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Program News

APTA Credentialed Clinical Instructor Course

Dates: June 7th 7:30 - 5:00, June 8th 8:00 - 5:00

Location: University of Montana - Missoula

School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences

32 Campus Dr, Skaggs Building Rm. 114

Presented by APTA Trainers: Kimberly Mize, PT, DPT & Cynthia Robinson, PT, PhD

Course Description: This program is recognized by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) as a Certified Clinical Instructor (CI) Program. The program addresses issues of planning and preparing for allied health professional students during their clinical education experiences, developing learning experiences and supporting ongoing learning through questioning and effective feedback. Skills in evaluation are discussed as well as the identification and management of students with exceptional situations. The program also addresses legal implications for clinical educators, including issues related to ADA legislation and student supervision.

The “Assessment Center” provides each PT/PTA participant with the opportunity to apply information learned during the program to simulated situations. Attendance at all course sessions and successful completion of all stations in the Assessment Center results in the awarding of the APTA’s CI Credential and inclusion in a national database of credentialed CIs. The Course and Assessment Center will be useful for both new and experienced physical therapist and physical therapist assistant clinical educators.

Audience: The program is designed for both new and experienced clinical educators.  APTA will award a CI Credential to physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who attend all sessions and successfully complete the Assessment Centers.  APTA does not have an Assessment Center for members of professions other than physical therapy, but will provide a certificate of completion to these participants.

All participants completing the Assessment Center will be required to sign a Statement of Confidentiality.  There may be certain activities taught that by law cannot be performed by the physical therapist assistant or other healthcare professionals.

Objectives: By the end of the program, the participant will be able to:

  • Identify his/her role and responsibilities as a Clinical Instructor
  • Examine a student’s readiness to learn
  • Integrate learning experiences in the clinical environment
  • Assess a student’s performance
  • Reflect congruency with documentation of student performance and measurement in the CPI.
  • Develop skills for the management of exceptional students
  • Discuss some of the legal issues in clinical education

PT/PTA participants will receive 1.5 CEUs (15 contact hours) and other professionals and foreign-trained PT/PTAs will receive 1.2 CEUs.

Registration Information - DEADLINE: May 9, 2014

Fees include APTA course manual and morning and afternoon refreshments. Lunch will be “on your own”.

University of Montana Clinical Affiliates: The PT Program will each absorb the cost of the first 20 UM Clinical Affiliates at the APTA member rate of $90. Non-APTA members will be responsible for the additional $90.00. (This support is available on a first-come basis until funds are exhausted.)

Registration Fee & Forms

PT or PTA members of APTA: $90     Non-members: $180

Other health care professionals: $230 – no assessment center

Registration can be completed at:

Please address questions to Heather Mincey ( or call (406-243-2167). Confirmation, directions and final schedule will be sent after receipt of registration.

REFUND POLICY:Individuals must request a refund 72 hours prior to the start date of the course and the CI course manual must be returned to the APTA. The amount of refund will be equivalent to the APTA portion of the registration fee only. Refund amounts equal to or less than $70.00 will be issued in the form of a credit voucher, applicable towards the purchase of any product from the APTA store or toward registration fees for courses or conferences.


Working to Develop Clinical Research Partnerships

The School is actively working to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with local community groups.  For instance, Ryan Mizner received a grant last month from the Foundation for Physical Therapy entitled, “A Novel Unweighting Technology to Address Psychological Impairments Limiting Outcomes after ACL Reconstruction”.  Please click here for a corresponding press release from the Foundation.

He is exploring ways to engage health professionals in the project. We have had several clinician groups come thru the lab to learn more about our research including staff from the NSE clinic as well as the UM’s Rhinehart Athletic Training Center. Recently, Alpine Physical Therapy elected to get a hands-on experience with the research project in order to gain a better understanding of the testing process and potential clinical implications.

**Alpine's Jess Kehoe demonstrates her jump landing  technique while fitted with reflector markers used for a digital analysis of her hop landing using UM's 3D high-speed VICON camera system.

The grant project represents a good example of how forging community partnerships can have strong mutual benefits. Local clinicians can help by pledging their support for the idea and recruitment assistance in a grant application. The grant award helps provides fiscal support for the scientists’ time spent working on the project in order to develop a new clinical treatment approach. The promising treatment approach fills an unmet need to those patients who may still have lingering impairments after they have completed traditional outpatient rehabilitation. Further, the data collected during the research process will answer clinically important research questions, while providing valuable information to both patients and clinicians from state-of-the-art research tools. The scientists then share their results both locally and internationally in peer-reviewed scholarly products and continuing education offerings.  Concurrently, our students have opportunities to participate in nationally-funded research project that is helping to move clinical practice forward.

Alpine PT is motivated to collaborate with on-going UM PT research to help improve our understanding and care for patients by precisely examining their movement mechanics.  We appreciate Alpine’s efforts to collaborate with the School. We hope to expand our offerings from our research laboratories to forge synergistic relationships with groups both on and off campus. If you are interested in learning more about the Movement Science Laboratory’s facilities and research projects, then please visit these brief video links on the lab’s website. 


tDPT Spring '12 Update and - Discounts!

With 70 new students admitted in this spring's cohort in the tDPT curriculum, the total enrollment, including the first classes of graduates, has now exceeded 1000 across the nine cohorts in the program that was initiated in the fall of 2008. The curriculum, which bridges those with either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in physical therapy to the DPT designation, will soon be accepting applicants for the Fall cohort that begins in August 2014.

Financial incentives are available for UM PT alumni and active clinical instructors; the program is designed to be affordable, self-paced and requires a singular on-campus weekend course within the 20-credit curriculum for those with a master’s degree and 30 credits for those with the bachelor’s degree. A 5% rebate for tuition to the transitional DPT program at The University of Montana is available for alumni of the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science and for physical therapists that serve or offer to serve as Clinical Instructors for UMPT students. 

If you wish to receive the rebate, we would ask that you work with your facility’s Center Coordinator of Clinical Education (CCCE) and volunteer to take a UM student at some point just prior or during the time you are taking the courses for the t-DPT.  If a student doesn’t opt for the internship slot you have offered, we would expect that you would continue offering a slot until we have matched a student with you. CCCEs that coordinate the placement of UMPT students to their facility are also eligible for this rebate.

Link to to learn more about the program.


Congratulations Ryan!

Please join us in congratulating Ryan Mays on his recent receipt of the Jacqueline M. Leaffer Prize in Cardiology from The Center for Women’s Health Research (CWHR) on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.  Dr. Mays was recently hired as a Research Assistant Professor in the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. He was selected based on his current research goals and direction, research funding obtained, papers written, and discoveries made that demonstrated progress in women’s heart health. The Jacqueline M. Leaffer CWHR Prize in Cardiology has been endowed by Karen and Steven Leaffer of Denver, Colorado, in honor of their late daughter, Jacqueline Marie, as part of her legacy to improve the future of women’s health. 


PT Student Explores Neurotherapy Through Summer Rotation at UM Clinic

Wendy Lee didn’t have to look far to find her top-choice summer rotation site leading into her final year at UM’s School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. Lee, a U.S. Army vet originally from Bigfork, stuck around Missoula to work in the Nora Staael Evert Physical Therapy Clinic in the Skaggs Building, where she was able to explore her interest in neurologic therapy under the guidance of Clinic Director and Assistant Professor Susan Ostertag.

Lee joined the Army right out of high school and was trained as a medical lab tech. She knew eventually she wanted to pursue a career in the health sciences, and her broad experience through the military led her to pursue a doctorate of physical therapy.

Though she grew up in western Montana and has many UM alumni in her family, Lee shopped around a bit before settling at UM

“I wanted to go to the best place,” she said. “I looked at some different universities, but this was it.”

Physical therapy students at UM develop a range of experience through required rotation each year of their postbaccalaureate education. The first three rotations ­– two in the summer and one during winter session – require students to work in outpatient, acute care and inpatient/skilled-nursing positions.

“It’s really important for us to come out with well-balanced experience,” Lee said.

Lee’s summer rotation at the UM clinic satisfies her outpatient requirement and also allowed her learn from Ostertag, one of only three certified neurologic specialists in Montana.

Ostertag said it was rewarding to see Lee grow and develop her skills over the summer and interact with patients.

“I work with patients off and on for years, so I develop a very close relationship with them,” Ostertag said. “I always think it’s a compliment to my students when my patients accept them basically as their physical therapist.”           

During the last week of her rotation, Lee worked with her summer patient Mark Byrn, a retired Missoula County Public Schools teacher who is relearning how to walk in the wake of a neurological disorder and a spinal cord injury stemming from surgery.

Lee strapped Bioness electrical stimulation cuffs to the top, outer part of Byrn’s calves. The system uses electric pulses to stimulate the muscles, allowing Byrn to strengthen the tibialis anterior, the muscle that lifts your toes upward when you walk.

The pair made their way out of the Skaggs Building, across the brick plaza over the Urey Lecture Hall and toward the Oval, where they were able to rest on “Mark’s rock.” The rock, one of the large, angular boulders that pepper campus, serves as Byrn’s goal, recharging station and a place for Lee to check in with her patient and evaluate his progress before the trip back to the clinic.

Under the guidance of a clinical supervisor, Lee helped Byrn adjust the cuffs on his legs and the amplitude of electrical stimulation. They discussed his form, speed and how he felt. Finally, they headed back to Skaggs, where Mark completed his session by walking about 30 feet without assistance from his trekking poles.

Byrn only has received therapy at the UMPT Clinic since the end of May, barely longer than Lee has worked on her rotation, but he said his progress has been monumental. He’s hopeful he will “walk” again, though Lee and the clinic staff are quick to remind him he already is walking, and quite well.

Byrn is a perfect example of the type of patient Lee wanted to work with. While many students, staff and faculty members visit the UMPT Clinic for an evaluation of an “ortho” issue like a sore joint or a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the evaluation of patients with neurologic conditions requires a different set of clinical skills.

Nearly 50 percent of individuals receiving therapy at the UMPT Clinic have some type of neurological involvement, so Lee was able to gain experience working with a variety of patients. She credits the summer rotation with helping to develop her clinical-reasoning skills. The ability to determine what the issue is and the best way to address it is especially important for patients who may be starting from zero and need to completely relearn how to walk.

“It’s a lot to consider,” Lee said. “Say someone broke their back, they’re in a brace and they can’t walk. Where do you start? Reassessment also is important. Being able to say, ‘OK, that didn’t work, what else can we do?’”

Her neurologic focus this summer will help Lee as she begins her final year of PT school at UM. In the spring, she’ll complete her final, 15-week rotation at the Veterans Affairs clinic in Seattle, returning to her roots in a military setting.













Accreditation Program Outcomes as of 2012

The accrediting body for the DPT program, CAPTE, requires all programs provide the public with accurate, reliable and easily available information about student outcomes, preferably via the program's webpage. At a minimum, this information must include graduation rate, ultimate licensure exam pass rate, and employment rate, over the most recent three years, and must be updated annually at the time that the program submits its Annual Accreditation Report. These rates are as follows for the 2012 reporting period:

  • Graduation rate: 96.9%
  • Licensure examination pass rate:100%
  • Employment rate: 100%


Local High School Students Exposed to the Workings of Physical Therapy

Students from the new Health Science Academy at Missoula Big Sky High School toured the University of Montana’s campus at the end of November.  The academy provides a hands-on, project-based biomedical STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum.  The program is designed to expose and prepare students to engage in the Health Sciences as a career while still completing the required courses needed for on-time graduation. The School participated in the UM campus event for the academy as a means of exposure to the career of physical therapy.  The School’s contribution was spearheaded by Dr. Sue Ostertag, Assistant Clinical Professor, who organized a three station event. The high school students toured the Nora Staael Evert Physical Therapy Clinic with instruction and demonstration from one our staff physical therapists, Dr. Jason Krumbeck.  They also rotated through the New Directions Wellness Gym with Gym Coordinator Molly Blair organizing an interactive participation with our gym’s specialized equipment.  The final rotation in the School was in the Movement Science Laboratory where our research technician, Curt Hammill, provided demonstrations and applications of some of the lab’s motion analysis equipment. 









To learn more about the experience and benefits for all, please visit this video link to hear a 90 second news story on the event from UM Journalism study Cody Proctor - .

The University of Montana-Missoula
School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science
32 Campus Drive
Missoula, MT 59812-4680
Phone 406.243.4753 Fax: 406.243.2795

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