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 Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences Department

Developing Industry Leaders

Through technology-enhanced practice facilities and cutting-edge research labs, Drexel’s PT programs allow students to develop advanced skills through evidence-based clinical practice, teaching and research.

Physical Therapy Department

For over 30 years, Drexel’s nationally ranked Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Programs have provided a rich, technology-infused environment for students to develop skills in evidence-based clinical practice, teaching, and research. Drexel’s faculty, through structured instruction and mentorship, strives to develop leaders who excel in health care settings, classrooms and research labs.

Drexel’s nationally and internationally recognized faculty members are among the most highly respected and productive academicians, researchers and clinicians in the country with expertise in a variety of specialty areas. Through their work, they have developed numerous local, national and international clinical teaching and research collaborations and garnered funding from a variety of different agencies. Drexel’s research laboratories and funded researchers provide students with the opportunity to pursue exciting initiatives in multiple areas. 

Many of our faculty have won numerous teaching awards and over half of the faculty members continue clinical practice. The department’s faculty practice, Drexel University Physical Therapy Services, has sites at the 11th Street Family Health Services, in the Drexel University Recreation Center on Drexel’s University City Campus and in the Parkway Building on Drexel’s Center City Campus. Students in the department’s programs get the opportunity to work with faculty in these clinical settings to help refine their patient care skills.  The faculty believe that co-treating patients with developing clinicians helps to foster strong, innovative clinical decision making skills in its graduating clinicians.

Additionally, Drexel’s clinical practice facilities are closely aligned with its research labs and other disciplines within the college so that faculty and students have the opportunity to make connections between patient care and discoveries in the lab as well as appreciate the interaction amongst the entire healthcare team.  The College of Nursing and Health Professions includes Nurses, Physician Assistants, Couple and Family Therapists, Nutritionists, and Creative Art Therapists.  A 37,000 square foot multidisciplinary clinical and research facility on the center city campus helps facilitate interaction amongst these groups and provides opportunities for each discipline to contribute to optimal patient care.

Programs

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
Become a competent, compassionate and innovative physical therapist.

Doctor of Health Science in Rehabilitation Sciences (DHSc)
Take a leadership role as an educator and master clinician in Rehabilitation Sciences.

Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Sciences (PhD)
Prepare for a leadership role as a researcher and educator in rehabilitation sciences.

Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program
Participate in a comprehensive curriculum of didactic and structured mentorship to develop into evidence-based practitioners ready and able to advance the profession and patient care in the community.

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Faculty

View Profiles

News & Events

 

04/28/18

CNHP alumnus Won Sung, PhDWon Sung, PhD started his college education as a psychology major at Arcadia University thinking he would find a doctoral program in behavioral neuroscience. He had been doing research on motor behavior and cognitive processes specifically movement control in mice with strokes when his research advisor, a physical therapist, suggested he look into physical therapy (PT). “I had most of the prerequisites completed and there was some common interest based on the research I was doing,” Sung said. What he found appealing about this path was the intersection of his interest in motor control and coordination and the cognitive processes that take place in patients with chronic pain.

He received his PT degree also from Arcadia and worked for ten years before deciding to get his PhD at Drexel. Sung had a different approach than most traditional students looking for a PhD program. He was already working and not worried about finding a program that would help him land a specific job, so he took five years to find a PhD advisor working in the area in which he was interested. As luck would have it, Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions was geographically pleasing to Sung as was the possibility of having Sheri Silfies, PT, PhD, an associate professor in its physical therapy and rehabilitation sciences department, as his faculty advisor. Silfies research on low back pain in relation to neuromuscular control appealed to the behavioral neuroscientist in Sung.

It was during his training and work in physical therapy where he learned about the many methods being used including the McKenzie Method (MDT). Without the use of expensive diagnostic testing, MDT uses patients’ pain responses to their own movement to create a treatment plan. It is a treatment approach that emphasizes patient participation in pain reduction and facilitating movement. To Sung, the rapid change in pain that can occur within a treatment session with appropriate patients suggested that there was something more than just muscle and tissue related. “There had to be something else from a central nervous system, some sort of neuro signaling that had to be happening,” he commented. “As I continued to work with patients with low back pain, and learn more about it, I certainly started to understand that not everybody fits into this one type of treatment plan or approach.” This is where his psychology degree spoke to him. Sung started to see the impact of chronic pain in terms of depression and anxiety and began wondering if cognitive components played a role in patients’ pain levels. Certainly musculoskeletal dysfunction, for which many sufferers find adaptive behavior, plays a part in chronic pain, but Sung contends that there are psychosocial issues that may also contribute. Is there a personality type that's more anxious to begin with where, perhaps, the pain makes them change their behaviors sooner or more readily than somebody else who might not have these anxiety driven behaviors? Does the intensity of pain at the onset force somebody who is very strong and well-adjusted into anxious states? These are the questions Sung wanted to answer. “When you're dealing with more anxiety-driven pain, people have guarding behaviors and tend to walk around tense. It's an anxiety behavior we need to get to first and make sure that the patient understands everything's going to be okay,” he shared. “A lot of people end up in this situation of desperation—‘This is the only thing that's going to work’—and that's when we, as clinicians, have to get down to the psycho-social issues and maybe spend a little bit more time talking to them about the situation and the condition.” Sung suggested that there may only be one or two main issues that manifest in a myriad of symptoms, but in order to get to them, he helps individuals settle in with and accept what’s happening to reduce tension. Then he can focus on their contributing behaviors with appropriate actions.

Sung has been working at Good Shepherd Penn Partners for more than 13 years as the spine team leader where he oversees the orthopedic residency and evaluates and treats patients. His way with the people he sees is gentle and creates hope for those individuals who come to him as a last ditch effort before a surgery which they feel is imminent. He listens intently to a person, wanting to hear their stories, as it helps him understand and gauge where a person is mentally and physically. Sung’s approach is always conservative and favors assigning things a patient would have no trouble doing at home. “There's nothing that is as concrete as, ‘This is the only thing.’ There's typically several alternatives to getting to the desired goal,” he articulated. He must be pragmatic in his thinking—how much time does a person have, how many exercises can they get through in that time and what is the most efficient way to reach the goal. “It's like learning to play an instrument—you need to repeat it over and over and over again to learn that new pattern.” He contended that if you have to do that for ten things, it will take forever and may seem insurmountable. “If you start with one or two different things, it becomes a little bit easier, and then you're able to actually focus on changing that behavior,” he concluded.

Sung also believes it's beneficial for people to know that his first focus is to improve function and hopefully make them a little bit more comfortable. “There is an aspect of making sure people understand that you might not always be pain-free because structures do break down,” he admitted. “But even with these people who have this grim, dire outlook on things, for some reason, when they start accepting that, they actually start to have less pain and start to feel better.”

Where does Sung see the future of physical therapy going? It seems predicated on insurance and technology. Gone are the days of seeing patients in the clinic a few times a week for 60 to 75 minutes. “The insurance companies are forcing us to be more efficient. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I think, across the board, the health system can become more efficient, but I think we're going to have to change how we do things and how we think about the situation and the patient in front of us,” he cautioned. Physical therapists will have to become more proficient in exercise prescription and reassessment because they won’t be seeing a person as frequently over the course of their care. “It's maybe not the best change, but it might drive us certainly to be more efficient and be more critical of ourselves as a profession.” How would a physical therapist be helpful then to a person who they aren’t seeing as often? Sung hypothesized that new technologies might support them. Telemedicine, for instance, would work just to touch base with their patients—to check in with them and see how things are going. Videos of prescribed exercises could be downloadable providing a different way of patients getting their interventions. Then there’s live, online interaction between patient and therapist where they can talk. “I can see how they're doing. Are they smiling? Are they not smiling? Sometimes that's all you really need to do,” Sung explained. It may not be what’s called for an initial evaluation which would have to occur in the clinic. “Maybe there are different stratifications of what's going on. If it's a very simple problem when you really just need to show the therapist how your arm is moving, maybe that is something that's eligible for a live, online environment.” Even if the field embraces technology, he warns that, if it’s not working for clinicians or patients, they will have to advocate for the patient. Regardless, Sung feels that that physical therapy will be facing some challenges in the next few years.

As far as what’s in store for him for the next few years, Sung says he hasn’t figured it out yet. “I guess I’ll still be at Penn, depending on if there are enough things that continue to challenge me and keep me thinking like clinicians who need to be mentored or new projects being undertaken. As long as I’m not bored.”

04/24/18

This is the first edition of R & B News (Rundio & Brooks News) or as we like to refer to it: “R & B (Rhythm & Blues) or R & B Rocks.”

The following are nursing highlights from the past month:

The most significant item to highlight is the excellent Collegiate Commission on Nursing (CCNE) accreditation site visit that we had from February 26th through February 28th, 2018. The CCNE will make their final board decision in early October 2018 regarding our reaccreditation of all nursing programs. So, we cannot state that we have been re-accredited. We can state that we had an accreditation site visit and that we met all four standards and elements with no recommendations.

I want to bring attention to the American Heart Association—a passion of mine for several years now. I became involved while supervisor of emergency services at Atlantic City Medical Center, City Division, now AtlantiCare. While serving as chair of the emergency cardiovascular care committee for New Jersey for three years, I led the way to regionalize this committee becoming the DE-NJ-PA ECC Regional Committee and creating more effective use of resources. A group of representatives from each state, not including me, took up the planning of how the committee would proceed. As a result, they requested that I chair the new regionalized committee. I have served two years thus far.

The committee has changed its focus from being, what I call “the CPR police” to getting CPR and AEDs out in the community and policy changes like mandating CPR and AEDs in schools. I would like to encourage everyone to join You’re the Cure—the American Heart Association’s health policy site. There you’ll be able to learn about significant initiatives by state, communicate with key legislators using sample letters provided, connect with advocates near you and stay up-to-date on the heart and stroke issues that matter most to you. This takes less than five minutes to do. As cardiac arrest happens to any one of us, our loved ones and colleagues, I am really passionate about AHA’s initiative.

If you feel the same as I do, please send me the information requested below and I will send it to AHA for you. Yes, I want to join You’re the Cure.

  • NAME
  • EMAIL
  • ADDRESS
  • TELEPHONE NUMBER

In future issues, I will share more about my work with AHA. And, for anyone who really knows me well, there will certainly be some humorous things that have happened.

Congratulations to Suzan Blacher, PhD (c), MSN, RN, CARN on her appointment as chair of the ANCB (Addictions Nursing Certification Board) for the International Nurses Society on Addictions. Congratulations, Professor Blacher!!!

The next issue will focus more on the Health Professions. Please submit any item that you want published in this newsletter, and don’t forget, anyone, faculty, staff and students, can submit items to the Daily Dose.

Al Rundio, PhD, DNP, RN, ARPN, NEA-BC, FAAN
Clinical Professor of Nursing
Associate Dean for Academic Nursing
Chief Academic Nursing Officer

Stephanie Brooks, PhD, LCSW, LMFT
Clinical Professor
Associate Dean for Academic Health Professions
Director of PMC Program

04/23/18

Joyce Welliver, RN, MSN, CRNP (CERT, Nursing,`98) will be spotlighted in an upcoming issue of Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare published by the International Nurses Association.
 
Carol Hammal (MA, Art Therapy & Counseling, `15) was interviewed by Second Lady Karen Pence, wife of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, for the White House's website. Ms. Hammal, an art therapy consultant at Egypt's renowned Behman Hospital, is recognized as the only art therapist in Egypt and has been a pioneer in bringing art therapy academic programming to her country. She has also given a TEDx talk in 2015.
 
Nina Multak, PhD, MPAS, PA-C (PA `88), associate clinical professor in the Physician Assistant Department at Drexel, joined the board of directors of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) as an at-large member. 
 
DeAnna Harris-McKoy (MFT `09), couple and family therapist and assistant professor at Texas A&M University Central Texas, joined the YWCA Greater Austin board of directors as a member-at-large.
 
Kim F. Simmons (PMC, Nursing,`17) joined the urology department at Guthrie Hospital in Sayre, Pennsylvania with a special interest in inpatient urology.
 
Rosemary Dunn, RN, DrNP(c) (MSN `95; DrNP `11) will be retiring as chief nursing officer of Hahnemann University Hospital on April 1.
 
Terraca Holmes (MSN `15) became chief nursing officer at Tenet Healthcare, according to a LinkedIn update. She is also the director of nursing at Tenet Healthcare.
 
Kimberly Talley (ASN `90, BSN `96, MSN `03), vice president of Patient Care Services at Christiana Care Health System, was part of the first cohort of Penn's Fels Institute of Government board governance program.
 
Dwayne Richardson, RT(R), CRA, RN (MSN `07) joined Carroll Hospital in Westminster, Maryland as senior vice president of operations. Mr. Richardson most recently served as COO at Placentia-Linda Hospital in Placentia, California. He previously served as radiology director at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia and cardiopulmonary services director at University Medical Center at Princeton.
 
Karen Lambert, DPT (MPT `00, DPT `14) gave a presentation called "Aging in Place" at a "Tuesday Talk" event at New Hanover Library in New Hanover, North Carolina.
 
Karen Snyder (PMC Nursing `18) joined St. Luke's University Health Network's Pennsburg Family Practice in Pennsburg, Pennsylvania as a nurse practitioner.
 
Joanne McGovern (MSN `15) has been promoted to senior vice president of patient care services at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia. She also serves as chief nursing officer.
 
Kelly Ann Milligan, ACNP (MSN `99) will be featured in The International Nurses Association upcoming publication of the Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare. Ms. Milligan is a board certified acute care nurse practitioner at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia and is a distinguished member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
 
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