Occupational and physical therapy students took their classroom learning outside during a community service project on Tuesday. During Wash and Roll, dozens of wheelchair users had their power chairs cleaned and serviced free-of-charge by students and faculty from Belmont’s Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy programs and local equipment dealers.
“This collaboration of physical therapy and occupational therapy was to get students involved in community service with an underserved population. Because once they get a wheelchair from insurance, they can get serviced once a year, but it is difficult to find place to get it done,” said Occupational Therapy Assistant Professor Teresa Plummer. “No one just cleans and services chairs, so families of people with medical disability have to do it on their own.”
The service is so rare that Barbara Pierce drove her husband, Marion, 90 miles from Winchester, Tenn. to Belmont’s campus to have his five-year-old wheelchair evaluated and cleaned.
Ms. Wheelchair America 2014 Jennifer Adams spoke to occupational therapy students about the “Inclusion Revolution” on Tuesday. The event was sponsored by the Belmont Student Occupational Therapy Association.
Adams is a successful 33-year-old businesswoman from Tacoma, Wash. She was born with partial limbs and has used a wheelchair her whole life. She grew up in a family of eight children after being adopted along with five of her siblings, all who had either Down syndrome or cerebral palsy.
“I believe that really set me up to grow up into the world with a view of diversity and to accept people from the inside first,” Adams said. “I attribute a lot to my parents.” Her adopted mother, Jeanne, is a family doctor in Chehalis, Wash.
The teasing she experienced in her youth led Adams to seek out ways to tell her story. For 17 years, she has been motivating others with her positive message. “We all have limitations,” said Adams in a recent interview with her hometown newspaper, The News Tribune, “but if you press beyond your limitations, that’s where fulfillment and life’s purpose lies.”
A radiant, high energy spokeswoman, Adams has experienced barriers to her passion in the mainstream art world due to her disability, but her goal is to encourage people to take their gifts and talents out into the world to break down barriers of discrimination. “When people with disabilities show the world our talents,” she says, “disabilities dissolve and abilities shine forth.”
Students in BSOTA are doctoral level students at Belmont in the School of Occupational Therapy, part of the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences & Nursing.
Belmont University’s School of Physical Therapy and Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson’s Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute (PBPRI) have received accreditation from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) for their collaborative Neurological Physical Therapy Clinical Residency instituted last year.
The one-year residency is one of 23 programs of its kind in the United States to have achieved this status and is the only such program in Tennessee.
PBPRI is an outpatient interdisciplinary neurological rehabilitation program where physical therapists work in teams with colleagues in occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and social work to promote community re-entry and vocational and/or academic transitioning.
“Being the first neurological physical therapy residency program in Tennessee, we have the responsibility and the privilege to train the next generation of outstanding neurological clinical specialists,” said Lisa Haack, Neurological Clinical Residency director, a PBPRI clinical staff member in physical therapy and a neurologic specialist.
Academic Residency Director Renee Brown, professor of Physical Therapy at Belmont University, said completion of the credentialing process is an affirmation of the program’s commitment to its patients.
“We have had a long-standing working relationship with Vanderbilt and this new program is an extension of that partnership,” Brown said. “We look forward to continuing to collaborate to train the next generation of physical therapy providers in the area of neurologic rehabilitation.”
The Neurologic Physical Therapy Clinical Residency will be recognized during the Residency/Fellowship Career Development Reception at the 2014 Combined Sections Meeting hosted by the APTA.
“An important mission of both Belmont and Vanderbilt is to educate and train the next generation of leaders in health care,” said Mike de Riesthal, director of the PBPRI. “The success of the collaborative residency program is a perfect example of this mission in action.”
The Belmont University School of Physical Therapy was recognized as the “Outstanding Volunteer Group of the Year” at the annual Susan G. Komen Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas last weekend. Susan G. Komen is a global leader in the fight against breast cancer with local affiliate offices in more than 120 locations in the U.S. and around the world. Each year the organization recognizes volunteers who demonstrate dedication, commitment, creativity, initiative and dependability.
The Belmont Physical Therapy students began their commitment to Susan G. Komen Greater Nashville two years ago when they volunteered as a group to manage the race course at the organization’s annual Susan G. Komen Nashville Race for the Cure® event. The Belmont students utilize this opportunity to enhance the school’s community involvement and establish teamwork within the physical therapy school.
Over 80 students participated the first year, but the school has created a continuous source of high quality volunteers by creating a kind of mentorship program. Once a student volunteers, she or he is expected to train, manage and support younger classmates through the volunteer process.
Belmont’s involvement with Komen goes beyond race day and beyond its students. Students assist with packet stuffing and other duties prior to the event and have also challenged other university schools to put together volunteer teams that can equal their impact. Belmont faculty members also serve on Komen Greater Nashville board of directors and race committee. Finally, several of the school’s athletics programs host Think Pink/Pink Out games each season to help raise needed awareness for breast health education in younger women and support those in the Belmont community affected by the disease.
“We are so proud that our volunteers were recognized as being the top in the country,” said Patty Harman, executive director of the Komen’s Greater Nashville Affiliate. “We know that our Race wouldn’t be the same without them and that they make such a huge impact year-round. We’re glad that everyone else now gets to see Belmont Physical Therapy as a benchmark for volunteerism.”
Kenisha Rhone, media relations director for Women’s Sports at Belmont accepted the award on behalf of the University. Rhone is an active volunteer for Komen Nashville and serves on the Race Coordinating Committee.
The Tennessee Economic Council on Women (TECW) continued its statewide hearing series on the subject of violence against women with a public hearing on Belmont’s campus yesterday in the Massey Board Room. The “Public Hearing on the Economic Impact of Violence Against Women” is just one of the ways in which TECW is committed to providing unique, relevant information about women in the state.
The hearing, the fourth of nine, followed events in Chattanooga, Columbia and Crossville, which have identified millions in local costs and exposed a need for better prevention efforts and communication among local authorities, service providers and funding sources.
TECW Council Chair Yvonne Wood said, “We learned from our 2006 research that domestic violence was costing Tennessee millions every year from legal costs, healthcare costs, lost productivity and a tremendous burden on our social services system. The 2013 hearings are revealing that the trend is continuing and it erodes more than just the social fabric of our families, but also the economic strength of our state. ”
Thursday’s event was co-chaired by Dr. Mimi Barnard, Belmont’s assistant provost for interdisciplinary studies and global education, who also serves on TECW.
Belmont University was more than a venue for this important event; the university sees the issue as one of significance. “We are honored to host this important event at Belmont. Raising awareness of the impact of violence against women can save lives and prevent immeasurable heartbreak,” said Cathy R. Taylor, dean and professor, College of Health Sciences and Nursing at Belmont. Among other efforts in its continued commitment to understanding issue that impact women worldwide, Belmont also plans to host a local viewing of the film Girl Rising this fall.