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Portage Health partners with Michigan Tech for new PT program

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HOUGHTON – Michigan Technological University and Central Michigan University (CMU) are partnering to offer CMU’s doctorate of physical therapy program at Michigan Tech, to help meet a critical need for additional physical therapists in the Upper Peninsula.

MTU Partnership

Michigan Tech Chair of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology Program poses for a photo with Portage Health Rehab Director Mark Randell in a Michigan Tech classroom.

“This partnership between CMU and Michigan Tech provides an innovative learning environment for physical therapy,” said Jason Carter, chair of Michigan Tech’s kinesiology and integrative physiology program. “In 2006, Michigan Tech launched its Exercise Science degree, and we now have over 90 undergraduate students enrolled in that degree. A large percentage of those students aspire to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy, but also want to stay in the Upper Peninsula; this new degree program will help them do both.”

Students will take classes at both campuses, taught in an innovative distance-learning format. Clinical education experiences will take place primarily at medical facilities in the Upper Peninsula. Enrollment for the inaugural class will begin in the summer of 2013, with classes starting in June 2014, pending accreditation review by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

Support from community partners includes a matching gift of $125,000 from the Upper Peninsula Health Care Network and $25,000 from four UP hospitals – War Memorial, Portage Health, Aspirus-Keweenaw and Dickinson County Healthcare System.

“Physical Therapy is an integral component of the overall healthcare delivery system,” said Jim Bogan, president and CEO of Portage Health, the first local hospital to financially support the creation of the doctorate in physical therapy program. “This collaboration between educational and healthcare institutions will not only provide practical, experiential education, but will also foster the institutional networking that is vital to our ability to recruit and retain well-trained allied health professionals.”

The two universities have been working on the collaborative degree over the past two years. Carter cited Herm Triezenberg, Central’s chairperson of the School of Rehabilitation and Medical Sciences, as being instrumental to their progress.

Central Michigan University established its master of science in physical therapy program in 1994. It made the transition to the doctor of physical therapy degree in 2004.

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