New position will generate national leadership in serving older adults
A major addition to Nolen C. Allen Hall created cutting-edge space for physical therapy education.
The nation’s largest employer of rehabilitation therapists and leader in the care and recovery for aging Americans, RehabCare (a division of Kindred Healthcare (NYSE:KND)), is partnering with Bellarmine University to establish a new residency program to train therapists with the specialized skills and training necessary to deliver wellness services to an older and more vulnerable population.
The RehabCare Chair in Adult Rehabilitation Studies will add a full-time faculty position to Bellarmine's Doctor of Physical Therapy Program to develop a post-graduate clinical residency program, build a model for developing advanced expertise in the rehabilitation of older adults, and enhance practitioner leadership skills. The initiative will also provide additional educational opportunities for Bellarmine students who will become the future workforce in the physical therapy industry.
The position will focus on the management, rehabilitation and wellness needs of older adults. Bellarmine and RehabCare leaders will work closely together to develop the clinical residency, which will be located within RehabCare’s sites of service. Currently only 12 such programs exist throughout the nation.
"RehabCare is dedicated to the healing and recovery of patients treated in Kindred and unaffiliated locations throughout the nation,” said Patricia Henry, President of RehabCare. “This partnership with Bellarmine represents a natural extension of our commitment to our patients, helping to ensure that future therapists have the expert and specialized training to meet the unique needs of an aging population.
"Kindred Healthcare and their RehabCare team are the nation's largest employer of physical therapists, and Bellarmine University is home to one of the nation's most prestigious physical therapy doctoral programs," said Dr. Joseph J. McGowan, Bellarmine's president. "This partnership, in Kindred's and RehabCare’s hometown, will help Bellarmine students expand their knowledge base, help RehabCare hire, cultivate and retain leaders in its industry, and support Mayor Greg Fischer's vision to make Louisville an international hub for the wellness and aging-care industries."
"As Louisville emerges as a global leader in the areas of lifelong wellness and aging care, we need to be sure we're educating the health care professionals that will lead these industries," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. "Innovative collaborations such as this one will help our community fulfill this vision."
Nationally, there are about 200,000 licensed physical therapists, with only 1,400 board-certified in the treatment of older adults. Only 14 of those certified therapists work in Kentucky; five are on Bellarmine's faculty. Bellarmine's Doctor of Physical Therapy program currently has 14 faculty members. In the last year, Bellarmine University unveiled the first fully endowed Physical Therapy Service Learning Clinic in the nation, the Michael E. Hobbs Physical Therapy Service Clinic and launched the Ahart-Severson Physical Therapy Leadership Initiative, a program designed to expand students’ perceptions of their leadership potential.