At University of Lynchburg DPT, we emphasize student participation in community service and professional involvement. Each year, our students participate in almost 4,000 hours of community service per year and almost 2,000 hours of professional involvement per year through a unique program in our curriculum known as Student Professional Involvement, or SPI.
The SPI courses give the opportunity for students to receive program credit for their community service and professional involvement activities. Students will participate in the SPI program throughout all three years in the curriculum. The mission of the SPI program is to actively engage students in community and professional opportunities throughout the physical therapy curriculum in order to develop a lifelong dedication to community service and promotion of the physical therapy profession.
In the first summer of the program, students make a selection to participate in one of 5 community service groups for the duration of their time in the Lynchburg DPT program. These community service organizations include:
- University of Lynchburg Community Health Center
- Wheels on the James
- Geriatric Health and Wellness
- Special Olympics
In the 1st year of the SPI course curriculum, students function in more of a participatory role in their community groups and are exploring professional involvement activities and professional specialties. In the 2nd year of the curriculum, students begin more of an administration and implementation role in their community service programs and will be more solidified in their professional endeavors and activities. The 3rd year students move into more of a mentorship role and succession planning phase for their community groups and are responsible for administrating the Fall Professional Symposium for the community and the 1st and 2nd year cohorts.
The SPI courses are a great way for the students to not only participate in community service, but also explore professional topics such as:
- Advocacy for the patient and the profession
- American Physical Therapy Association participation and meetings
- Promotion of the profession/networking
- Program development and leadership
- Community education
- Local/National/International service
- International service trips (currently have trips yearly to St. Lucia and Guatemala)