Partnership helps EKU students practice skills in healthcare setting 

Clinic opens real-world education to students

RICHMOND, Ky.(WTVQ/EKU) — Providing opportunities for hands-on training, real-world experiences and applied research in numerous disciplines is the goal of a unique partnership between Marshall Pediatric Therapy and Eastern Kentucky University.

EKU students and faculty will be able to observe pediatric therapy with clinicians, interact with therapeutic equipment and assessments, participate in internships and engage in faculty-led research at a new clinic located in Richmond.

The collaboration was made possible because of the vision of EKU alumna Pam Marshall, founder and executive director of Marshall Pediatric Therapy, who desired to locate a clinic in Richmond, and a $25,000 grant from the Board of Regents Innovation Fund awarded to Dr. Dana Bush, chair of the Department of Applied Human Sciences.

Bush said the funds purchased specific technology and gross motor equipment that students will use during therapy observations. The Innovation Fund grant allowed EKU to provide a great deal of input into the development of the clinic.

“Facilitating the translation of ideas into reality is why the Board established the Innovation Fund,” said EKU President David T. McFaddin. “Our partnership with Marshall Pediatric Therapy is a prime example of how we can work together with alumni to create dynamic opportunities for students and faculty.”

Dr. Dana Howell, chair of EKU’s Department of Occupational Therapy, said she is excited about the possibilities the clinic will offer her students and faculty.

“This partnership will allow EKU students from occupational therapy and other disciplines the ability to gain clinical experience with actual therapists and pediatric clients in a real-world clinic,” she said. “The clinic will permit internship and practicum placements for a variety of EKU programs and faculty will facilitate learning activities and assignments in partnership with clinic employees.”

During their work at the clinic, students may learn about direct patient care, typical child development milestones, health care policy, professional communication, and much more. Students from a variety of disciplines will benefit from this partnership, including occupational therapy, child and family studies, nursing, communication disorders, social work, psychology, education, dietetics, athletic training and sign language.

Additionally, Howell said she hopes there are also opportunities to promote learning activities and collaborations with existing EKU programs, such as the Scholar House and the Center for Early Childhood Excellence.

Marshall is a 1989 graduate of EKU’s occupational therapy program and has been treating patients in Kentucky since 2002. She started Marshall Pediatric Therapy in 2013 in order to be able to provide high-quality therapy services to all families, without restrictions to insurance coverage or location. The clinic currently serves more than 1,300 patients and families per week. Additional clinics are located in Nicholasville, Lexington and Georgetown.

“It has been a dream of mine to have a place for students to be able to come and learn while real therapy is happening,” Marshall said. “We have an integrative model, which helps drive the research behind what is actually working for children. The partnership between us and EKU will bring excellence to pediatric therapy.”

Marshall Pediatric Therapy held a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday, January 18 for the Richmond location. The nearly 7,400-square-foot facility will offer a variety of services such as occupational, speech and language, physical and mental health therapies.

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