Why Choose Doctor of Physical Therapy at Samuel Merritt University?

A program and faculty committed to community outreach.The DPT program offers Community Participant Labs that help students learn to effectively manage adults with chronic neurological programs during the fall and spring trimesters, or those with musculoskeletal problems during the fall trimester.  Students and faculty see patients as part of their course lab experiences to provide PT to patients who otherwise cannot receive it.  The Community Participant Lab in the spring trimester is coordinated with the OT program and frequently students from both programs work together with patients.  Additionally, students are encouraged to volunteer in the community.  Over the last 3 years students have helped to staff the PT booth at the Avon Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk, provided BMI testing and backpack screening and education at the Tenderloin Health Fair, and provided a variety of education and screening programs focusing on wellness and fall prevention for local senoir centers and assisted living facilities as part of their neurologic and geriatric coursework. Students also volunteer with local high school groups to introduce them to physical therapy as a career choice, give tours of campus, and talk about success in college.

 DPT students volunteer to help the community
EquiTest used in research classes and neuro clinic

 A faculty that is current in clinical practice and scholarship. Faculty members are engaged in research investigating balance and falls in people with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, and stroke, clinical reasoning, and ethical development.  When possible, faculty with grants or on-going research projects encourage student involvment, including students providing advanced balance testing using the EquiTest for persons with multiple sclerosis.  Several faculty members are board certified clinical specialists, including specialists in orthopedics, neurology, and geriatrics. All part-time faculty who teach in clinical courses are currently practicing in local health care facilities.

Graduates of the DPT program will be prepared to engage in scientific inquiry and practice that meets the needs of practitioners today and into the future. Students are introduced to evidence-based clinical decision-making in the first trimester of the program and these skills are developed and reinforced in all courses.  The evidence-based practice course sequence provides further depth.  The DPT program requires that all students complete a capstone project to meet the requirements for graduation from the program. The capstone project is produced as an outcome of the capstone course series, a sequence of 4 courses throughout the curriculum. The requirements for successful completion include presentation of capstone projects at a capstone project presentation day. In the last 3 years, student's capstone projects have been presented at state, national, and international conferences, and have been published in textbooks as case examples and in peer-reviewed journals in orthopedic and geriatric physical therapy.

 case reports are presented orally and as a manuscript

An approach to physical therapy education that reflects the art and science of the profession. Our mission and philosophy are focused on preparing outstanding practitioners who are attentive to the whole person and who excel at clinical decision-making, clinical reasoning, and problem solving.


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