USF-UWF Doctor of Physical Therapy Program welcomes inaugural class

Pensacola, Fla. (April 29, 2014) The University of West Florida hosts a reception today to welcome the first class of seven students who were recently admitted into the University of South Florida/UWF Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Partnership Program.

 The USF/UWF DPT Program expands access to UWF students interested in pursuing a DPT degree, while meeting a state-identified need for more physical therapists in Northwest Florida, a largely rural region of the state.  The Florida Board of Governors approved the formation of the partnership program in January 2013, following the Florida Legislature’s appropriation of $1 million in 2012 to help fund it.

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L to R: Dr. George Stewart, director of the UWF School of Allied Health and Life Sciences; Renea Porsch, Brittany Crocker and Megan Coleman, some of the students admitted to the inaugural USF/UWF Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Partnership Program; UWF President Judy Bense; and Dr. William S. Quillen, director of the USF School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences.

The partnership allowed the USF Health School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences to expand enrollment in its nationally ranked, three-year DPT degree program by as many as 12 additional students a year. The newly created slots are competitively available to UWF graduates who meet USF’s DPT admissions requirements.

UWF students admitted for the Fall 2014 semester include:

  • Kelsey Brown, ’14, B.S.      Exercise Science
  • Hanna St. Denis, ’12, B.S.      Exercise Science
  • Megan Coleman, ’14, B.S.      Exercise Science
  • Brittany Crocker, ’13, B.S. Exercise      Science
  • Rebecca Graves, ’13, B.S.      Exercise Science
  • Renea Porsch, ’14, B.S.      Athletic Training
  • Danielle Sims, ’13, B.S.      Exercise Science

The students will be awarded a $2,500 scholarship for each of the three years they are enrolled in the program. They will spend their first year of studies at USF, followed by two years of studies and clinical internships at UWF.

“We are so proud of the UWF graduates who were admitted into the inaugural class of the USF/UWF Partnership Doctor in Physical Therapy program,” said Dr. George Stewart, director of Allied Health and Life Sciences. “They chose UWF twice, once for their undergraduate degree and now a second time for the first health professional doctoral degree established at the University through the tireless efforts and dedication of our friends and colleagues at USF.  This is a seminal event that opens a new dimension of educational currency provided by UWF to our regional partners in healthcare, and there is more to come.”

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“We welcome these inaugural students to our innovative USF-UWF partnership program that will help meet the state’s rapidly growing demand for physical therapy services,” said Dr. William S. Quillen, director of the USF School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences and associate dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

Kelsey Brown, a native of Tampa, said her undergraduate experience at UWF, coupled with the knowledge and skills she will learn through the USF/UWF DPT Program, have given her the confidence that she will excel in her future career.

“UWF’s small classroom settings, paired with unrivaled relationships with professors who allow us to experience our education through a hands on approach, have truly pushed me to succeed,” Brown said. “With the USF/UWF DPT program being immersed in this environment, success will definitely be the only outcome. Through the experiences and outstanding education offered at UWF along with the new DPT program, I know I will be substantially prepared for my future successes.”

For additional information on the program, visit www.uwf.edu/dpt/

 About the University of West Florida: Founded in 1963, the University of West Florida is a vibrant, distinctive institution of higher learning with undergraduate, graduate and targeted research programs. With multiple locations in Northwest Florida, the University serves a student population of more than 12,000. Dedicated to helping students realize their full potential, UWF favors small class sizes with quality teacher-scholars who deliver personalized, innovative, hands-on learning and leadership opportunities.

About USF Health: USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group. The University of South Florida is a Top 50 research university in total research expenditures among both public and private institutions nationwide, according to the National Science Foundation. For more information, visit www.health.usf.edu.

Media contacts:
Megan Gonzalez, University of West Florida Public Relations
MeganG@uwf.edu or 850-797-0922

Anne DeLotto Baier, USF Health Communications
abaier@health.usf.edu or (813) 974-3303