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Practice What You Teach: Parkway Health & Wellness

November 03, 2014

Sara Tomaszewski, a clinical instructor for physical therapy at Parkway Health & Wellness, works with a patient in the new 23,000-square-foot space in Center City.
Sara Tomaszewski, a clinical instructor for physical therapy at Parkway Health & Wellness, works with a patient in the new 23,000-square-foot space in Center City.

What do you do with 23,000 square feet of space in the heart of Center City? Open a whole new world of possibilities for Drexel faculty and students and people seeking outpatient care in the city.

Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions recently opened Parkway Health & Wellness on the second floor of the superbly central Three Parkway Building, adjacent to Benjamin Franklin Parkway and LOVE Park. But the location isn’t the only perk. Faculty and students (and patients too) have the unique experience of intercollaborative practice. That is, a patient can come in with a health or wellness concern and a team of professionals from different disciplines can consult and work together to address the patient’s needs.

Parkway Health & Wellness uses a faculty practice plan, a common format in medical schools where faculty practice their clinical skills and students gain valuable clinical experience through supervised practice with patients. Many of the clinical services offered at Parkway Health & Wellness are new, and now uniquely combined in a single location.

Take Yasmine Awais, for example. An assistant clinical professor in the Creative Arts Therapies Department, Awais now has the ability to see patients. Her clinical work is the smallest portion of her workload, since she spends most of her time teaching graduate-level students, but it’s without question the most important.

“Being able to see patients keeps me relevant as a professor,” she says. “And I think my teaching improves because I’m talking about things that I actually implement myself in my clinical work.”

Tomaszewski working on another patient at Parkway Health & Wellness.

And there’s another benefit to seeing patients for Awais. “It’s a nice break from teaching a class or grading papers. I get excited about my work and a teacher that is still excited gets the students excited, and the students feel like they made the right choice, not just going to Drexel but going into this field.”

Integration with research is also a major part of the vision for the site. Parkway Health & Wellness is co-located with new Drexel nursing and health professions research labs on the second and third floors of the Three Parkway building, providing faculty and students opportunities to create new knowledge to inform best practices in health and healthcare and to translate these findings into clinical practice.

Sara Tomaszewski, a clinical instructor for physical therapy and rehabilitation sciences, is already benefitting from this clinical-research collaboration.

“We use the clinics to feed our research projects,” she says. “The research faculty benefit from a clinical perspective that they don’t get in the lab, and it makes it easy for those of us in the clinic to stay up to date with the latest evidence. And ultimately, it benefits our patients in the quality of care we’re able to provide.”

This article first appeared in the Winter 2015 edition of Drexel Quarterly.