials and most of all not be so nervous, and have fun!”
The three- to five-member teams that competed in the Splint Off built a sculpture that represented “technological advances in health care.” Each project had to include three different splint materials (Polyform™, Ezeform™ and Aquaplast™) and no more than four non-splint components. Projects demonstrated the draping, molding, and bonding ability of the materials, included a cylinder or curved structure, contained some square edges, and represented the Splint Off theme. The structures were judged on uniqueness and originality, aesthetic and professional quality (smoothness, neatness, craftsmanship), materials selection, complexity and intricacy. Judges included representatives from each school, St. Elizabeth Hand Therapy and two guest judges

Students from Mt. St. Joseph University, Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati win the “hands on” splinting event with their Cincinnati chili-themed sculpture.

Xavier had 36 students and nine teams. Mount Saint Joseph had 37 students and eight teams The University of Cincinnati had 23 students and six teams. This year featured a “hands on” splinting event, where five teams of three students (one member from each school) had 30 minutes to fabricate on the spot a sculpture with a specific theme in front of the audience. The “Skyline Chili” sculpture won the hands on competition with the theme Cincinnati food.
Xavier’s graduate OT program includes classroom and field-work experience, as does Mt. St. Joseph’s PT program and the University of Cincinnati’s PT program. Most OT and PT graduates are quite likely to land a job after graduation.

St. Elizabeth Healthcare operates seven facilities throughout Northern Kentucky and more than 115 primary care and specialty office locations in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. St. Elizabeth is sponsored by the Diocese of Covington and is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. For more information, visit

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Arcadia graduates Doctor of Physical Therapy students | Communities

Arcadia University awarded degrees to 98 Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students last month. The DPT Class of 2017 has engaged in patient care both locally and abroad through clinical programs designed to provide students hands-on experiences. The DPT program at Arcadia is a two-year degree track that is ranked second in Pennsylvania and 20th in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report.

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Physical therapy, medical students join forces to learn to improve treatment services

Physical therapy students at Central Michigan University recently joined forces with students from the university’s college of medicine to explore how professionals across the health care industry can work together to improve patient treatment.

Second-year students divided into small groups with their peers from The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions to learn how to assess musculoskeletal injures in their patients.

With guidance from faculty, students from the physical therapy doctoral program assisted fell CMED students to learn how to conduct a basic examination looking for common signs of pain, weakness, range of motion loss or injury.

It was a chance for participants to practice their skills and use the knowledge passed on to them during classes.


Megan Jones, a second-year physical therapy doctoral student from Macomb, said the experience was a nice refresher course and she enjoyed helping other students.

“It was nice, too, for us because we are done with our orthopedic semesters so it was nice to go back and review things,” she said. “It made me feel good about myself to be able to teach others.”

Kristen Dreyer, a second-year physical therapy student from Gaylord, said working with students from different fields made them work on their communication skills.

“Working with somebody else who does have that medical knowledge — but not in the same field as we do — made us work on simplifying our language to work with patients, too,” she said.

Dreyer added that it’s a good opportunity to meet people and build relationships.

“Doctors are the main source of patient referrals, so it’s nice to start building connections with the people who will be referring patients to us in the future,” she said.

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