Physical Therapy Students Treat Local Patients During a Service Learning Trip

HIGH POINT, N.C., June 5, 2019 – High Point University physical therapy students from the Congdon School of Health Sciences traveled to Guatemala to take the skills they learned in the classroom and treat a diverse patient population within a variety of clinics throughout rural parts of the country.

HPU students partnered with the nonprofit, Hearts in Motion, which provides quality medical care and assists in the development of social programs to improve health, education and welfare of people they serve in the United States, Central and South America.

“It was exciting to see how so many hours of studying at HPU translated to real-life clinical scenarios and decision-making,” said Mary Mahon, a second-year physical therapy student.

With limited resources and scarce healthcare professionals, Guatemala provided HPU students with the opportunity to develop their clinical creativity and immerse themselves in a culture outside of their own.

“This experience reminded us why we chose physical therapy as our profession and brought to light the incredible need for skilled physical therapy in the rural areas of Guatemala,” said Danja Worden, a second-year physical therapy student. “Due to the restricted resources available to us, we learned how to make a little go a long way, something we can take back to the clinics in the High Point community.”

Throughout the trip, students had the opportunity to work with both American and Guatemalan physical therapists.

“Emily Haven, a physical therapist at HIM, taught us one of the most important lessons about our career,” said Sarah Miller, a second-year physical therapy student. “And that is being a physical therapist is not only about adding days to each person’s life, but about putting life back into each person’s day.”

“This experience defines the idea behind a learner-centered approach,” said Dr. Alexis Wright, associate professor of physical therapy. “The students were immersed in a learning experience that required them to seek questions to answers, and facilitate their learning. You could not ask for a better learning experience as a physical therapy student.”

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