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Physical Therapy

An electronic newsletter from the UNMC PT education program

January 2012

Welcome to our mid-year review
Jack Turman , Jr Intro for PT Newsletter Aug 2012
Jack Turman, Jr Welcome Aug 2012 (1:41)
Class of 2012 Congratulatory Breakfast 

In May, we celebrated the graduating class of 2012 with a breakfast and special keynote speaker, Michael Vaccaro, US Marine Corps Veteran, Purple Heart recipient, goalie/defense for USA Warriors, and head coach of the sledhockey team. Read an article about how Omahasledhockey.org has come about as a result of the relationship Dr. Turman established with the Warriors. 

Michael Vaccaro Speaks to the UNMC PT 2012 Graduates
Michael Vaccaro Speaks to the UNMC PT 2012 Graduates
Faculty Research Successes


Katherine Jones, PT, PhD, (primary investigator) and Dawn Venema, PT, PhD (co-investigator) received funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for CAPTURE Falls: Collaboration and Proactive Teamwork Used to Reduce Falls. Value: $593,088 (direct costs $429,115). The research team also includes Roni Reiter-Palmon, PhD, Director of UNO's Industrial/Organizational Psychology program, and Regina Nailon, RN, PhD, Clinical Nurse Researcher from The Nebraska Medical Center, Gary Cochran, PharmD, SM from UNMC's College of Pharmacy, and Jane Potter, MD from UNMC's College of Medicine. Twenty Nebraska hospitals, 17 of which are critical access hospitals in rural areas, will be partnering with the research team over the next two years to change the clinical practice paradigm of inpatient fall risk reduction from a nursing-centric approach to an interprofessional team approach, including physical therapy, in which falls are considered an indicator of organizational quality.   

Student Happenings

Amanda Harlow, DPT2, was appointed student representative to the Nebraska Foundation for Physical Therapy Board.


Three PT students received 2012 College of Medicine Student Summer Research Assistantships:
Megan Gosselin, assisting Max Kurz, PhD and Kathy Volkman, PT, MS, NCS; Feasibility of electrotactile stimulation on the tongue to improve the balance of individuals with Multiple Sclerosis.

Amanda Harlow, assisting Lie Gao, MD, PhD; The effects of exercise training on the Angiotensin II Type 1 receptor pathway molecules in rats with heart failure.

Emily Hemingway, assisting Laura D. Bilek, PT, PhD; Effect of exercise on senescent T cells in patients with cancer.


One PT student received funding from the School of Allied Health Professions.

Emily Boston, assisting Katherine Jones, PT, PhD; Is there an association between hospital fall rates and safety culture?


We are excited to welcome 51 students to the new class of 2015, including Xin Zhang, our first student from China as part of the Shanghai Sino-US Health Science Initiative -- a collaborative partnership between UNMC and Tongji University.

Community Outreach

Joe Norman PT, PhD, in the Division of Physical Therapy Education in collaboration with Beth Beam, MS, RN, in the College of Nursing's Healthcare and Emergency Responder Organization Education through Simulation (HEROES) Program are developing a video library to assist volunteers in General Population Disaster Shelters. The scope of services provided by volunteers has expanded in response to the needs of individuals now being housed in these shelters. Volunteers must now provide Personal Assistance Services in these shelters which include transferring individuals, providing wheelchairs or other mobility aids, in addition to providing assistance with bathing, toileting, dressing, walking and eating. A series of professionally produced 1-2 minute "How-to" videos are being developed which will provide shelter volunteers with a "Just-in-Time" resource library for quickly learning how to provide various types of assistance in a safe manner. The "Just-in-Time" videos are hosted on the HEROES website which can be readily accessed at www.unmcheroes.org.


The UNMC EMPOWER Project is a multidisciplinary student organization committed to fulfilling the health and wellness needs of women who are victims of domestic violence. The organization strives to address these needs by providing health education workshops, medical screenings, and women's clinical services in an effort to promote awareness of and autonomy over healthcare issues. There are opportunities for students from any of the colleges to participate in the Empower Project. Most often PT students serve as PT recruiters; it is their responsibility to make sure that on the evenings where the exercise wellness and prevention presentation is scheduled to be given, there are two PT students there to give the presentation and demonstrate the exercises. Empower holds meetings at the WCA (previously the YWCA) on the first and third Mondays of the month from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

Faculty and Staff Accomplishments

Katherine Jones, PT, PhD was appointed to the Technical Expert Panel of the "National Implementation of the Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program (CUSP) to Reduce Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI)." This project is funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).


Wayne Stuberg PT, PhD, PCS, FAPTA, Associate Director for Education at the Munroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation at the University of Nebraska Medical Center at Monroe Meyer, was recently elected as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). This is considered to be the highest honor as a member of the APTA. Worthingham fellows are recognized for having a consistent record of contribution to the profession through excellence in education, research or advocacy, and practice. This entails a remarkable level achievement. Wayne was formally recognized at the APTA Annual Conference in Tampa, Florida, June 6-9, 2012. 


Kathleen Volkman, PT, MS, NCS received the Outstanding Researcher of the Year award from the UNMC School of Allied Health Professions.



Yates BC, Pullen CH, Santo JB, Boeckner L, Hageman PA, Dizona PJ, Walker SN. The influence of cognitive-perceptual variables on patterns of change over time in rural midlife and older women's healthy eating. Soc Sci Med. 2012 Aug; 75(4):659-67. Epub 2012 Feb 8.


Jones KJ, Cochran TM, Jensen LE, Roehrs TG, Volkman KG, Goldman AJ. A cross-sectional assessment of stroke rehabilitation in Nebraska hospitals. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
93:9, P 1662-1670, Sept 2012.


Norman JF, ExPAAC Proceedings: Exercise Training for Individuals With Heart Failure. J Geriatr Phys Ther 2012 Aug 5.  


Willett GM, Buresh TL. T-1 Radiculopathy. Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy.  2012; 42(8):739.  


Willett GM, Wachholtz NA.  Patient with Internal Carotid Artery Dissection: A Case Study. Physical Therapy. 2011; 91(8):1266-1274.


Alumni Corner
Division Alumni Reunion Activities -- 2012 (Classes of '02 & '07)
September 7-8, 2012 Registration for these events is handled through UNMC Alumni Relations. Questions? Contact Catherine Mello at 402-559-4354.

Save the Date!
All School of Allied Health Alumni Reunion 
July 19-20, 2013 

Alumni Directory Project 
This year, the UNMC Alumni Association will publish an all alumni directory. You will be contacted by PCI, a directory-publishing company, and asked to update your contact information. No one is required to give out their contact information; however, doing so will help us keep in touch with you in the years ahead.  Participants will have the option to purchase a printed or CD copy of the directory for their personal use.  Please keep in mind that PCI will not share your personal information with anyone else.  An alumni directory is a common tool used by universities across the country to track their graduates.  If you have questions about this project, please contact UNMC Alumni Relations at (402) 559-4385.  

Sponsor a White Coat 
The PT Alumni Chapter is currently accepting white coat donations to support second year students at the August 25, 2012 professionalism ceremony. Visit www.unmc.edu/alumni  to make a donation. 
 PT Class of 2014 White Coats DPT Class of 2014 in their white coats
Division Happenings

APTA recognized the division for achieving platinum status in APTA's REACH100 Challenge.


August 4, 2012, we brought in Tom McPoil, PT, PhD, FAPTA, a Professor in the School of Physical Therapy at the Rueckert-Hartman College of Health Professions of Regis University in Denver, CO, to conduct a continuing education lab/lecture course, "The Foot: Physical Examination & Selective Interventions."
McPoil Course 


The annual Career Fair will take place on Thursday, September 20, 2012 at the UNMC Student Life Center. First year students will meet from 12:00-1:00pm. Second and third year students will meet from 1:00-3:30pm. Companies wishing to participate must register by September 14, 2012. Please contact Gail Hackendahl for more information (ghackend@unmc.edu or 402-559-8173).

The Division was recognized by the APTA for achieving platinum status in APTA's REACH100 Challenge.

Vision Statement

Rooted in compassion, knowledge and ingenuity, the faculty, staff and students in the UNMC Division of Physical Therapy Education promote the health and abilities of individuals, families, and health care organizations to contribute to the wellness of communities throughout Nebraska, nationally, and globally.


Mission Statement

The UNMC Division of Physical Therapy Education promotes the health and abilities of individuals, families, organizations, and communities by:

A). Providing entry-level and postgraduate programs that educate practitioners to provide safe, evidence-based, patient and family centered, and equitable care.

B). Conducting innovative research that spans across cellular to community levels.

C). Providing physical therapy services, consultation and advocacy.


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Welcome Joseph
Ka-Chun Siu, PhD
Joseph Sium 

Welcome to our newest faculty member, Joseph Siu, PhD, joining us on September 1, 2012. Dr. Siu brings a wealth of knowledge of public health research and compassionate teaching, and he will serve as coordinator of the physical therapy education collaborative that we have developed with Tongji University in Shanghai, China. 


Dr. Siu's primary research area is occupational health and biomechanics, focusing on the elderly population and minorities. It includes fall prevention in aging, rehabilitation, and intervention. He is interested in studying the mechanism of human balance control and locomotion, and he developed a training program for community-dwelling older adults. He is currently extending this research in minority populations. His second research area is focusing on motor learning and control in human performance. It includes skill acquisition, medical education, simulation technology and telemedicine. One of Dr. Siu's current projects is developing training protocols for medical fellows to learn robotic surgical technology in medicine using virtual reality.

If you have information you would like to see included in future newsletters, please contact Fran Higgins at fhiggins@unmc.edu.