New doctoral program addresses Siouxland's need for physical therapy care

Patrick Cross
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Dr. Pat Cross, program director for Briar Cliff University's Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program*, is pictured in his program's state-of-the-art lab and clinical room.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — In the shadow of Southern Hills Mall, Briar Cliff University graduate students are training to provide Siouxland with a new crop of physical therapists.

Briar Cliff’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program* at the Mayfair Center, 4280 Sergeant Road, welcomed its first batch of students in July. The program is the first branch campus for the university, whose main campus is on Sioux City's northside at 3303 Rebecca St.

“We didn’t create a physical therapy program to create a physical therapy program. There is a huge need in this region.”

— Dr. Patrick Cross, DPT Program* Diector

The 22-student physical therapy cohort, the test flight of sorts, is on its third and last semester of its first year. Patrick Cross, program director and professor of physical therapy, said this is the first of many groups that will fill a need in Siouxland.

“I think, most importantly, we didn’t create a physical therapy program to create a physical therapy program,” Cross said. “There is a huge need in this region. We only have about 60 percent of the therapists we need in this region.”

The three-year, 136-credit-hour program walks students through the ins and outs of physical therapy and health sciences. Classes, Cross said, are arranged in a block-style format. Students begin a semester with two classes for about a month and move on to the next set of classes.

Inside the building, students have the opportunity to learn the trades of a physical therapist with hands-on opportunities. Two treatment rooms allow students to conduct simulated treatments, but the first cohort has also eased into one of the program’s offerings to the community – a clinic to help patients that have lost the ability to pay for therapy.

First-year student Stephanie Senne said the ability to help patients while pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy is, to her, the defining element of the program.

“It’s hands-on and not every program has that,” said the 23-year-old from Welcome, Minn. “And it helps the community and those that are less fortunate.”

Read the entire Sioux City Journal article →


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*Effective April 29, 2015, the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Briar Cliff University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates that the program is progressing toward accreditation and may matriculate students in technical/professional courses. Candidate for Accreditation is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation.

Tags: Academics, CHCI, DPT Faculty, Faculty, BCU, Local Media, Graduate Degrees, HPER, Graduate Programs, Kinesiology, DPT