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 conditions during the fall and spring trimesters, or those with musculoskeletal conditions during the fall trimester.  Students and faculty work with these community members as part of their course lab experiences.  This is mutually beneficial for our students, who are priviledged to work with the community members as part of their classroom learning time, and for the community members who receive consultation for their condition for free, when they might not otherwise be able to access physical therapist services. 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. 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. Local physical therapy associations provide students with additional opportunities to volunteer in the community, ranging from health fairs to health tents at local events.

 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, circus arts injury prevention, and best practices in interprofessional teaching and learning, and the use of simulation in health care students' education.  When possible, faculty with grants or on-going research projects encourage student involvement. 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 and most are board-certified clinical specialists.

Graduates prepared to engage in scientific inquiry and practice that meets the needs of practitioners today and into the future.

Students are introduced to clinical reasoning and evidence-informed 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 informs and is integrated into the patient/client management courses to reinforce real-world practice application.  The capstone course series, a sequence of 4 courses threaded through the curriculum, culminates in a manuscript suitable for publication and a formal presentation during commencement week.  Students may choose to focus on a case report, a systematic review, or a community-based research project for their capstone project. In the last 3 years, students' capstone projects have been presented at state, national, and international conferences, and have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

 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 highlight our commitment to preparation of outstanding professionals who are attentive to the whole person and who are prepared to improve the experiences of health of their patient through movement. 



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