Message from the Director: Mark Bishop, PT, PhD, FAPTA

Picture of Mark Bishop

Everyone, welcome to the Spring 2023 edition of the Gator PT. I hope you are doing well and that you are enjoying the spring season and sunny weather! We have had another big and busy Spring.

In the past weeks, the class of 2023 graduated. We welcomed Dr John Childs as our Barbara C White lecturer at the class of 2023 White Coat Ceremony, and we were excited to celebrate the class’s achievements with them. Thank you to Bob and Donna Goldstein for supporting this event. This class began their journey on Zoom or in separate rooms in small groups with an assigned partner for labs. Over 8 semesters, they saw considerable changes in education and care delivery, and they were able to connect as a class, complete their coursework, and successfully finish all clinical experiences! Congratulations to everyone.

Class of 2024 completed their first full-time clinical experiences, putting principles into practice, and are representing UFDPT well. I thank all our clinical partners for supporting the education of the UFDPT students.

The class of 2025 began our newly modified curriculum that includes new courses on emerging areas of practice, pathophysiology, and two case based courses designed to promote integration of skills and content. From all reports, everyone enjoyed the manual therapy unit with Dr Bialosky in the final half of the Spring semester after an intense semester of neuroscience, pathophysiology, and anatomy.

All our students remain very active in the community through the REACH program supporting activity promotion, working with children in adaptive gymnastics, and providing pro bono physical therapy services through the Equal Access Clinic (EAC) network. Two of the graduating students, Alex Mace and Shane Mathew, were recognized with University Presidential awards for their service with EAC, and many more students were recognized by induction to the “Pro Bono National Honor Society.” In addition, international service learning has finally restarted with a very successful return trip to the Yucatan in Mexico.

The faculty continue to do remarkable work that advances the evidence base underpinning our practice and builds on our recognition as one of the most influential departments on rehabilitation practice in the world. The Advances in Muscle Biology conference co-organized by Dr Andy Judge attracted participants from across the globe. Drs. Andrea Behrman and Jane Kent joined us as speakers at the Neuromuscular Plasticity Symposium organized by our neuromuscular plasticity T32 training program and BREATH Center. We made good progress on our strategic goal to better integrate these research experiences, as well as the Rehabilitation Seminars and PHHP Research Day, into coursework designed to expose UFDPT students to the groundbreaking work in rehabilitation research that is changing how we will practice in the future.

San Diego turned on some special weather for the week of CSM with flood warnings and some unseasonable cool days (anyone else not take a warm jacket?). None-the-less, UFDPT faculty, alumni, and students were everywhere at Combined Sections Meeting. More than 30 individuals associated with the department participated in education sessions, platforms, and poster presentations. We also had our first in person Alumni reception since Denver in 2020 and it was great to catch up with many of you there.

For Gator Giving Day this year we supported the Rolf and Anne Kuhns Endowment for Physical Therapy, which supports clinical excellence and in part keeps our Clinical Learning Center and Equal Access Clinic functioning. We also were able to fund the Alumni and Friends scholarship, supporting students from diverse backgrounds become physical therapists. The newsletter highlights all the students who have been supported through named endowments and your amazing generosity. Thank you everyone for your continuing support of DPT education at the University of Florida.

On the personnel front, Dr Emily Fox was named the Director of Brooks/UF PHHP Research Collaboration. We are excited to see what initiatives arise going forward. I’d also like to introduce you to some new people helping drive the program. First, Rabya Hein joined the team as an Operations Specialist, keeping the “behind the scenes” running smoothly. Michael Hodges also joined us as a Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of Clinical Education. Welcome to you both.
Follow the links to check out more information about these stories and more and thank you for reading this far! Wishing everyone happy, healthy summer.