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Programs News Kevin Storr May 25, 2023

Physical therapists' role is everchanging and adapting with society. The rise in healthcare disparities has revealed the crucial role physical therapists play in preventative care, chronic disease management, and promoting overall health and well-being.

What is Primary care PT?

Primary care PT refers to the delivery of physical therapy services in a primary care setting, where therapists play a crucial role in the early detection, prevention, and management of a wide range of conditions. This approach emphasizes a holistic view of patient care, encompassing not only the treatment of physical impairments but also addressing psychosocial factors and promoting overall wellness.

Filling the Gap

The UAB School of Health Professions Graduate Certificate in Primary Care PT for Underserved Populations is a new comprehensive program designed to equip physical therapists with specialized knowledge and skills to address the unique healthcare needs of underserved communities. This graduate certificate aims to bridge the gap in healthcare disparities by training professionals who are passionate about providing primary care PT services to vulnerable populations.

Entirely Online

An entirely online program, students will have the flexibility to complete their degree while working as a licensed physical therapist or enrolled in an accredited DPT program. The program’s innovative curriculum provides students with the knowledge, skills, and cultural competence necessary to provide high-quality primary care PT services to underserved populations.

“How can we practice at the top of our license?” Dr. Lein, Program Director, asked himself while developing the curriculum. “We focused on repackaging and advancing skills that are learned in a DPT program in order to fill the gap and serve as a primary care provide.”

Essential Courses

The curriculum of this certificate program encompasses a range of essential courses, including:

  • Foundations of Primary Care PT: An introduction to the principles and practice of primary care PT, focusing on the assessment and management of common conditions in underserved populations.
  • Cultural Competence in Healthcare: Explores the diverse cultural, social, and economic factors that influence the health outcomes of underserved communities, emphasizing the development of culturally sensitive care strategies.
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention: Examines strategies for promoting health, preventing diseases, and managing chronic conditions within the context of underserved populations.
  • Community Engagement and Advocacy: Equips students with the skills necessary to actively engage with communities and advocate for improved access to healthcare resources and services.
  • Emergency and Disaster Management: Provide knowledge and skills to be a member of a first responder team to help plan for or serve during an emergency or disaster.

Ideal Applicants

The UAB PT Graduate Certificate in Primary Care PT for Underserved Populations is ideal for physical therapists seeking to expand their expertise in providing care to marginalized communities. Applicants should be practicing physical therapists or DPT students committed to making a positive impact on underserved populations and aspire to be leaders in primary care PT.

The mission of this certificate program is to empower physical therapists through comprehensive education and practical experiences. Graduates of this program will be well- prepared to address the unique healthcare challenges faced by vulnerable communities, ultimately contributing to reducing health disparities and improving the overall well-being of society.

To learn more about the graduate certificate, visit the program's website.

To apply to the program, please click here.


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