Arcadia Partners with Montgomery County to Enhance Pro Bono Physical Therapy Clinic

February 23, 2022 Daniel DiPrinzio

Students at the ribbon cutting for the Pro Bono Clinic

In February, Arcadia University entered into a partnership with Montgomery County to enhance the Physical Therapy department’s pro bono physical therapy clinic. Recognizing the need for decreasing barriers to access health related services, the Arcadia University Pro Bono Clinic was designed to provide services to clients from the community, by students under the supervision of faculty, while integrating the concept of the client as a whole person.  

In addition to providing physical therapy services, the clinic will now host navicates — skilled human service professionals — from the county Department of Health and Human Services Office of Community Connections. The Arcadia graduate students providing physical therapy will refer clients to the navicates to work through needs beyond physical therapy that impact their health.

“The county’s Department of Health and Human Services has been a longstanding partner to the College of Health Sciences and the broader University, and we were eager to strengthen that partnership and offer a valuable service to the local area,” says Dr. Rebecca Craik, dean of the College of Health Sciences.

Navicates are knowledgeable about local, county, and state resources. They can both provide immediate answers to simple questions and address more complex issues. It’s anticipated they will start seeing clients on campus in March. 

“Starting before the pandemic, Dr. Craik, members of her team, and I engaged the county in discussions about the benefits and opportunities of launching the pro bono physical therapy clinic,” says Alison LaLond Wyant, executive director of the Division of Civic & Global Engagement at Arcadia University. “Dr. Craik arranged for Commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh ’19H to come to campus for that early discussion. The PT faculty saw the potential in the partnership.”

Dr. Kathleen Fortier, assistant professor of Practice, Physical Therapy, oversees the clinic. “This partnership supports our overarching mission to bring social needs and medical needs together for best outcomes,” says Dr. Fortier. “That is the heartbeat behind this. We eventually hope to make this a model for future practices.” 

In addition to pro-bono clinic clients, any resident of Montgomery County — including Arcadia faculty, staff, students, and Stay Fit clients — may take advantage of Navicate services.

Program leaders also hope to employ undergraduates to support the work through Civic & Global Engagement's community-based work study program.

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