Students in The University of Toledo’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program have been recognized by the Ohio Physical Therapy Association for their advocacy and community service efforts.
The state association named UToledo’s Student Physical Therapy Organization winner of its 2019-20 Program of the Year Challenge.
Among the students’ service projects were fundraising for Food for Thought, working with athletes participating in the Special Olympics held in Bowling Green, and helping to provide healthcare to underserved populations through UToledo’s Community Cares Clinics.
The student organization also launched the Multicultural Leadership Council, which aims to promote a more culturally diverse physical therapy profession.
“Our Student PT Organization led by Drs. David Kujawa and Tori Smith is made up of students who are passionate and enthusiastic about our profession. I am so very proud of them.” said Dr. Cindy Bouillon, associate professor and director of UToledo’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. “They’ve participated in advocacy for our profession, as well as supporting our community through a mix of directly working with individuals who have disabilities or disease, and helping with fundraisers and other efforts for the greater good.”
The Program of the Year Challenge is an annual competition among Ohio’s 11 accredited physical therapy doctorate programs. Student groups are judged on the total number of volunteer hours, the number of students involved, and their collaboration with other programs.
Nearly 60 students are enrolled in the UToledo Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. Bouillon said all were involved in at least one of the projects. During the last year, the students have logged nearly 725 total volunteer hours.
“I am blown away by the amount of effort our program puts into attending events outside of school from volunteering in the community, attending conferences, lunch and learns, and more,” said McKenna Shives, a third-year student and the volunteer challenge representative for UToledo. “Everyone deserves the credit for this award. It was 100% a whole team effort.”
While many of the activities were completed before COIVD-19, the Student Physical Therapy Organization has continued meeting virtually to continue their work with the Multicultural Leadership Council and a shoe fundraiser.