UAMS.EDU

UAMS Northwest Names Physical Therapy Skills Lab for Schmieding Foundation

Feb. 12, 2015 | The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ (UAMS) Northwest regional campus in Fayetteville today unveiled a name for a new teaching lab critical to its coming physical therapy program — the Schmieding Neurological Skills Lab.

Peter Kohler, M.D., UAMS Northwest vice chancellor, presents a plaque to (from left) Lance Taylor and Gilda Underwood of the Schmieding Foundation.

Peter Kohler, M.D., UAMS Northwest vice chancellor, presents a plaque to (from left) Lance Taylor and Gilda Underwood of the Schmieding Foundation.

The name is in celebration of the foundation’s $100,000 pledge toward the physical therapy three-year doctoral program, which will welcome its first class of 24 students in August. The Schmieding Neurological Skills Lab will be used to teach physical therapy students skills for evaluating and treating those with neurological disorders including developmental disorders, spinal cord injuries, stroke and conditions such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

The physical therapy program, part of the UAMS College of Health Professions, is the first UAMS program housed solely on the Fayetteville campus. The lab, which is nearing completion, is one of five teaching labs to be used by the program. Program resources also include the recently opened Northwest Outpatient Therapy Clinic on campus where students will gain therapy experience with patients under supervision of faculty and clinic staff.

“The Schmieding Neurological Skills Lab is a critical component in creating an academic program that will expand opportunities for careers in physical therapy in Arkansas and increase access to comprehensive rehabilitation therapy in the region,” said Peter Kohler, M.D., vice chancellor for UAMS Northwest. “We are grateful for the strong support shown us by the Schmieding Foundation and others who have helped us assemble the resources needed to establish our physical therapy program.”

Underwood, Taylor and Douglas Murphy, Ph.D., dean of the College of Health Professions.

Underwood, Taylor and Douglas Murphy, Ph.D., dean of the College of Health Professions.

The Springdale-based Schmieding Foundation has been a strong supporter and partner with UAMS. In 1998, the Schmieding Foundation donated $15 million to UAMS to establish and construct the UAMS Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education in Springdale. A 2009 gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to the Arkansas Aging Initiative of UAMS allowed expansion of the successful Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program in Little Rock and seven sites around the state.

“Access to comprehensive rehabilitation services is a way to help aging Arkansans extend health and quality of life, so we are proud to support UAMS Northwest in its efforts to build a high-quality physical therapy program here,” said Gilda Underwood, president of The Schmieding Foundation.

John Jefferson, Ph.D., chair and associate professor for the Department of Physical Therapy in the UAMS College of Health Professions, said the skills lab will include the latest neurological rehabilitation equipment for assessment and treatment of patients of all ages.

“When completed, this lab will be equipped to practice neurological rehabilitation across the lifespan — from newborn to the elderly,” Jefferson said. “It is supported by adjacent physical therapy research labs and our comprehensive rehabilitation therapy clinic.

“Our students will have access to patients with neurological disorders and the faculty will be equipped to conduct research in neurological rehabilitation to improve quality of life and health.”

The other teaching labs will focus on orthopedic, cardiovascular and other conditions that require physical therapy.

In a 2013 needs assessment conducted by UAMS, nearly 90 percent of clinics, hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities in Northwest Arkansas agreed there was a need for a physical therapy education program in the area. The physical therapy program also could lay the foundation for an occupational therapy program further expanding the range of services for older adults through UAMS Northwest.