A few years ago, while adjusting the curriculum for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Missouri State University, faculty and staff identified a need in the Springfield community.
A large portion of the Springfield population was uninsured and not able to receive the treatment they needed.
In response, the PT department created a pro bono clinic for patients without insurance or patients lacking insurance coverage for physical therapy services.
More than physical therapy
During patients’ visits, social work students meet with patients to help with other needs.
“When you look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, people need shelter, food and water. And when they don’t have those things, it’s hard to focus on PT,” said Wendy Jackson, clinical instructor in the School of Social Work.
“We try to help with all of those needs while they are here receiving treatment.”
How the clinic operates
The free clinic offers:
- Neurological services.
- Joint care.
- Posture and spine programs.
Students in the PT program evaluate and work with patients under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist.
“Our students are able to work every week in our clinic and gain real on-the-job experience,” said Cook. “They end up working over 1,000 clinical hours before starting their clinical courses.”