PCOM Physical Therapy (DPT) Program
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is founded on the belief that optimal physical therapy is provided in a client-focused
environment in which the therapist assumes various roles including healthcare provider,
clinical educator, consultant, and advocate. With an emphasis on collaborative care,
physical therapists use theory and established scientific evidence as the foundation
for addressing the needs of the “whole person” (physical, psychological, cognitive,
spiritual, and socio-economic).
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During our three-year program, the Professional Engagement series is specifically
designed to help students understand all aspects of professionalism in health care.
In Professional Engagement I and II, students explore the concepts of professional
communication, ethics, and scope of practice. Through research and investigation,
students examine the role of government, the APTA, and other professional organizations
in health care. Students are also exposed to issues related to health disparities
that exist as a consequence of race/ethnicity, age, or socioeconomic status and learn
to address methods for implementing cultural humility and improving health literacy.
Professional Engagement III and IV advance student knowledge of healthcare policy,
emphasizing legal and ethical aspects of physical therapy practice management. Students
investigate social responsibility and advocacy for legislative change to state and
federal regulations related to the provision of healthcare services. Prior to graduation,
students formulate a ‘professional development plan’ for life-long learning and continued
professional engagement, which includes mechanisms for seeking collaborative partnerships,
community resources, and opportunities for professional service.
The Professional Engagement series builds on the content addressed in IPE 100 (Interprofessional
Education 100), in which physical therapy students interact with students from other
PCOM programs to address issues related to collaborative client management. The IPE
100 courses consist of six, two-hour sessions during year one. Through large and small
group discussions, students explore professional roles, team-work and leadership in
health care delivery, cultural and spiritual humility, social determinants of health,
and prescription/non-prescription drug abuse and addiction.
Interprofessional education is also emphasized in the clinical education component
of the curriculum. Students are required to interact with other health care providers
during all clinical experiences. Students document their interprofessional collaboration
in reflection papers summarizing what they learned from these encounters.
The goal of interprofessional education is to prepare physical therapy graduates to
recognize the need for client-centered practice and interprofessional collaboration
to improve the effectiveness of health care and quality of life for clients requiring