Belmont University recently received a grant of $194,555 from the Christy-Houston Foundation for Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) equipment. The equipment will have positive impacts on all students in the PT and OT programs at Belmont as well as patients, both in clinical education and after graduation for practice in health care.
Belmont University has the only private doctorate level physical therapy degree and the only doctorate level occupational therapy degree in Tennessee. In the past year, approximately 4,654 Rutherford County residents were served by Belmont PT and OT students. Well over 1,000 Middle Tennessee residents are served daily by Belmont University PT and OT students and alumni.
One piece of equipment that will be purchased through the grant for physical therapy is the SMART Equitest, by Neurocom International, Inc. The Equitest provides objective assessment of balance control and postural stability under dynamic test conditions to reflect the challenges of daily life. The system provides assessment and retraining capabilities with visual biofeedback on either a stable or unstable support surface and in a stable or dynamic visual environment. It is an evaluative tool for patients with balance problems and is also being used to evaluate Parkinson’s patients’ appropriateness for the cutting edge technology of deep brain stimulation. While the deep brain stimulation is performed by the Neurological Surgery Team at Vanderbilt University, an evaluation done before and after the surgery can be a key component to assessing clinical effectiveness. The Vanderbilt regional center of excellence for deep brain stimulation is working to educate physicians in out-lying areas on which patients are most appropriate for this surgical approach. It is hoped that over time, and with additional research, that this service will be provided to more patients and physicians in Middle Tennessee.
The equipment grant will also be used to purchase other items for physical therapy and occupational therapy, including a driving simulator that is instrumental for research pertaining to driving needs for an aging population. In addition, low vision equipment will be used for classroom training. Sewing machines will enable students to learn how to fabricate orthotics, slings and other adaptive equipment to restore function. With an impending shortage of physical therapists and occupational therapists, Belmont University is actively recruiting more students interested in allied health. The new equipment will provide essential tools for educating highly-competent, doctoral prepared PTs and master or doctoral prepared OTs.
“Belmont receives grant for therapy” – The Daily News Journal, October 28, 2006