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School of Physical Therapy Joins Vanderbilt University Medical Center to Offer Residency Program

The School of Physical Therapy at Belmont University has joined with the Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute (PBPRI) in the Vanderbilt Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences to initiate a Neurological Physical Therapy Clinical Residency.

PBPRI is the outpatient interdisciplinary neurological rehabilitation program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center where physical therapists work in teams with colleagues in occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and social work to promote community re-entry and vocational and/or academic transitioning. The one-year residency is offered through the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and is the first of its kindin Tennessee. The program is designed to prepare the resident to treat patients with neurological conditions using contemporary, evidenced-based treatment approaches and provide the skills and experience needed to sit for the Neurological Clinical Specialist (NCS) certification exam with APTA.

“We are very excited about this new partnership,” said Mike de Riesthal, director of PBPRI. “Education of new clinicians is one of our primary missions. Partnering with Belmont’s excellent program allows us to expand that mission into the field of physical therapy.”

Christina Durrough has been selected as the inaugural resident in the joint venture and will begin her work this August. The residency requires direct clinical care each week at PBPRI where Durrough will receive mentoring and instruction to evaluate and treat patients with acquired brain injury and other neurological conditions including stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, brain tumors and balance disorders. The Clinical Residency Director for the program is Lisa Haack, who is a clinical staff member in physical therapy at PBPRI and is a neurologic specialist. Renee Brown, professor of physical therapy at Belmont University, will serve as the academic residency director.

At Belmont, Durrough will extend her clinical work to the classroom by teaching and providing lab instruction to doctoral students in the School of Physical Therapy under the guidance of Brown.  Belmont will also sponsor and coordinate Durrough’s participation with the Neurologic Physical Therapy Professional Education Consortium.

Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute was conceived when the Nashville Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club, along with Nissan Corp. USA and Ford Motor Co. Inc., made a financial commitment to the development of a traumatic brain injury program. The need for such a program was proposed by the members of the Nashville Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club when they identified the limited availability of comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation services for neurologically impaired adolescents and adults in the Nashville area. PBPRI opened its doors in 1988 to fill this critical role.

Belmont University School of Physical Therapy, part of the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Science and Nursing, has been preparing physical therapy practitioners since 1997 and was among the first schools in the southeastern United States to grant the Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2000. Today, over 300 Belmont graduates are in physical therapy practice in Middle Tennessee and other regions of the United States, with some graduates serving populations in need internationally.  The PT residency is one option for post-professional training for graduates, allowing them to develop a specialty and become board certified.

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