Emory Hosted PTAG Meeting

The Fall 2009 PTAG meeting was hosted by the Division of Physical Therapy at Emory University. The meeting was held Friday through Sunday, October 23rd to 25th in the new James B. Williams Medical Education Building. This building is the primary teaching facility for Emory physical therapy, medical and physician assistant students. The beautiful new building utilized by the PTAG members contains state of the art meeting facilities, open lobbies (where the PTAG members displayed their latest research posters), and numerous classrooms. Over 170 members attended the Saturday business meeting and 13 research posters were presented. We enjoyed hosting this event to members of PTAG.

First-Year DPT Students Participate in the First Interprofessional Team Training Class Among Five of Emory’s Health Professions

On Monday, October 19th, the first-year Doctor of Physical Therapy Students participated in the first Interprofessional Team Training Class among five of Emory’s health profession programs. This class was developed for first-year students from Medicine, School of Nursing, Medical Imaging, Physician Assistant and Physical Therapy Programs. It was the first class in a series of three classes which will occur across two years.

The overall goal of the Interprofessional Team Training Series is to assist in transforming the culture of healthcare towards improved patient safety by providing introductory inter-professional learning opportunities on key concepts of communication and teamwork to students in various health professions in a systematic, multi-stepped educational intervention over the course of a two year period. The topic of the first class was “Communication”, the second class is “Role Identity”, and the third class is “Team Identity”. The second and third classes will be held in the Fall of 2010 and Spring of 2011, respectively.

On October 19th, 460 students gathered in the WHSCAB (Woodruff Health Sciences Center and Administrative Building) auditorium for a one hour lecture. Following the lecture, students split into small groups of 10-12 students with mixed program representation for role plays and discussion. The small group sessions were led by 88 facilitators, two per group from different health professions, who volunteered their time to assist with this class. Facilitators received information prior to the class and further training while the students were in their large group lecture.

The planning committee for the Interprofessional Team Training Class worked in conjunction with a psychologist from Georgia Tech to incorporate a research component. Data was collected before and after the first class, and will be collected throughout the series. Research will primarily be used for curriculum development, but will have other uses as well.

Physical Therapy Students Participate in New Opportunities for Learning Experiential Learning Facilities at Emory School of Medicine

excel_1The Emory Center for Experiential Learning (ExCEL) is located in the new Emory School of Medicine building. The center is a state-of-the-art facility encompassing over 10,000 square foot of educational space. ExCEL includes spaces for low-tech task trainers, sophisticated human patient simulators, and virtual reality equipment for surgical techniques. Experiential learning provides the trainee with a safe environment to learn and practice clinical skills. The skills range from basic procedures to sophisticated team-based scenarios. All sessions in ExCEL can be recorded and played back for later analysis and self-assessment. The training is done in a non-threatening environment for the trainee without consequences for an actual patient. The OSCE (Observed, Structured, Clinical Exam) Clinical Skills Center, SIM (Simulation) Lab, and the Fresh Tissue Laboratory are all part of ExCEL.


OSCE Center

The OSCE Center is used for standardized patient education, clinical skills education, physical diagnosis and other educational experiences. It contains four suites each of which contain a central debrief room with projection capability and 4 examination rooms equipped with examination table and standard clinic equipment. Standardized patients (actors) allow students to practice history, physical examination, and communication skills. Competency can be discreetly observed and assessed objectively with standardized evaluation instruments with immediate feedback. Feedback and evaluation can be provided by the standardized patient and the instructor.

Physical therapy instructors are utilizing the OSCE Center for practice and graded practical exams in General Medical, Musculoskeletal, and Neurorehabilitation Symptom Complexes.


Simulation rooms have the capacity for direct and remote observation and recording. Much of the equipment is mobile allowing integration of experiential learning into the class room and small group learning.

What is Simulation?

excel_2Mannequin-based simulations use high fidelity simulators. These simulators are mannequins that physiologically respond to treatment similar to what would occur in real life patients. The simulated patient can be assessed by the learner; they can initiate treatment with a resultant response, and perform a variety of procedures. This is done in a controlled learning environment that mimics the real-life patient care settings but is safe for the patient and learner. We offer several types of simulation experiences: high fidelity, full-sized mannequins, task trainers, actors that portray patients (standardized patients), and virtual reality for surgical procedures.


Each of the four simulation rooms are flexible spaces that can be manipulated to incorporate a multitude of scenarios. The simulators can create real-life teaching environments that range from outpatient examination rooms to inpatient rooms in areas such as the emergency department, intensive care unit, labor and delivery suite, and an operating theatre. Standardized actors can be incorporated to increase the realism of these environments. All the simulations can be observed in real-time through the control room or reviewed using a web-based broadcast which can be live or delayed. Evaluation software is available for assessment of student’s performance. Two large clinical skills spaces can be used for a variety of training programs and as lecture space. The center has two multimedia classrooms for debriefing sessions. In addition, we have additional space for Harvey, a high fidelity heart sound simulator.


High Fidelity Simulators

  • 4 Adult simulators
  • 1 obstetric simulator
  • 1 Newborn simulator
  • 1 Five year old simulator
  • 1 Endoscopy simulator
  • 1 Angiography simulator
  • 4 Surgical virtual reality laparoscopy trainers
  • 4 Surgical laparoscopy box trainers

Low Fidelity Simulators and Task Trainers

  • 4 ACLS simulators
  • 4 airway management trainers
  • 5 Central line mannequins including two ultrasound compatible mannequin
  • 2 Pediatric airway management trainers
  • 4 Birthing, pelvic, breast, rectal/prostate, and testicular examiniaton task trainers
  • 12 Intravenous training arms


  • 4 Blood pressure training systems
  • 4 Fundoscopic examination models
  • 4 Ear examination models
  • 5 Adult and pediatric CPR trainers
  • 5 AED trainers
  • 4 Lumbar puncture trainers
  • 3 Arterial blood gas trainers
  • 2 Gynecologic ultrasound trainers
  • 1 Knee arthrocentesis trainer

Students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program participate in various learning experiences in the SIM lab, including an intensive care unit simulation during the General Medical Complex.


Emory DPT Faculty and Clinicians Support National Physical Therapy Month

Emory DPT faculty members Brenda Green and Tami Phillips, along with Emory Center for Rehabilitation Medicine physical therapists Kelly Imes and Candace James, spent a beautiful fall day on October 3rd at the first annual Graduate Nursing Council’s Community Health Fair. The fair was held at Emory’s McDonough Field. Education provided to the community included information on stroke awareness and prevention, falls prevention, and safe lifting body mechanics. Brain Injury Prevention tips were provided for various age groups as well as information about the Think First program which is a national awareness and prevention program that CRM staff can provide to school-age children.

Faculty Member Zoher Kapasi Invited to be a Panelist on a Symposium About Healthcare

Dr. Zoher Kapasi was a panelist on a symposium entitled “Are we regulating Capitalism out of existence?” sponsored by The Academy of Capitalism and Limited Government Foundation held at University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign on October 1, 2009. Dr. Kapasi spoke on “Free Markets and Healthcare.” He took part in a Q&A session with the audience during the final 40 minutes of the symposium


Zoher F. Kapasi, PT, MBA, PhD
Associate Professor and Associate Director
Division of Physical Therapy

Chief of Outpatient Development
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
Emory University School of Medicine

Second Annual White Coat Ceremony Held for DPT Class of 2012

The second annual White Coat Ceremony was held on Saturday, September 12, in the sanctuary at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church on the Emory University campus. The ceremony marks the student’s transition from the study of preclinical to clinical health sciences and also initiates them in physical therapy ethics.

Dr. Alan Otsuki, Associate Dean for Medical Education and Student Affairs at Emory University School of Medicine, opened the program with Welcoming Remarks. Catherine Maloney, Director, Center for Rehabilitation Medicine at Emory Healthcare, and an Emory physical therapy program alumna, gave the Keynote Address. The White Coats were presented to the Division of Physical Therapy Class of 2012 by Dr. Susan J. Herdman, Professor and Director, and Jeff Hoder, Assistant Professor, Division of Physical Therapy, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. Dr. David T. Burke, Professor and Chair, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, provided the Closing Remarks for the program.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Dr. Susan Herdman led the students in a recitation of the APTA “Code of Ethics.” A reception followed the ceremony in the atrium of the Math and Science Building for faculty, students and family who attended the event. The officers from the DPT II class assisted during the ceremony and attended the reception to congratulate the DPT I students.

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Service of Gratitude – Held on Friday, September 11, 2009 at Canon Chapel


The first year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students, having just finished their Anatomy course, held a Service of Gratitude to honor the gift of cadavers they received to pursue their studies in anatomy. This non-denominational service was held at Emory’s Canon Chapel and was attended by the DPT program faculty and students along with families and friends of the students.

Students read passages about “giving” from their own works composed for the service and known authors. Additionally, students rendered vocal performances and displayed their own anatomical drawings as an offering of their gratitude. On behalf of the faculty, Dr. Zoher Kapasi, course director for anatomy, spoke at the service. The University Chaplain, Reverend Susan Henry-Crowe, Dean of the Chapel and Religious Life, led the service and was followed at the end by lighting of candles.

The Service of Gratitude is held every year at the end of the Anatomy course and is organized by the students. The service reinforces the values of caring and giving within our DPT students as they proceed in their training to become Doctors of Physical Therapy.



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Emory DPT III Student Works with a Patient Who is in the News


Erin Wilson Emory DPT III Student


Erin Wilson, a third-year Emory DPT student, has worked with many patients during her long-term neurorehabilitation affiliation at Specialty Care of Marietta. The story of one of these patients has recently been described in the local news:http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/dpp/news

Erin began working with this patient in June and treated her for four weeks. The patient’s main goal was to walk with only a cane, and to throw away her wheelchair. During the four weeks of physical therapy treatment, Erin taught her scanning and compensatory techniques in order to combat her visual impairments (caused by bilateral cataracts) as the patient progressed from a using a wheelchair, to ambulating with a rolling walker, to using a single-point cane. They also worked on ambulation outdoors, particularly on uneven surfaces. The patient was discharged from the facility approx ten days after she was discharged from physical therapy, where Erin determined the patient was now safe and able to live independently. Before leaving, all staff members at Specialty Care of Marietta organized a “Housewarming Party” for the patient, bringing in food, household items and other necessities to help start her new life.

Specialty Care of Marietta is a sub-acute rehab facility located directly across from Kennestone Hospital. It features a rehab wing, as well as a long term care unit (which is where this patient had resided for three years).

DPT I Student to Serve on the Global Health Institute Student Advisory Committee


Karen Wilson Emory DPT I Student


Karen Wilson, one of Emory’s DPT I students, has been selected to serve on the Emory Global Health Institute’s Student Advisory Committee.

Established in September 2006 as a university-wide initiative, the Emory Global Health Institute supports Emory faculty, students, and alumni in their work to find solutions to critical global health problems. The Emory Global Health Institute builds on Emory University’s long history of highly successful global health projects and partnerships by supporting:

  • Innovative global health Research Studies and Programs
  • Global health Training programs for students and health professionals
  • Global health Partnerships
  • Global health Scholarship and Information Sharing through symposia, speakers’ series, and curriculum development

The Student Advisory Committee includes student representatives from the different schools across Emory. The committee works together to organize events and programs that promote the awareness and improvement of global health.

For further information about Emory’s Global health Institute, go to: http://www.globalhealth.emory.edu/

Emory DPT II Student Wins the Gold at the 2009 World Games!!


Deb Cussen, a second-year DPT student at Emory, participated in the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung City, Chinese Taipei, as a member of the U.S. Ultimate Frisbee Team during July 19-21. After many games and tough opponents, the U.S team won the gold medal.

Over 100 athletes from across the nation applied to be a member of the co-ed National Ultimate Frisbee Team. 20 members were chosen and of these, thirteen participated in the Flying Disc competition at the World Games. Deb was chosen to be one of the thirteen who competed at the Games. She found a way to balance the demands of training and competition, including traveling to multiple practices and games and making the trip to Kaohsiung, with the DPT class schedule and coursework.

Deb made a significant contribution to the U.S. team gold medal with four goals and two assists during the Games. Deb said the experience was amazing, and she appreciates the support from Emory DPT faculty and classmates who helped make it possible for her to pursue this opportunity.

Congratulations to Deb and the U.S. Ultimate Frisbee Team!!