A national award of excellence for physical therapist


By Alex Branch

Myla Quiben, PT, DPT, PhD, prepares her physical therapy students to be health care providers of the future by simulating real-world clinical situations at UNT Health Science Center.

Her simulations stress the significance of interprofessional communication – the ability to clearly and crisply share information with health care professionals from other disciplines.

“If you are a physical therapist working in a hospital, you have to be trained not only to identify symptoms in a patient who is having a medical emergency but also communicate this quickly to other  medical providers,” said Dr. Quiben, Associate Professor.  “A lot of students can identify symptoms on a test, but in a clinical setting it is a different story.”

The simulations are one example of Dr. Quiben’s holistic approach to education, which recently earned her a national teaching honor. The American Physical Therapy Association awarded Dr. Quiben the Dorothy E. Baethke-Eleanor J. Carlin Award for Excellence in Academic Teaching. The award is given annually to recognize excellence and dedication in physical therapy academic teaching.

The association noted that Dr. Quiben, who joined UNTHSC in 2014, “brings her clinical, service and research endeavors into her teaching to promote intellectual engagement and to encourage future clinicians to consider quality of care within its larger social and societal contexts.”

Dr. Quiben said the Health Science Center’s commitment to interprofessional education and its Patient Simulation Lab – where students gain invaluable experience diagnosing and treating actors or mannequins – were among the many factors that led her to join the Health Science Center.

Dr. Quiben is a board-certified clinical specialist in geriatric and neurological physical therapy, and she maintains a clinical practice in addition to teaching. Colleagues noted that she has a unique talent for simplifying and explaining intricate subjects.

“Dr. Quiben masterfully incorporates active learning strategies and simulations in her courses to facilitate students’ understanding and acquisition of complex contents,” said Nicoleta Bugnariu, PhD, PT, Interim Dean of the School of Health Professions.

The APTA is a national professional organization that represents more than 95,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students of physical therapy nationwide.

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