WVU to provide oncology physical therapy training opportunities through new residency program
The West Virginia University’s School of Medicine will soon be one of only seven institutions in the United States to offer a full-time, onsite Oncologic Physical Therapy Residency Program.
In collaboration with the WVU Cancer Institute, the program will allow residents to receive immersive training in cancer care, providing them with a unique clinical experience.
The School recently received candidacy status, allowing the program to onboard its first resident in July 2023.
“Physical therapy can greatly improve the side effects of cancer and its treatment, but unfortunately, due to the lack of trained therapists, patients have limited access to cancer-specific care,” said Megan Burkart, PT, DPT, residency program coordinator. “This residency will provide an opportunity for physical therapists to gain hands-on experience working with these complex patients to improve the quality of life for patients with cancer in West Virginia and across the nation.”
About 1 in 8 West Virginia adults are cancer survivors, according to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. “It’s a patient population that deserves better access to specialized rehabilitation care,” said Nicole Stout, DPT, associate director of the WVU Cancer Institute’s survivorship program.
“The oncologic physical therapy residency receiving its candidacy status is the first step toward providing the quality care West Virginians need,” Stout said. “Not only will these residents develop exceptional clinical skills, but also a deep understanding and appreciation for clinical research and community-engagement strategies to support rural cancer survivorship.”
Residencies and fellowships are accredited by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education and prepare participants to become board-certified, clinical specialists in their practice area.
As the first program of its kind in West Virginia, this accreditation advances oncologic physical therapy care and the University’s land-grant mission of bringing research and access to patient care services to West Virginians in need.
“The Division of Physical Therapy is committed to improving care in the state, the region and the country, and this program demonstrates that commitment,” said Ivan Mulligan, PT, chairperson of the Division of Physical Therapy. “We are proud of this achievement and look forward to promoting leaders, researchers and community advocates that will elevate the care provided in West Virginia and across the nation.”
For more information about the Division of Physical Therapy and the physical therapy oncologic residency, visit medicine.wvu.edu/pt.
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