In December 2000, the Department of Physical Therapy at Marymount University opened a Physical Therapy Clinic at the Arlington Free Clinic. The Arlington Free Clinic
is a nonprofit, community-based organization of volunteers committed to providing access to quality health care to low income, uninsured residents of Arlington, Virginia.
The Physical Therapy Clinic employs innovative education and health care delivery strategies to meet two important community needs: access to needed physical therapy services for Arlington County residents who do not have health insurance, and clinical education sites for Marymount University Physical Therapy graduate students.
Physical therapy services are coordinated by Marymount University Physical Therapy faculty, and are provided by faculty, community volunteers, and students.
Students enrolled in the graduate Physical Therapy program at Marymount University have a variety of opportunities to participate in PT Clinic activities throughout the curriculum. Students may volunteer to support clinic activities, participate in research projects related to data collection and patient care delivery in the clinic, and complete program clinical education requirements.
The PT Clinic is supported by grant funds from The Virginia Health Care Foundation
and The Washington Forrest Foundation.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program offers a unique service learning opportunity for physical therapist students to experience a culture different from their own. DPT students can spend the final 2 weeks of the 8-week clinical practicum as members of volunteer teams providing physical therapy and other general health services to under-served populations abroad. For the last several years, students have travelled to Costa Rica in Central America.
Students experience variations in individual, social, political, economic and health values while delivering physical therapy services. Direct access to patients and minimal resources for patient management typical of rural settings challenge their decision-making and creativity as developing practitioners. Appreciation for global health concerns and a requirement to contribute to health and well being of a disadvantaged population are included among the clinical practice outcomes.