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DPT Students Help Provide Rehab Care to Immigrants

by Stephen Carp, PT, PhD, GCS May 9, 2019

For the past two and a half years, a voluntary multidisciplinary medical clinic has been caring for the non-citizen immigrants in the basement of a church in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

Students and faculty from a number of Pennsylvania medical educational programs, including internal medicine, dentistry, optometry, nursing, social work, and case management volunteer their time and talents to care for these persons.

Representing the profession of Physical Therapy are third year doctor of physical therapy (DPT) students from DeSales University, who partner with DPT students from Widener University and Temple University to provide much needed rehabilitation care to the non-citizen immigrants of all ages.

Putting any political opinions aside regarding immigration, the often unseen and undiscussed tragedy is that most of the non-citizen immigrants lack access to health care services due to lack of insurance, lack of ability to pay, or fear of deportation.

Babies are being born without pre-natal care, children with cerebral palsy go without early intervention services, acute injuries such as fractures and burns are treated in the home, and persons with strokes are not receiving rehabilitation services.

Under the counsel of faculty from DeSales, Widener, and Temple, The DPT students help this underserved population and develop treatment schedules, treatment protocols, provide interventions, collect and repair durable medical equipment, maintain medical records, and even write grants for equipment and supplies.

Brittany Gumerman, a third year DeSales DPT student has authored, and was recently awarded, a foundation grant to purchase rehabilitation supplies for the clinic.

Many thanks to our DeSales DPT students who most assuredly are “being who they are and being that well.”