Physical Therapy faculty receive significant state recognition

December 18, 2020

Two faculty members in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program received significant recognition at the virtual fall conference of the Kentucky chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA-Kentucky). Dr. Dennis Lesch received the David A. Pariser Exceptional Educator Award, and Dr. Nancy Urbscheit was honored with the Donald H. Lange Lifetime Achievement Award. 
The Kentucky chapter also thanked Bellarmine’s Dr. Beth Ennis for her three years of service as chapter president as she transitions out of that role. “Beth has been a highly engaged and effective president for APTA-Kentucky, especially during very challenging times,” said Dr. Tony Brosky, dean of the College of School of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences, which houses the Physical Therapy Department. “Not only through the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in leading the association through tough legislative and reimbursement issues.”  
Brosky praised the dedication and the contributions of Drs. Lesch and Urbscheit, who taught at the University of Louisville before joining Bellarmine’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program in 2001.
“With over 80 years of their collective contributions to academic physical therapy, they have influenced generations of practicing clinicians,” he said. “If you or a family member has ever been treated by a physical therapist in this region, it is highly likely that the physical therapist received some of their training under them.”
David A. Pariser Exceptional Educator Award


The David A. Pariser Exceptional Educator Award recognizes exceptional teachers who serve as role models for students, faculty and clinicians. It is named for a beloved faculty member of Bellarmine’s  Physical Therapy who died in 2013. 

Lesch has taught entry-level students for 40 years at Bellarmine, U of L, the University of Kentucky, Washington University and Medical College of Ohio. While serving as director of Rehabilitation Services at Humana Hospital, he took on a permanent part-time faculty role at U of L in 1984 and transitioned with the program to Bellarmine University in 2001. He became a full-time Bellarmine faculty member in 2016 and launched the geriatric residency program.
Lesch embraces new technology and new ideas, which has served him well during the past two semesters of online education prompted by COVID-19. He always puts students first. For example, he recently joined as co-faculty in Functional Anatomy. He noticed a disconnect in the carryover from the students’ summer Clinical Anatomy course and the fall Functional Anatomy course. The following summer, he audited the Clinical Anatomy course so that he could improve the transition and strengthen the connections between the two courses.
Donald H. Lange Lifetime Achievement Award
Urbscheit has demonstrated a commitment to lifelong learning in her career through her educational attainment, scholarship pursuits, teaching and community service. She earned her degrees in Physical Therapy in 1968 and 1970 and a Ph.D. in Physiology in 1973 at the State University of New York (SUNY) in Buffalo and began her career in academia in 1973. After academic appointments at SUNY Buffalo, the University of Iowa and East Carolina University, she moved to Louisville in 1983 to help start the Physical Therapy program at the University of Louisville. She transitioned as a professor with the program when it moved to Bellarmine in 2001, where she continues as professor emerita.
Urbscheit was one of the first physical therapists to receive grant funding from the National Institutes of Health. She has 13 peer-reviewed publications, including chapters related to neurology in Umphred’s Neurological Rehabilitation and in Nelson and Currier’s Textbook of Electrotherapy. She has also made 13 scientific and professional presentations.
She transferred her love of music—she plays the flute and piccolo, is a member of the Panpipes Flute Choir, and taught music to students with learning disabilities at Pitt Academy—to rehabilitation, leading a free “Let’s Dance” class for people with Parkinson disease twice a week at Bellarmine since 2008.

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