The Belmont University School of Physical Therapy recently hosted two health professionals from Istituto Prosperius Tiberino, a 75-bed rehabilitation hospital in Umbria, Italy. Since 2012, nine Belmont physical therapy students have completed a clinical affiliation at the hospital and three more students are scheduled for an 8-week clinical affiliation during the spring of 2015.
Istituto Prosperius provides both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation for patients with neurological and orthopedic disorders and injuries in a team model of care which includes physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech/language pathologists, nurses, art therapists, psychologists and social workers. The Istituto staff conducts ongoing research projects and pilots technological devices for the rehabilitation of neurological patients. The hospital serves as one of leading centers in Italy using robotic therapy to assist in ambulation for patients with spinal cord injuries. The facility also houses two large therapy pools for patients, one equipped with underwater steppers and treadmills.
Visiting Belmont were Dr. Paolo Milia, the Chair of the Department of Neurology and Neuro-rehabilitation Research at Istituto Prosperius, and Mike Arnall, a physical therapist and President of Eduglobal Associates. Dr. Milia completed his medical degree at G. D’Annunzio University in Chieti, Italy has earned a PhD in neurological research from the University of Perugia in Italy. Mr. Arnall founded Eduglobal in 2006 when he began developing clinical education opportunities for American physical therapy students. His company coordinates the selection, placement, orientation and evaluation of the physical therapy students with the numerous Italian clinical instructors on staff. Last year, 41 PT students completed clinical affiliations. Currently, 31 US physical therapy programs have contracts with Eduglobal.
During the visit, Dr. Milia and Mr. Arnall gave a presentation to physical therapy and occupational therapy faculty and students about Istituto Prosperius, his typical caseload and robotic therapy research projects, including videos of patients using the Eksoskeleton. They met with Schools of Occupational Therapy, Nursing and Pharmacy to explore the possibility of students from those programs affiliating at the rehabilitation hospital in the future. Meetings were also scheduled with our community partners to explore expanded roles and partnerships including Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center and Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital.
A highlight of the visit was meeting Michael Goldfarb, PhD, Chair of Mechanical Engineering Department at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Goldfarb chaired the design team for the Indego, a new compact and portable robotic device that integrates electrical stimulation to allow patients with spinal cord injury and stroke to walk independently. Dr. Milia is interested in participating in research of the product at Istituto Prosperius when it is available.
Two Belmont alumnae and one current Belmont student were recently contestants on the game show “Family Feud.” Sarah Morgan is a School of Nursing alumna, and Bethany Thomas graduated from Belmont’s physical therapy program. Lindsey Thomas is currently enrolled in the pharmacy program at Belmont. All three women are also related to Professor of Media Studies Dr. Rich Tiner.
The family auditioned in June at the Hotel Preston in Nashville. The Thomas family episode was taped this summer and aired this past Tuesday.
Dr. Pat Sells, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy, lent his expertise to a recent story posted in Nashville Medical News about a new Tennessee law designed to reduce youth sports concussions. The story, Identifying & Preventing Concussions Now a Statewide Effort, written by Melanie Kilgore-Hill is linked here. Dr. Sells' comments from the story are included below.
While the law is a step in the right direction, Belmont University professor and exercise physiologist Patrick Sells, DA, said getting athletes to actually fess up to possible injury is the toughest part.
“Kids are hesitant to tell you if they took a blow to head because they know what the ramifications are and how long they could be out of the game,” Sells said. “I’ve seen kids go head-to-head or head-to-ground with no headache reported and find out later on they were afraid of the repercussions. That’s the competitive spirit of an athlete – they don’t want to quit because of injury … so as a parent, coach or doctor, you have to take measures to get kids to buy into this.”
Sells said it’s essential to educate athletes on the importance of telling an adult when something isn’t right. He stresses to students, parents and coaches the importance of being able to identify key symptoms including headache, confusion, difficulty remembering or paying attention, balance problems or dizziness, loss of consciousness, feeling sluggish, nausea or vomiting, or blurry vision. He also encourages parents to understand the qualification of the league and the system children are playing under and to take the time to verify the coaches understand risks and Tennessee’s newest sports concussion law.
Identifying and preventing concussions is of special interest to Sells, who has performed baseline tests on local youth football leagues pre- and post-season to determine changes in memory recall. He said several area schools are wising up and offering similar testing to athletes as a standard practice. Another tool used to gauge players’ health is a specially designed football helmet that measures the G-force behind each hit.
“It’s ultimately the responsibility of the school, athletic league and state organization to ensure coaches are knowledgeable about designing safer practices, hydration, and concussion signs and symptoms,” Sells said. “Coaches especially need to be well versed in a multitude of assessments in order to make that decision as there’s not one certain way to tell if a player might be in trouble.”
Ashley Barrett is the 2014-15 recipient of the David G. Greathouse Physical Therapy Scholarship. The award is designated for a rising third-year PT student who demonstrates leadership, scholarship and exemplary clinical performance within the program and who has a minimum grade point average of 3.7.
From 1996-2005, Dr. Greathouse served as the founding chair and associate dean of the Belmont University School of Physical Therapy. Currently, he serves as Director of Clinical Electrophysiology Services at Texas Physical Therapy Specialists in New Braunfels, TX.
Barrett joins four previous recipients of the Greathouse Scholarship: Ashley Campbell in 2010-11, Megan Tisdale in 2011-12, Stacey Lindsley in 2012-13 and Jordan Floyd in 2013-14. She was featured earlier this year in a story (linked here) about building a ramp for a PT patient
Suzanne Greenwalt, an instructor in the School of Physical Therapy, recently received certification as a Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Specialist from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS). ABPTS is the national governing body for certification of clinical specialists in physical therapy. Less than 200 physical therapists are certified in this particular specialty and Professor Greenwalt is the first PT in the state of Tennessee to gain this credential.
“It’s quite an accomplishment,” said Dr. Renee Brown, the Chair of Belmont’s School of Physical Therapy, “and it’s great for our program. The knowledge and experience she has gained will enhance her teaching and benefit our students. We congratulate her.”
Dr. Cathy Hinton, professor of physical therapy, recently received the 2014 Carol Likens Award (CLA) presented by the Tennessee Physical Therapy Association (TPTA). The award is given annually to a TPTA member who has provided exceptional service to the profession of physical therapy. Dr. Hinton served two terms as president of TPTA and currently serves the state chapter as State License Board Liaison. The Likens award is named for its first recipient who served the chapter as president from 1985 to 1995 and whose vision, leadership and commitment to the profession brought the TPTA through one of its greatest periods of growth and service to members.
The Inman Health Sciences Building became a workshop and playground on Thursday as part of an international project to promote pediatric mobility. University of Delaware physical therapy professor Cole Galloway and his Pediatric Mobility Lab and Design Studio bought to Belmont Go Baby Go, a program that teaches adults how to modify existing toy cars in a few hours to make them functional for children with disabilities.
Eight families and their therapists from Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia worked alongside Belmont occupational therapy and physical therapy students and alumni to learn how to modify toys and the logistics of the Go Baby Go program. Together, they altered Fisher Price Lightning McQueen red cars with Velcro, PVC pipes, pool noodles and kickboards to create wheelchair-like toys. The cars also function as physical therapy devices to teach strength and balance while allowing the disabled children to socialize with other children their age. Through constraint-induced therapy, the children are motivated to use their weaker muscles to gain independence and operate the toys, which by nature are fun. Buttons were moved so that the toy car moves only when a girl with cerebral palsy holds her head up or a boy with a spinal cord injury stands.
Belmont University School of Physical Therapy has received a 2014 nomination for the Mary Catherine Strobel Civic Volunteer Group Award presented by HCA/TriStar Health. Final awards were presented at an event hosted earlier this week by Hands On Nashville, Middle Tennessee's largest volunteer resource center. "We're honored to acknowledge your tireless commitment to enhancing our community's quality of life," stated Brian Williams, President & CEO of Hands On Nashville.
Receiving the nomination was Dr. Mike Voight, Professor of Physical Therapy, who helps lead PT student participation in community service throughout the year, which includes providing logistical coordination for annual events such as Dierks Bentley's Miles & Music for Kids to benefit Vanderbilt Children's Hospital and the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure in Nashville.
Dr. Pat Sells, associate professor of physical therapy, and a group of doctoral PT students from Belmont University are in the midst of conducting research on how multiple sub-concussive hits affect children ages 5 to 12. The research team has enlisted The Brentwood Blaze, a youth football organization, for study participants, and those efforts were recently featured in an article on the Brentwood Home Page. The article, written by Jonathan Romeo, is linked here with an excerpt below.