Friendship Retirement Community Endows Scholarship for Radford Doctoral Program

Radford University doctoral students in physical therapy will begin their clinical training this summer with a $30,000 endowed scholarship fund, established by Friendship Retirement Community in Roanoke, and an award-winning place to develop their skills.

"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, president and chief executive officer of Friendship, the largest retirement community in Virginia. "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."

At the heart of Friendship’s therapy programs is the 373-bed Friendship Health and Rehab Center, the largest in Virginia, providing skilled and intermediate nursing care, subacute care, inpatient rehabilitation, Alzheimer’s care and palliative care. Radford students also will work with Friendship’s outpatient therapy staff, which offers physical, occupational and speech therapy from a dedicated outpatient center.

The medical director of Friendship’s rehab department is Dr. Murray Joiner Jr., who specializes in rehabilitation medicine.

The Friendship Retirement Community Scholarship Fund is the first endowed scholarship in Radford’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, which enrolled its inaugural cohort of students in June 2011. The fund supports students who demonstrate an interest in geriatrics. Given that the program is taught in Roanoke, preference is given to current students from the Roanoke area. The first scholarship recipient will be selected this fall.

"The Friendship Retirement Community Scholarship Fund will help us greatly in attracting talented students to the program," said Professor Raymond N. Linville, Ph.D., dean of Radford’s Waldron College of Health and Human Services. "We are all looking forward to the future and proud that it will be with the strong support and encouragement of Friendship."

Friendship’s comprehensive therapy services range from physical, occupational and speech therapy programs to innovative therapies such as augmentative communication, low-vision therapy, lymphedema management, animal-assisted therapy, vestibular-balance therapy and more. Friendship has 900 residents in independent-living apartments, assisted-living apartments and the health and rehab center.

Friendship will provide RU physical therapy students with a variety and diversity of patients and types of patient care in physical therapy, Barksdale said. "This is a great place to learn," he said. "We believe in giving college students at all levels an opportunity to learn and grow while preparing them to give back to their community."

The readers of The Roanoker magazine recently named Friendship the best in the Roanoke Valley, and readers of Our Health magazine voted Friendship tops in outpatient therapy with recognition for its speech therapy and memory care programs.

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Mar 12, 2012
Keith Hagarty
(540) 831-7749