David Morris, Shawn Galin, Donald Lein

The UAB Office of Standardized Patient Education has been selected to receive the Physical Therapy Advocate Award by the Alabama Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association. The honor recognizes individuals outside of the profession whose activities promote and elevate the practice of physical therapy.

The award recognizes the ~70 community members employed by OSPE as standardized patients and the OSPE faculty and staff: Shawn Galin, Ph.D., director, Tara Edmonds, Ph.D., director of assessment, Zac Babb, patient educator, and John Andrews, III, program manager.

“Simulation is a powerful teaching approach, both in clinical and non-clinical settings. In particular, the debriefing that students do after the simulation experience provides them with an opportunity for reflective thinking and for integration of their ‘book knowledge’ with what they experienced in the simulation,” said UAB Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Provost Pam Benoit, Ph.D. “Congratulations to Shawn and his OSPE team.”

The OSPE provided students in the UAB Doctor of Physical Therapy program with face-to-face encounters where learners interact with standardized patients in mock clinical experiences. In these roles, the patients have been trained to represent the conditions and challenges seen most often by PT practitioners in a clinical setting.

“They have worked tirelessly to provide resources and training for us to be able to offer this experience to each cohort of DPT students. We cannot think of a more impactful way to elevate the physical therapy field than to impact the future generations of PT practitioners,” said Tara Pearce, PT, DHS, associate professor, director, UAB DPT Clinical Education.

In the nomination letter to APTA Alabama, written by Pearce and Patty Perez, PT, DScPT, associate professor, UAB DPT program, they point out that the OSPE program provides a true clinic experience, which in turn gives students confidence in their knowledge, skills and abilities at that perfect moment when they are about to enter the workforce full time.

“The experience and the feedback provided during these sessions elevates the practice of physical therapy by providing our DPT students with tangible ways that they can improve their interpersonal skills during patient interactions. Our students often say that working with the standardized patients is one of the most meaningful experiences that they participate in during their time in our program.”

In their letter, Pearce and Perez also nominated everyone who served as a standardized patient for students in the UAB Doctor of Physical Therapy program. They call the standardized patients themselves the true heroes of this entire endeavor.

The Physical Therapy Advocate Award was delivered to the UAB Office of Standardized Patient Education team at the 2022 APTA Alabama Annual Conference in Birmingham on August 6, 2022.

OSPE is a part of the UAB Center for Interprofessional Education and Simulation, which is in turn part of the Office of the Provost. Also included in CIPES is the Office of Interprofessional Simulation (OIPS), led by Dawn Taylor Peterson, Ph.D., an associate professor, Department of Medical Education in the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, and the Office for Interprofessional Curriculum (OIPC), led by Allison Shorten, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Acute, Chronic and Continuing Care in the UAB School of Nursing. Galin, the OSPE director, is also a professor in the Department of Medicine in the UAB HSOM.