PT students get unique training from international rotations

May 11, 2017

By Alex Branch

PT_web
 
The small, one-room clinic in Malawi was usually already full with two dozen mothers and their children when Beverly Owoyele arrived each morning.

To determine what kind of physical therapy each child required, the third-year physical therapy student at UNT Health Science Center often relied on interpreters and the patients’ own health books – passport-type logs filled with handwritten notes detailing each child’s medical history.

For four hours, she moved from child to child, drawing on her own ingenuity to perform therapy without many of the resources available in the United States.

The four weeks Owoyele spent in the African country this spring was one of a growing number of international training rotations available to students through the UNTHSC’s Department of Physical Therapy.

“The experience was so unique from the other rotations I have done,” Owoyele said. “You don’t have the resources or equipment you are used to having, so you really have to rely on your mind and body to give the best therapy you can provide.”

Since the physical therapy program was established in 2009, 11 PT students have done international training rotations in Malawi. Brandy Schwarz, DPT, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy and coordinator of student rotations, said that in September she plans to travel to Swaziland in partnership with Rotary Club of Fort Worth and Fort Worth Sister Cities to explore the possibility of establishing a student rotation in the southern African country.

The department recently created a new rotation in Italy. Student Catherine Williamson will be the first to train there in 2018.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to learn about how Italy practices physical therapy in comparison to the U.S.,” Williamson said. “Hopefully I’ll gain a unique perspective and incorporate what I will learn into my own practice, so I can better patients’ lives.”

International rotations are important because they offer exposure to illnesses, conditions and clinical settings different from what students may see at home, said Yasser Salem, DPT, Department of Physical Therapy Interim Chairman.

In Malawi, for example, Owoyele treated a high number of children with cerebral malaria, a neurological complication that blocks blood vessels in the brain and can cause brain damage.

“International experience strengthen our students’ sensitivities to other cultures and exposes them to other countries’ health care systems,” Dr. Salem said.

Austin Fc
MPH Online helps inform one doctor’s MD and PhD studies

By Sally Crocker Dr. Austin G. Meyer was already working on both a PhD in biochemistry and a medical degree at other Texas universities when he decided to enroll in UNT Health Science Center’s Master of Public Health online program. “Medical school focuses primarily on anatomy and phy...Read more

Aug 21, 2018

2019 FC
TCOM Class of 2019 board exam scores highest in nation

By Alex Branch   The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2019 earned the highest score in the United States on a national board exam for future osteopathic doctors. The students’ mean test score of 592.93 was well above the national mean of 557.81 on the COMLEX-USA Level 1...Read more

Aug 15, 2018

Oneil Fc
Study: Private hospital rooms lower risk of infections

By Sally Crocker Private hospital rooms may save lives by reducing the risk of a dangerous type of hospital-acquired infection, according to UNT Health Science Center researchers in a new study published in PLOS ONE. Liam O’Neill, PhD, Associate Professor of Health Behavior and Health Sy...Read more

Aug 14, 2018

Roundup Fc
A healthy start to the school year

By Eric Parker   Life is hectic for parents in demanding, low-wage jobs. Peace of mind depends on easily accessible, free health services like those provided by the UNT Health Science Center at Thursday’s Back to School Roundup. One such parent is Erica Salinas. Her son, 8-year-old L...Read more

Aug 10, 2018