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 11-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 and Nicaragua 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.