How are you using video games in physical therapy?
We have been
collaborating with Sergei Adamovich, PhD, from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), on studies that use virtual reality simulations in
gaming situations. Robotic devices for the arm and hand allow patients recovering from stroke or other neurological disorders to perform
personalized arm and hand exercises. One game simulates the task of hammering. In another simulation the patients play real songs on keys of a virtual piano. Patients come into the lab, located at NJIT, and practice for hours.
Please talk about the evolution in physical therapy education.
Over the past 15 years, the physical therapy profession has instituted higher educational requirements for physical therapists and the training has become more rigorous. Around the year 2000, the bachelor’s degree in physical therapy was eliminated, and the clinical doctorate in physical therapy (DPT) became the benchmark for training. Today, more than 90% of schools with physical therapy programs offer clinical doctorates.
How has UMDNJ been at the forefront of this change?
UMDNJ was one of the first state universities to offer a clinical doctorate in physical therapy.
Can you talk about SHRP’s community work?
We’re one of the few physical therapy programs in the U.S. with a large pediatric faculty practice. We offer physical and occupational therapy to urban and suburban school districts, including Paterson, Newark and Morristown. More than 30 SHRP clinical faculty go into the schools to work with approximately 800 children. The children need these services, and we feel we are making a difference.