Within the week, 12 Central Michigan University physical therapy doctoral students will make the 425-mile trek from Mount Pleasant to Michigan Technological University's campus in Houghton. They'll help to fill a critical need for additional physical therapists in the Upper Peninsula.
“This partnership is a great opportunity to combine the strengths of two universities to help meet the health care needs of the state of Michigan and the Upper Peninsula in particular,” said Christopher D. Ingersoll, dean of The Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions at CMU.
As part of the partnership, lectures and laboratory experiences at CMU will be presented to the 48 doctoral students in the Mount Pleasant cohort by CMU faculty and transmitted live to the 12 students in the Houghton cohort at Michigan Tech through interactive distance-learning technology.
CMU professor of physical therapy Peter Loubert will serve as the students’ faculty adviser in Houghton, where he will coordinate clinical programs, supervise labs and teach classes.
“Students who are in Houghton will be able to receive instruction concurrently with classmates in their cohort in Mount Pleasant,” Loubert said. “The labs are connected together with the same technology, which will allow all 60 students to take classes simultaneously on both campuses.”
CMU students in Mount Pleasant will report to Michigan Tech on Aug. 22 for orientation and their classes will begin on Aug. 25. They will study in Houghton for the next two years followed by a year of clinical experience at a medical facility in the Upper Peninsula.
“CMU has an outstanding physical therapy program and Houghton is close to home so it’s the best of both worlds for me,” CMU physical therapy doctoral student and Norway, Michigan, native Kristi Peroceschi said. “I like that I was able to take the initial courses at CMU and meet the professors that I'll be seeing onscreen.”
Both universities will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house to celebrate the inauguration of the program partnership at 3:15 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Advanced Technology Development Complex, 1402 Sharon Ave. in Houghton. Mobile Health Central, CMU's new, customized, 39-foot motor coach that will serve rural Michigan residents by providing access to high-quality health care, will be available for tours.
Central Michigan University established its master of science in physical therapy program in 1994. It made the transition to the doctor of physical therapy degree in 2004 and has nearly 100 percent job placement for physical therapy students entering the workforce.