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Programs News Kevin Storr August 27, 2018

Jennifer Christy, PT, Ph.D. is the new program director of the UAB Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. Christy has been a researcher and faculty member in the UAB School of Health Professions since 2004.

“We are so fortunate to have Dr. Christy taking on this critically important position,” said David Morris, PT, Ph.D., chair, UAB Department of Physical Therapy. “Her energy, enthusiasm and passion for physical therapy make her perfect for this role.”

Christy is also part of a multidisciplinary research team whose state of the art lab, The Vestibular and Oculomotor Research Clinic, is located within the School of Optometry.

The goals of the team are to identify and treat vestibular related impairments in children with balance problems and athletes with concussion. Current studies include evaluation and treatment of children with cerebral palsy, identification of behavioral biomarkers for concussion and development of novel technology to deliver gaze stability exercises. 

Improving the ability of pediatric physical therapists to assess and treat children with balance impairments is one of Christy’s top objectives. Another is to train and facilitate future clinicians to participate in clinical research.

She believes she can accomplish both in her new role as leader of the next generation of physical therapists.

“The UAB DPT program has a rich history of excellence and has great potential to become the top PT program in the nation,” said Christy. “We have a winning team – including faculty with an abundance of clinical, educational and research expertise – and students who value personal leadership, clinical excellence, and community service. I am beyond excited about the possibilities and challenges that await us.”

In addition to her students, Christy is dedicated to serving the community. In 2011, she earned the School of Health Professions’ Excellence in Service Award given annually to a faculty member who has made significant contributions to the School or their profession including projects and positions that bring national, state or local recognition and more.

For 21 years, she has served as the Camp Physical Therapist for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Summer Camp. She sees this as a way to give back to many because in addition to helping the campers and the volunteers, she brings back lessons for her DPT classes and inspires students to become camp counselors.

She also received the 2017 Lucy Blair Service Award from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). That award is given annually to PT members “whose contributions to APTA are of excellent quality.” 

“The UAB DPT faculty and students are constantly looking for ways to serve our community through the profession of physical therapy. As program director, I plan to continue the legacy of Dr. Diane Clark by intentionally including community service learning into the DPT curriculum,” said Christy. “Specifically, we plan to continue working with Equal Access Birmingham to provide pro-bono clinics and are developing plans to involve the students in an evidence based falls prevention program for community dwelling older adults.”  

UAB PT, ranked #20 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, has been a fully accredited program since 1967. The UAB DPT program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education(CAPTE) and serves a mission to prepare physical therapists who are evidence-based practitioners with the skills, knowledge and behaviors to deliver value-based physical therapy services, consultation, education, critical inquiry and administration, with a primary focus on clinical practice involving diverse populations.

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