The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at DeSales University hosted its first annual Research Symposium on October 19. The event capped a yearlong project by third-year students, and many of them will get to present their findings at a state conference this weekend.
Six groups presented on topics ranging from “Effects of Pelvic Floor Muscle Training on Stress Urinary Incontinence” to “Serial Casting, the Most Effective Initial Intervention for Idiopathic Toe Walking: A Systematic Review.”
Students first showed off their findings in poster presentations in the lobby of the Gambet Center. Then, they made their platform presentations in front of fellow students, faculty members, and the public. “The purpose of it is to help them learn how to add to the professional body of knowledge in PT practice,” says Kay Malek, director of the DPT program.
Students worked in small groups and joined forces with faculty mentors to conduct their research studies. Brandon Frederick, whose group presented on “Influence of Rhythmic Drumming on Gait Speed and Fall Risk in Community-Dwelling Elders,” was drawn to the project from the beginning. “I loved the idea of using a musical instrument as a possible way to help solve a problem in the health-care field.”
The project helped further students’ knowledge of physical therapy practice and prepare them for their careers, while also teaching them about teamwork and leadership.
“A research project requires a tremendous amount of work, so there is a constant challenge of being good communicators, as well as being attentive listeners,” says Frederick. “I was most benefited by this project in that it allowed me to become a team player, to take responsibility for not only my own involvement in the project, but also to the members of my group.”
The project also helped to set the bar for younger PT students. “I think it helps them to understand the expectations of the profession,” says Malek. “I think it drives home that message that we have a responsibility to the public to drive research.”
Students will be able to use their experience from the symposium when they show their findings again. Five of the six projects will be presented at the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Association, starting October 28 in Lancaster. One project will be presented at the national conference of the American Physical Therapy Association in San Antonio, Texas in February.
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