DPT facility rivals the best

Thursday August 19 2010


Lynchburg College's new doctor of physical therapy (DPT) facility, which rivals any in the country, is ready for fall classes Aug. 26.

The local media got its first glimpse Wednesday of the 37,000-square-foot facility, located at 300 Monticello Avenue in the upper level of the Capps Shoe Co. building. Check reports from The News & Advance and WSLS; WSET; and WDBJ7.

LC President Kenneth Garren signed articulation agreements with four nearby colleges: Hampden-Sydney, Randolph, Roanoke, and Sweet Briar. The agreements reserve a number of spaces in each entering class for qualified graduates of those institutions.

DPT is a three-year graduate program. About 50 physical therapists are expected to graduate as each three-year cohort completes its work.

As LC's first doctoral program, DPT is being launched in partnership with Centra. The decision to offer the DPT program came after an extensive feasibility study involving Lynchburg College, Centra, Rehab Associates of Central Virginia, Orthopaedic Center of Central Virginia, and Garman & Proffitt Physical Therapy.

Lynchburg College is grateful for the tremendous financial support from the local community. Centra has committed $500,000 for the facility and training equipment and will provide $100,000 in scholarship support. Rehab Associates of Central Virginia has pledged $100,000 for training equipment and scholarship support as well. Additionally, the Centra Foundation donated $30,000 for motorized treatment tables, and the Bedford Community Health Foundation donated $5,000 for a portable motion analysis system.

"When I decided to take on the monumental task of building a doctor of physical therapy program from scratch, it was extremely important that I find a school that would allow me to realize my dreams in physical therapy education - to build the best program I could dream of," said Dr. Kevin Brueilly, founding director. "Lynchburg College was the right choice."

The DPT program will produce graduates who are able to diagnose and manage movement dysfunction and enhance physical and functional abilities. The DPT curriculum is a rigorous 120-semester hour progressive course of study composed of foundational and clinical sciences.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of physical therapy jobs is expected to climb 30 percent between 2008 and 2018. This increasing demand will coincide with a growing aging population, a predicted rise in chronic diseases and obesity, and a decline in fitness.

Nationally, there are 222 accredited physical therapy programs. In Virginia, only Hampton, Marymount, Old Dominion, Shenandoah, and Virginia Commonwealth universities offer DPT programs. Educational requirements for physical therapists have changed over time with the elimination of bachelor's degree programs, and master's degree programs being phased out. New programs must now offer a doctorate program.

LC has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program is progressing toward accreditation.