LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UAMS) - Approval to begin educating physical therapy students at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) at its northwest Arkansas campus was given today by the Coordinating Board of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.
The approval means UAMS can move forward in the process to create the doctoral program, which will be in its College of Health Professions. The program, which must become accredited before it can accept students, plans to admit students in 2015.
"There's a great need in west and northwest Arkansas for physical therapists, and we are committed to addressing this through having this program on our regional campus," said UAMS Provost Jeanne Heard, M.D., Ph.D.
A needs assessment done in 2011 showed there were 300 openings for physical therapists across the state, and by 2016 there will be 800 unfilled positions, Heard said. That's more than can be filled by the three existing physical therapy education programs at other universities in the state.
Douglas Murphy, Ph.D., dean of the College of Health Professions, said the UAMS program will begin with 26 students and plans to add 26 a year for the three-year program to earn a doctor of physical therapy (D.P.T.).
"We are eager to be able to add this program that will create great opportunities to fill physical therapy vacancies in northwest Arkansas and across the state," Murphy said.
The Higher Education Coordinating Board, meeting in Harrison, voted to approve the program for the UAMS Northwest campus. The program will be funded by philanthropic gifts, student tuition, grants and clinical revenue.
For more information about the program, call the College of Health Professions at 501-686-5730.