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Delegate David Nutter Leads Discussion on Physical Therapy Program at RU

RADFORD -- Health care reform and the impact it may have on physical therapists was the topic of the discussion led by Delegate David Nutter (R-7th) at a recent meeting of the Combined Mountain and Valley District Virginia Physical Therapy Association hosted by the Waldron College of Health and Human Services.

Nutter stressed the importance of physical therapists getting involved with their professional organization and the value that membership holds when working with state legislators in health care reform policies. “This federal health reform is going to change things that have not been recognized yet,” Nutter said. “Policymakers are attempting to plan ahead how we will deal with issues as they come up.” Such issues include training professionals how to meet growing health care needs in society while tackling deficit issues, according to Nutter. “We don’t know what the future holds. It is going to be a challenge,” he said.

From left: Wil Kolb, Virginia Physical Therapy Association Mountain District chair; Renee Huth, VPTA Valley District chair; Terri Ferrier, VPTA president; Delegate Dave Nutter, Virginia House of Delegates, 7th District; Ron Masri, VPTA Valley District director; Greg Cornforth, VPTA Mountain District director. Photo courtesy of Greg Cornforth, Virginia Physical Therapy Association

However, as Radford University begins its new doctoral programs, Nutter shared his excitement about the potential the RU Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) graduates will have on the medical profession as a whole and particularly in the rural areas of the state. As challenges in the medical profession continue to grow, he believes the programs will graduate students who are well-prepared.

Ron Masri, director of the Valley District for the Virginia Physical Therapy Association, says area physical therapists are also excited about the physical therapy program at RU. “Hopefully it will help fill the workforce void we suffer from in this area. It seems all the new grads want to go to those big cities, but hopefully having a school here will help keep some of those graduates around in this area to help provide physical therapy services in our rural communities”, he said.

Masri added the RU program will give clinicians the opportunity to get involved with clinical research by having the support of the university. “This will help promote the PT profession by validating and bringing evidence to our clinical practice.”

The DPT program anticipates enrolling its first class in the summer of 2011. Edward Swanson, founding program chair, said the program expects to enroll 15 to 17 students its first year. “We want to train people from local communities and then send them back to their communities,” he said.

May 27, 2010
Bonnie Roberts Erickson; 540-831-5804

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