Four curricular threads are integrated across the UTEP DPT Program curriculum as described below. The ultimate purpose of the threads is to produce graduates who are prepared for contemporary practice and who reflect our mission.
Cultural / Linguistic Engagement and Competence
The cultural / linguistic engagement and competence thread reflects our Program’s commitment to preparing students to work effectively with individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Students are educated about the importance of understanding and respecting each patient’s culture in order to best serve their health care needs. Various cultures are discussed, including but not limited to: the Hispanic culture, the disability culture, and the LGBTQI community.
Students learn that limited English proficiency (LEP) negatively impacts health outcomes. In order to improve their ability to engage with the many Spanish-speaking individuals with LEP in our region and beyond, Spanish language training is threaded across the curriculum. Various learning opportunities are offered, including but not limited to a Spanish course, Spanish practice in clinical courses, Spanish Lunch & Learn events, and service-learning in the community with Spanish-speaking clients with LEP. Each student is assisted to improve their Spanish proficiency, no matter their level of proficiency upon entering the DPT Program. American Sign Language (ASL) also is introduced.
At the heart of achieving improved competence is engagement outside of the classroom. Students are encouraged to get out of their comfort zones through various activities throughout the curriculum. These activities interprofessional education activities focused on culturally and linguistically-diverse populations, service-learning, and other service in the community. Additionally, students are encouraged to engage in professional development, and become active with the Greater El Paso District, Texas Physical Therapy Association, and the American Physical Therapy Association.
Evidence-Based Practice and Research
Accessing, analyzing, and applying current evidence is at the heart of excellent contemporary physical therapy practice. To that end, students are educated to be effective consumers of research in order to prepare them for evidence-based practice (EBP). EBP-related curricular activities include the Research Methods course, Evidence-Based Practice course, and EBP-related assignments in various clinical courses. Students are also educated to be producers of research. Under the mentorship of a faculty advisor, each student completes a systematic review or original research for their Capstone project. Capstone-related assignments are threaded across the curriculum. The Capstone project culminates with a manuscript, oral defense of their project, and public presentation of a research poster. Many students’ Capstone project also lead to presentations at state and national conferences, and publications in peer-reviewed journals. Such scholarly activities also help to prepare students for success in post-graduate educational opportunities, such as residencies and PhD studies.
Clinical reasoning is essential for optimal patient/client care. Although no single definition of clinical reasoning exists, the UTEP DPT Program defines it as a dynamic and systematic process of data collection and critical analysis that intentionally synthesizes knowledge, current evidence, the patient/client narrative, and environmental context leading to a clinical management decision. To ensure a consistent approach to the development of this complex skill, we developed the UTEP DPT Program Clinical Reasoning Framework. Faculty incorporated the Patient/Client Management Model and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health to guide students through the clinical reasoning process. Faculty use this framework in clinical courses across the curriculum.
Interprofessional Collaborative Practice
A robust thread of interprofessional education (IPE) is woven across the curriculum in order to prepare students for effective interprofessional collaborative practice. Students engage in IPE during every semester of the didactic curriculum. For example, students interact with Nursing students when evaluating standardized patients during Hospital Day at the UTEP Center for Simulation. They also collaborate with students from various professions during three large case-based IPE events. Additionally, students engage with medical students at IPE events hosted by the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, and opportunities exist for interprofessional teams of students to evaluate or screen clients in various clinical courses. By the time the students depart for their full-time clinical education experiences, every DPT student will have learned with and about students from Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Rehabilitation Counseling, Social Work, and Speech-Language Pathology as well as students from the medical school.
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The University of Texas at El Paso
Mailing Address: 500 W University Ave. El Paso, Texas 79968
Physical Address: 1101 N. Campbell St.
El Paso, Texas 79902