On Saturday, Oct. 10, about 60 students, faculty, and staff from the University of Lynchburg’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program participated in the “Global PT Day of Service,” a day when physical therapists from all over the world volunteer in their communities.
Ten years ago this summer, 49 students joined the first class of Lynchburg’s first doctoral program. The Doctor of Physical Therapy program was the first wave of an experiment: How a liberal arts college could stretch itself and create new graduate health science programs.
On the Thursday afternoon before Halloween, three teams of Doctor of Physical Therapy students from the University of Lynchburg were putting the final touches on their costumes: Minnie Mouse, Captain America, and Mario of “Super Mario Bros.” fame. “Costumes” might be a bit of a misnomer, however. These were way more than costumes.
When Michael Casillas ‘20 DPT finished his undergraduate degree, he thought he’d be a personal trainer and scuba diving instructor. Instead, after discovering a passion for training older adults, he enrolled in the University of Lynchburg’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program.
When Mitchell Kohlhaas looks back on the service-learning trip to Guatemala that he and a team from the University of Lynchburg’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program took over spring break, he sees a series of small miracles.
Dr. Gary Austin gets emotional when he talks about his Doctor of Physical Therapy students and the work they do in Guatemala. “It’s really awesome,” Dr. Austin, an associate professor at University of Lynchburg, said. “I get choked up because it’s so beautiful. They love people, care for them. It’s just awesome. I love what I do. It’s the highlight of my year.”
The scholarship recognizes DPT students with a passion for orthopedics, patient-centered care, and personal development. Rehab Associates of Central Virginia representatives said selecting a recipient has become harder each year as students demonstrate greater commitment to these core values.
About 30 students spent 16 days in Italy, where they studied the intersection of art and anatomy. The students gained a new, rich understanding for the history of their field.
Morgan Horne ’20 DPT says she’ll never forget the island of St. Lucia or a girl named Ebony, both of which changed her life and the way she sees her future as a physical therapist. Horne, a first-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student at Lynchburg College, was in St. Lucia with DPT students and faculty from January 6 through 13.