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Interprofessional Education 
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 health care 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 health care 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 health care 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 healthcare and quality of life for clients requiring health services.

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