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Doctorate in Physical Therapy: Service Opportunities

Empower imageryEmpowerSCI is a 2-week residential program that has been hosted at Stony Brook University for the past several years. It caters to individuals who sustained an injury to their cervical spinal cord. The program focuses not only on formal rehabilitation through PT, OT, and recreational therapy; but, more importantly, rehabilitation counseling, peer mentoring, and knowledge-sharing between individuals who are going through similar challenges and experiences. Each program addresses the unique needs of the client through both individual and group therapy sessions, with client-developed goals to maximize the client’s ability to lead a happier, more meaningful and more independent life. EmpowerSCI, Incorporated, focuses to allow individuals with spinal cord injuries the opportunity to participate in successful rehabilitation during a time in their lives where they are motivated, healed (both mentally and orthopedically) and have the potential to succeed. Stony Brook faculty members, alumni and PT student volunteers assist to enable participants to try different adaptive sports such as handcycling, kayaking, swimming, yoga, adaptive aquatics, and dancing. The EmpowerSCI staff is composed primarily of volunteers, most of them Stony Brook students and alumni from our physical therapy, occupational therapy, and health sciences programs.

Fit Kids for Life is a multi-disciplinary, comprehensive program delivered over a 10 week period that provides a supervised curriculum emphasizing safe and healthy nutritional, exercise and behavioral modification for children ages 8-17 years old and their families. Jointly offered by Stony Brook University Children's Hospital and the School of Health Technology and Management, the program is administered by a board certified pediatric cardiologist and a doctorally trained physical therapist. The children meet twice weekly for two hours each day and, with the assistance from volunteer student personal trainers, they are taken through a fun and vigorous curriculum that ultimately fosters a healthy lifestyle. Parents and families are encouraged to participate and, at the completion of the 10 week program, children and their families are empowered with the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to live healthier lives.

D.R.E.A.M. (Dancers Realize Excellence through Arts and Movement) is the result of a collaboration that began 16 years ago between Stony Brook PT faculty member, Agnes McConlogue Ferro, and the National Dance Institute (NDI). A pilot study was completed in February, 2014, involving 24 students. The inclusion-based format allows age-matched typically-developing peers to become dance partners with children of astounding abilities and motivation. It truly is all about participation. This program offers students the ability to volunteer alongside Agnes and faculty from NDI to provide assistance to enhance participation for children with a wide variety of diagnoses…and abilities. Students who volunteer are encouraged to be active participants in this unique experience as the program provides opportunities for ‘hands-on’ activities and problem-solving throughout the day. D.R.E.A.M. also provides an opportunity to experience research in progress, as data collection on physical therapy goal achievement within an inclusive, participation-based format in ongoing.


Adaptive Sports Foundation

Lisa Muratori, PT, EdD, a faculty member in the physical therapy program at Stony Brook University, has been working with the Adaptive Sports Foundation (ASF) for twenty years. While she works primarily as a ski instructor, she has been involved year round with various programs. ASF is a non-profit organization that provides sport-based experiences for children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities and chronic illnesses through outdoor physical activity, education, support and community. ASF students are five years of age and older and live with disabilities ranging from learning impairments to paralysis, autism, amputation, cerebral palsy and traumatic brain injury. The Foundation’s work promotes physical activity for children and adults with disabilities by offering skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, paddling, windsurfing, fly fishing, cycling, fitness training, yoga, golf and waterskiing seasonally. In addition, the ASF has been selected as a regional site for the dissemination of a year round program called Warriors in Motion, specifically designed for troops injured in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.