Experiential learning gives Daemen students real-world advantages
Just do it. A leading footwear manufacturer used that slogan in an immensely successful marketing campaign of the 1990s that remains memorable to this day.
Those three words can also apply to the success of students studying health sciences at Daemen University as the institution focuses on providing experiential education – in other words, learning by doing. The idea is to give Daemen students real-world experiences during their studies that give them distinct advantages as they enter the medical profession or health sciences field. Here are some examples of Daemen’s innovative approach.
PT Institute gives high school students a head start
Daemen held its first-ever PT institute this past summer, offering a new way for high school students to find out more about the profession. Due to the selectivity of Daemen’s PT program, the symposium was limited to 26 students to ensure a quality experience. Students came from Buffalo-area high schools as well as Rochester, Vermont, and Pennsylvania.
Participants not only got a feel for the Daemen campus and faculty, they also learned about many major areas of PT, including cardiopulmonary, neurology, orthopedics, and pediatrics. Those who completed the week-long program earned two hours of university credit and a $1,500 Daemen scholarship.
“Our academic institute is a unique way of putting a growing profession on the radar of 16- and 17-year-olds,” explained Michael Ross, associate professor of PT at Daemen and co-director of the institute. “Students learned about the profession in a hands-on way and got a head start if they choose to pursue this path as a career.”
Giving students a personalized experience is one of the reasons Daemen’s PT program stands out among competitors. Class sizes at Daemen average a 13-to-1 student-to-professor ratio, and each student receives one-on-one advisement. The PT institute will become an annual offering at Daemen and interested high school students can apply beginning in the spring of 2023.
Parkinson’s Foundation Moving Day expands student knowledge
Treating patients with Parkinson’s disease is an up-and-coming area in the field of physical therapy, as different movements and exercises can help manage symptoms. So, when the local Parkinson’s Foundation branch reached out to Daemen University to request its campus as the venue for their Moving Day event, Lisa Inglis, clinical assistant professor in the Physical Therapy Department, saw the perfect fit.
“We have been expanding our curriculum and learning opportunities for students in the areas of physical therapy and treatment of Parkinson’s,” explained Inglis, whose research specializes in Parkinson’s disease. “The walk provided a unique chance for our physical therapy students to volunteer and interact with individuals with the disease – the type of experiential learning that helps expand student knowledge and move forward as future PT clinicians.”
Held for the first time on the Daemen campus this past September, the Buffalo Moving Day attracted nearly 50 teams of walkers and raised more than $104,000 for the Parkinson’s Foundation. Nationally, Moving Day has raised over $35 million and involved more than 161,00 participants. The national event aims to raise awareness of Parkinson’s and raise funds for research and treatments.
“The whole goal of physical therapy is to promote enhanced function,” noted Greg Ford, associate professor, and Physical Therapy Department chair. “Having faculty and students involved in the Parkinson’s event helped highlight how physical therapists work with individuals with the neurological disorder to benefit them and their overall quality of life.”
Interprofessional Education Event teaches comprehensive healthcare approach
Daemen University’s annual Interprofessional Educational Event took place on campus in September, continuing a six-year tradition of gathering faculty and students from a variety of health sciences programs to discuss collaboration in healthcare.
More than 122 students – in programs ranging from physical therapy and physician assistant studies, to nursing, social work, and psychological sciences – learned first-hand how they will interact with other medical professionals in providing patient care. Faculty members from across all disciplines presented the students with a case study of a complex patient situation, which they had to analyze together to determine best possible treatments and solutions.
“This event is a great opportunity for students to start the process of working with like-minded individuals who share the goal of providing the best possible healthcare to people,” explained keynote speaker Joel Patterson, an associate professor and program director of the Physician Assistant Studies Department. “In the healthcare industry, there is so much interaction between every profession.”
A world of opportunity
Learn more about experiential learning opportunities and the many programs offered at Daemen – Western New York’s premier health sciences educator.
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