Physical Therapy Students Provide Vital Balance and Memory Screenings for the Community

Doctor of Physical Therapy
Doctor of Physical Therapy Community Screening
 Doctor of Physical Therapy Community Screening

Spearheaded by Christine Ross DPT, clinical/applied assistant professor of physical therapy, students within the University of Hartford’s Gerontology and Geriatrics Physical Therapy course offered a no-cost balance and memory screen for older adults in the community at the Mandell Jewish Community Center on March 19. Tema Silk, a participant in the program described it as both “an excellent opportunity for me and for the students at UHart.” 

Participants received a copy of their balance and cognitive screening results to share with their health care providers. Additionally, they were provided with information on community programs addressing fall prevention, and physical and brain health. 

Ross was passionate about sharing her expertise in working with older adults with her DPT students, hoping they would put into practice what they learned in their classes. This is what motivated her to coordinate the event. 

The real-world exposure proved invaluable for students, fostering growth and confidence in their clinical skills. This aligns with the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions' commitment to providing students with hands-on experiences that enhance their understanding and readiness for their future careers. 

Here's what some ENHP students said about the experience: 

  • “This opportunity teaches us how to respect and consider different walks of life in our patient care. We are learning to grow not just as students, but also as physical therapists” – Arjana Tufekci
  • “Clinical experiences have taught me how important it is to be there for someone; you can truly change a patient's life, and this was a great opportunity to do just that.” – Chris Bellino
  • “In clinical settings, you learn more and can apply what you learn in the actual setting, which is something difficult to do in the classroom.” – Lexie Doran
  • “The overall opportunity to give back to the community is so rewarding, and our campus being so close to clinical settings really gives us the opportunity to connect with both providers and patients.” – Chloe Phillips

Clinical experiences have taught me how important it is to be there for someone; you can truly change a patient's life, and this was a great opportunity to do just that.

Chris Bellino, Doctor of Physical Therapy Student
DPT program community screening
DPT program community event

The dedication and compassion demonstrated by DPT students during this real-world experience exemplifies the supportive environment fostered at UHart. Graduate school can be daunting, but at UHart, there is nothing but support. “My favorite part about the program is the social support. We succeed together and build each other up; there is never competition” – Erica Silver. This sentiment was echoed by Angie Louis, “In our cohort, we are in the same boat; we all support each other.” The support goes beyond peer-to-peer contact; faculty are here to support students every step of the way. 

Overall, the collaboration between physical therapy students and the local community reflects the core values of service and excellence that define the University of Hartford. As these students continue their journey towards becoming compassionate and competent health care professionals, they carry with them the lessons learned from this experience—lessons of empathy, dedication, and community engagement. Through initiatives like this, we not only fulfill our educational mission but also contribute positively to the well-being of those we serve. ENHP looks forward to continuing to make a difference in the lives of individuals in our community, one screening at a time. 

Special thanks to the Mandell Jewish Community Center for allowing students to hold this event in their spaces.