On Tuesday, Oct. 22, A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) Center for Occupational and Physical Therapy celebrated its formal opening with an event attended by community members, students, faculty, and staff on ATSU’s Arizona campus. Invitations were extended to local occupational (OT) and physical therapy (PT) centers who may be interested in referring their patients to the center.
The event included a ribbon cutting by student board members for the center; a presentation on the history of the center, to-date statistics, and the future goals by Jim Farris, PT, PhD, chair and professor of physical therapy; and tours of the center for visiting community members.
“The grand opening of the center was a wonderful occasion coinciding with the three-month anniversary of seeing our first patient in ATSU’-Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS) building. It highlights the hard work of the student board members over the past three months to build and formalize center operations,” Dr. Farris said.
“I’m most proud of their interdisciplinary efforts and willingness to put in long hours ensuring initial success and smooth operations in many areas. Their processes and procedures help to ensure patients are seen by therapists who have the expertise to treat their condition, the schedule is arranged so that every OT and PT student on campus will participate in patient care — many multiple times each academic session — and their desire to serve the underserved,” Dr. Farris continued.
“I’m also proud of the faculty who make it possible for the students to be directly involved with patient care while being engaged in practice-based learning. The faculty have fully supported the teaching focus of the center and have made excellent learning experiences and interdisciplinary patient interactions possible that did not exist for our students previously. ATSU-ASHS Dean Ann Lee Burch, PT, EdD, MPH; Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Norm Gevitz, PhD; and University President Craig Phelps, DO, ’84 were also instrumental in the initial start up and grand opening event.”
ATSU’s newest center, a pro bono, student-run, faculty-supervised clinic, has been operating since July 2019 and completed over 170 patient treatment sessions. The center allows for early and frequent direct patient interaction in a supervised, teaching-focused setting for ATSU’s OT and PT students.
All second-year OT and PT students participate in the center, and most first-year students in those programs have already participated. By the end of the 2019-20 academic year, all first-year OT and PT students will have participated.
The center operates Mondays-Thursdays from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on an appointment basis.
ATSU’s Center for Occupational and Physical Therapy offers treatment for a variety of conditions across the lifespan. Dr. Farris’ vision for the future of the center is that “the center becomes a health and wellness anchor for the East Phoenix Valley community, and continues to grow as a preeminent teaching-centered clinic on ATSU’s campus.”