University of Lynchburg’s doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program has established the LC Community Health Clinic for uninsured and underinsured residents of Central Virginia. A grand opening was held at noon on Monday, Oct. 13 at LC’s Health Sciences facility at 300 Monticello Ave.
Several local organizations awarded University of Lynchburg grant funding for start-up equipment dedicated to evaluative and therapeutic services at the clinic. The Centra Foundation awarded LC a $27,530 grant, the Greater Lynchburg Community Trust awarded $10,500 and theBedford Community Health Foundation awarded a $3,000 grant.
LC’s DPT program began in fall 2010 to meet the critical need for the education of physical therapists in Central Virginia and beyond. The College soon recognized that physical therapy services were not reaching uninsured and underinsured patients.
“It became clear that LC’s DPT program could help fill a need in our community by providing physical therapy to those who cannot afford it,” said Rusty Smith, director of the DPT program. “The Free Clinic of Central Virginia, The Centra Foundation, the Greater Lynchburg Community Trust, Rehabilitation Associates of Central Virginia, the Lynchburg Academy of Medicine, and the Bedford Community Health Foundation have all been great partners in this effort. LC’s DPT students will also benefit from a real-world clinic at their back door.”
The clinic provides LC’s DPT students the opportunity to gain experience through supervised patient care. About 24 students handle the day-to-day operations of the clinic. All of the students in the program have the opportunity to work in the clinic.
The students are currently treating five patients with ailments ranging from shoulder and neck pain to multiple sclerosis.
At the LC Community Health Clinic, Jason Grandeo and several other DPT faculty members provide expertise in pediatric, neurologic, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular rehabilitation, as well as management of pain. The students are also looking for local physical therapists to volunteer at the clinic.
Kathleen Hetrick, student co-chair of the clinic, expressed appreciation for her professors. “We couldn’t have done it without the support of our amazing faculty,” she said.
Grandeo emphasized that the students chose a name that can reflect increased types of care as LC moves toward starting a physician assistant medicine program. He also plans to involve undergraduates in nursing, athletic training, and exercise physiology.
“The ultimate vision is that we operate together as health care professionals do in the real world,” he said.
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