PT students supporting Gainesville community through COVID-19 Student Service Corps

A number of first and second year DPT students have stepped up to join the UF chapter of the COVID-19 Student Service Corps (CSSC). The mission of CSSC is to support health systems and their patients, workforce, and communities facing the COVID-19 pandemic through interprofessional student service-learning projects.

Ellen Waidner, c/o 2021 Student Physical Therapy Association Treasurer, serves on the Oversight Committee, which consists of medical, physician assistant, pharmacy, master of public health, occupational therapy, and physical therapy student representatives. The role of the Oversight Committee is to assist project leaders in starting new projects, provide resources to already established projects, and to develop a large group of volunteers from each program to carry out these projects.

Below are a few of the ongoing projects our PT students are leading that are currently happening within the CSSC.

Social Support

Gaitor Challenge Outreach

Student Leaders:

  • Blake Wallert, SPT class of 2022
  • Jennifer Menke, SPT class of 2022
  • Kathryn Thompson – COM

Gaitor Challenge plans to stay connected with participants in hopes of helping them maintain and improve their level of activity, along with providing social interaction. The group is currently expanding the outreach to families from Putting Families First and other groups in the community. The students contact participants on a weekly basis for social support and send out weekly activity tips and information about local resources.

Special Populations

Balance 180

Student Leaders:

  • Ashley Tringas, SPT c/o 2021
  • Kayce Whitbeck, SPT c/o 2021

Ashley and Kayce have set up activity and educational videos in a Google classroom for children and families who have attended adaptive gymnastics classes at Balance 180. They are working with students from the Departments of Occupational Therapy, Audiology, and Speech Language Pathology to create appropriate resources for the children.

Additionally, Kathleen Huffman and Angelina Castelli, first year DPT students, have transitioned the Children on the Go REACH group to provide social outreach for the children, contacting individual families and working towards a zoom interaction with a larger group that is scheduled to start soon.

Gratitude Projects

Thank-You Letters

Student Leaders:

  • Jessica Silk, SPT class of 2022
  • Regan Hamrick – OT

Jessica and Regan are working together to write personal notes, either handwritten or virtual, to healthcare workers on the on the front line at UF Health Shands Hospital.