Radford University’s year-old Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) program has its first endowed scholarship, thanks to Friendship Retirement Community. The first recipient of the $30,000 scholarship was announced this fall.
“Our vision is to attract to Radford the highest-caliber students to fill a critical need for talented, focused and caring physical therapists,” said Russ Barksdale, Friendship’s president and chief executive. “As a leading health care provider in our region, we look forward to welcoming students and having them interact with our award-winning therapy team during their clinical education.”
The partnership between Friendship and the university has clear benefits for both, said Ed Swanson, chair of Radford’s D.P.T. program. “Friendship Retirement Community provides RU physical therapy students with diverse patients and types of patient care that would be difficult, at best, to find at other programs,” he said.
Friendship Retirement Community is the largest health care facility of its kind for inpatient care in Virginia. Based in Roanoke, it has an average of 147 monthly admissions. The majority of its short-term rehabilitation admissions are for 20 days. The 373-bed facility, one of the sites at which RU students are placed for clinical training, provides skilled and intermediate nursing care, sub-acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, Alzheimer’s care and palliative care.
Radford students also work with Friendship’s outpatient therapy department, which offers physical, occupational and speech therapy from a dedicated outpatient center. The medical director of Friendship’s rehabilitation department is Dr. Murray Joiner Jr., who specializes in rehabilitation medicine.
When the endowed scholarship was first announced, Barksdale commented that pain management is an acute rehabilitation service. He said Friendship is looking forward to its relationship with the university’s physical therapy program.
Radford’s D.P.T. program is based on the campus of Roanoke’s Jefferson College of Health Sciences. The first cohort of students began training in summer 2011.