Message from Director

Herm Triezenberg, Director, Doctoral Program in Physical TherapyCentral Michigan University's Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) curriculum follows a case oriented educational model that places the multiple dimensions of patient care at the center of instruction. Clinical cases are used throughout the curriculum to focus instruction on situations and cases that arise in physical therapy practice. These cases provide the contextual background for understanding and applying theoretical, scientific and clinical concepts.

Students are challenged throughout the program to think critically, master clinical skills, and engage in reflection on what they are learning. The development of professional behaviors, ethical thought and action, generic abilities and core values are emphasized across all areas of the program. The faculty and staff are committed to helping students in the program successfully make the transition from the classroom to becoming knowledgeable, competent, ethical and caring health care professionals.

The physical therapy program is housed in the new Health Professions Building on the CMU campus. The Health Professions Building contains state of the art technology and outstanding facilities for education, research, and clinical practice. The many innovative features and high level of technology of this facility provides our students and faculty with many exciting opportunities. Space within the building available to, and used by, physical therapy students and faculty include: The Dell Virtual Reality Laboratory, the Physical Therapy Biomechanics and Research Lab, a Human Performance Laboratory, a Physical Therapy Clinic in the Carls Center for Clinical Care and Education, the Fall and Balance Center affiliated with the Bridges Center for Healthy Life Transitions, the Field Neurosciences Institute Laboratories, the Health Innovation and Simulation Laboratory, a Global Telepresence Facility, and a hydrotherapy area with exercise pool.

Students within the Physical Therapy Program are also involved in our "Hands for Health" Pro Bono Clinic. Students in the first two years of the physical therapy program work with faculty supervisors to evaluate and treat individuals in need of physical therapy services who are uninsured or underinsured. This unique clinic provides a valuable service to the community as well as avenue for students to further develop and maintain their clinical skills while they are on campus completing academic coursework.

Another highly regarded aspect of the CMU physical therapy program is its clinical education program. Unique features of our clinical education model include: Integrated clinical experiences during the first 2 years of the curriculum; a full academic year of clinical experiences (two semester length internships) at the conclusion of the curriculum; and the use of a team of clinical coordinators (a Director of Clinical Education and three Regional Clinical Coordinators) to support and extend student learning during the internship year through the use of face-to face and virtual discussion groups with fellow student colleagues in defined geographic regions. The CMU PT Program has more that 300 affiliated clinical agencies to support student learning experiences in a variety of settings in Michigan, the Midwest, and the United States.​

The research component of the CMU physical therapy curriculum provides students with two options for completion of their doctoral project. One option is to participate in a prospective collaborative research project working with the guidance and supervision of a faculty member. The prospective research project will be connected with the current research agenda of the faculty supervisor. There is a wide array of research expertise and areas of interest among the PT program faculty and the approaches to inquiry employed by faculty span quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods designs. A second option is to complete a clinical case report working with the guidance and supervision of either the Director of Clinical Education or one of the Regional Clinical Coordinators during the final internship year. Both options require the student to produce a final manuscript in publishable form and to present their project and findings at an annual Research and Case Report Colloquium. Students are encouraged to, and often do, present their papers at state, national, and international meetings.

We continue in an exciting period of growth for the Profession of Physical Therapy and for the Graduate Program in Physical Therapy at Central Michigan University. We look forward with anticipation to the challenges of the next year.

If you have any questions on what is happening at Central Michigan University or within the profession of Physical Therapy, please feel free to contact me.


Herm Triezenberg, Director

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