PT Students with a Vision for Giving Back

The doctor of physical therapy Class of 2016 has a vision of forging a lasting legacy through an endowment fund. Dean Phillip R. Oppenheimer, PharmD believes that the Physical Therapy Visionary Endowment of the Class of ’16, ’17, ’18, ’19 and ’20 reflects the culture of philanthropy that has been exhibited by the current classes of PT students. “The physical therapy Class of 2016’s intention to create an endowed travel fund has generated an unprecedented level of excitement and enthusiasm among the students, faculty, staff and alumni,” shares Dean Oppenheimer.

Decades-of-GivingWe will have five years to fundraise $50,000,” explains Susan Webster, Director of Development. “When that amount is reached, it will be matched by the Powell Match program bringing the fund balance to $100,000.” The Powell Match was established by the extraordinary $125 million gift from Robert and Jeannette Powell. A full $85 million of the Powell’s gift is dedicated to matching, dollar for dollar, new endowment gifts of $50,000 or more that support scholarships or enhance the academic experience of our students. Funds from the endowment will be used to assist students with travel expenses so that they may attend national conferences.

The largest conference for the PT profession is the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) annual Combined Sections Meeting (CSM). In 2016 over 11,300 attendees came from across the country to attend the conference, which was held in Anaheim, California. “By definition, CSM is a program designed by all 18 of the APTA’s specialty sections,” explains Teresa Li ’16. “Each section can be considered a unique facet to the PT profession and each section provides programs with the most up-to-date, evidenced-based concepts or treatment techniques relevant to the population of patients or topic they specialize in […]. The truth is, PT cannot truly be broken down into 18 sections when you are treating a patient! When you attend a program from one of these 18 sections at CSM the concepts and techniques discussed can be applicable to a vast majority of patients you see no matter what setting you are in.”

The motto of CSM is “Together we will transform society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.” Li has taken this motto to heart. She shares, “I believe every physical therapist has a duty to think outside the box to strive to enhance our profession. Together we can truly improve the way people move and thus enhance their day-to-day life. Dr. Todd Davenport once urged us to break down the meaning of the CSM motto and think about how we can actually transform society. He taught us that in order for us to transform society in our profession, we must bring new things to the table by merging other schools of thought and expertise to the PT profession. Dr. Davenport is a stark example of this having recently earned a Master of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. He plans to bring his new expertise of public health, along with his broadened social network of public health experts, to the PT field […]. Dr. Davenport is an inspiration to our profession with his forward thinking and incredible work ethic, I hope to one day contribute to the field of PT in a similar way.”

Kyle Clark ’15, DPT believes that a ripple effect is created when students have the opportunity to attend national conferences. He explains, “The fund benefits the physical therapy profession as a whole because it helps send University of the Pacific DPT students to a conference where they are able to learn more about the profession and the newest research being published, which in turn will benefit their future patients.” He adds, “It is important for both students and licensed physical therapists to attend CSM to learn about the new cutting-edge technology, network with other individuals and companies and continue to grow their knowledge in regards to evidence-based practice. It is a great opportunity to learn new things that you can take home with you and immediately use in your practice in order to provide better care for your patients.”

Alumni play a vital role in partnering with students who will soon become their colleagues. Clark shares, “It is important for alumni to give back and support future DPT students because the students are our profession’s future.” This endowment fund was established to support students as they develop into professionals. Naina Batra ’16 explains, “Giving back to the future classes will allow them to focus on completing their professional education.” Webster adds, “The Class of ’16 and Class of ’17 are a special group of students who have recognized a need.” She is excited to see their vision become a legacy.

Contact Susan Webster for more information on how to support this student-led endowment at swebster@pacific.edu or 209.946.3116.