Multi-pronged program created to drive excellence and education for Physical Therapists
University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS), the largest graduate-level physical therapy institution in the country, and ATI Physical Therapy, a national leader in rehabilitation services, announced the formation of a multi-faceted collaborative agreement to expand internship opportunities and mentoring programs, create on-site continuing education programs and establish a research initiative that will further support the program’s outcomes. ATI Physical Therapy and USAHS are initiating this new relationship with a desire to jointly improve physical therapy practice. ATI Physical Therapy will be expanding its student internship program to accommodate greater numbers of USAHS students who will be able to complete an industry-leading mentorship program during their internship with the chance to directly transition to employment, with opportunities to enter residency training and pursue advanced practice capabilities focused on improving patient clinical outcomes. USAHS and ATI Physical Therapy will work together to assess the impact of their programs and create a research foundation to drive further improvements.
The new program will also focus on continuing education, including manual therapy and craniofacial certifications, providing ATI employees with a valuable opportunity for professional development starting in fall 2018. USAHS faculty will provide instruction for the weekend seminars, which will also be open to all physical therapists in the community. Attendees in the new program can earn continuing education units (CEUs), which can be applied toward licensure requirements in their state.
“We’ve had a longstanding, positive relationship with ATI for a number of years and this first-of-its-kind collaboration is an exciting step for both organizations,” said Lori Hankins, USAHS Director of Continuing Professional Education. “Our philosophy at University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences is to encourage students and graduates to embrace lifelong learning in their professions because we believe it is a critical element in effective patient care.”
“The opportunity to extend our relationship with USAHS to further combine resources and give academic access to the PT community as a whole is a major step forward in meeting the demands of professionals and the industry,” said Brett Windsor, Vice President of Clinical Excellence, ATI Physical Therapy. “This exciting initiative will help create seamless transitions for students from academia to clinical practice as well as leverage continuing education and research to advance the physical therapy practice. As complementing bodies working in tandem, a program like this will allow us to hit the accelerator on our shared mission of better addressing clinical needs now and in the future.”
For several years, ATI has been an active on-campus resource for students at various USAHS events, including on-campus recruitment fairs where students and ATI recruiters can meet face-to-face.
The new program also solidifies clinical placement opportunities for students at ATI rehabilitation centers across the US; students must complete on-site internships, also known as clinicals, as part of the degree requirements for the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.
“Our students benefit from this clinical relationship with ATI, providing them the opportunity to complete their PT training at one of the nation’s leading rehabilitation centers and one of the largest employers in the industry,” said Dr. Divina Grossman, USAHS President. “Our goal is to provide access to educational opportunities to help address the critical shortage of physical therapists across the country. The impact of this shortage on healthcare, and ultimately patient well-being, would be profound if there are not enough PT professionals to meet the growing demands.”
There is a strong demand for physical therapists, a profession ranked No. 6 on the list of “best jobs” by U.S. News & World Report. In fact, the need for physical therapists consistently outpaces the number of clinicians, even with new graduates entering the profession. According to American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) projections, the demand for physical therapists in the United States is exceeding the supply. The total number of licensed PTs is projected to rise from about 192,000 to between 203,000 and 234,000 by 2020. The supply and demand data are part of a suite of resources on the physical therapy workforce available on APTA’s website.