Texas State Round Rock Campus launches new programs to provide physical therapy and health screenings

Inside TXST

Yvonne Rhodes and Jacob Sommers | February 27, 2020

healthcare practitioner helping man with physical therapy

The Department of Physical Therapy at Texas State University’s Round Rock Campus launched the Community-Access Physical Therapy Clinic in September of 2019. This pro bono clinic supplements the long-standing, low-fee physical therapy clinic which has been in practice since 1989. In the first year in Round Rock, the low-fee clinic provided more than 1,300 physical therapy sessions, and to date, the pro bono clinic has provided intervention for over 50 clients.

To speak to the uniqueness of these clinics, less than 25 percent of Doctor of Physical Therapy programs in the U.S. have fully functional, in-house physical therapy clinics – and a pro bono facility is rarer, at less than one percent.

The Community-Access Clinic was created to improve the health and wellness of uninsured or underinsured residents in Central Texas in need of physical therapy, and to provide doctoral physical therapy students with a faculty-supervised, safe learning environment. These students, with the support and mentoring of expert faculty and community physical therapists, offer orthopedic and neurological rehabilitation services.

Dr. Angela Rich, clinic director, described how the university offers two unique opportunities for the community to access physical therapy services. “Operationally, both clinics are the same,” said Dr. Rich. “The difference being a client must qualify for the services provided by the pro bono clinic. Currently, this qualification process is being provided by local pro bono medical clinics. This is a win-win for both the students and the clients.”

The Texas State Physical Therapy Clinic provides low-fee services Monday-Friday 1 to 5 pm or by appointment while the Community-Access Physical Therapy Clinic sees clients every Tuesday from 5 to 7 pm. For more information about the Texas State Physical Therapy Clinic, call 512-716-2639. To learn more about the Community-Access Clinic email freept@txstate.edu.

physical therapists helping man

Another new initiative of the Texas State Department of Physical Therapy is taking shape on the Round Rock Campus to serve surrounding communities. Dr. Scott Shaffer, Dr. Mark Lester, and Dr. Lois Stickley are conducting a study to provide community health, physical performance and injury risk screenings for adults. This study is also supported by doctoral research assistants Morgan Riggins and Jorge Diaz and doctoral physical therapy students.

The study, known as CHAPPPS, or Community Health Assessment Physical Performance and Postural Stability, was created to identify adults at risk for preclinical disability, future injuries and/or sub-optimal physical performance. This community service research combines the use of health questionnaires with physical performance tests to explore participants’ balance, agility and strength. After completing these tests, participants will receive feedback on their performance as compared to healthy adults of their same age. They will also receive a summary sheet that they can share with their medical provider.  

"Our society embraces annual dental, vision and hearing screens, but we lack a unified approach to screen for the primary causes of future disability, injury and impaired performance,” said Dr. Shaffer, the principal investigator on the project. “This screening provides a unique opportunity for individuals to assess their level of performance and injury risk in an engaging way.”  

physical therapist helping woman with exercise

The Department of Physical Therapy is currently accepting volunteers. Adults ages 18-89 in South and Central Texas may participate. To be eligible, participants must be able to walk independently and have not had lower leg pain, back pain or any medical condition that has limited their ability to participate in work or exercise for the last six months. For more information, call (512) 716-2644 or email mcr154@txstate.edu or sws70@txstate.edu.

Graduates of the university’s Department of Physical Therapy are in high demand. Over the last three years, 100 percent of Texas State’s physical therapy students have secured employment within six months of graduation.

Other health professions disciplines at Texas State boast similar hiring rates. One hundred percent of Texas State nursing students passed the licensure exam on their first attempt in the last four years, and 100 percent of communication disorder students passed the required national exam in the last three years.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922