Baylor Physical Therapy Program Garners National Recognition
by Judy Long
The U.S. Army-Baylor University graduate programs in physical therapy received two prestigious research awards at the 2004 conference of the American Physical Therapy Association in Nashville in February. The U.S. Army-Baylor joint programs, based at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, also rose in the "Best Graduate Schools" rankings of US News & World Report from 13th nationally in 2001 to fifth in 2004, placing the program in the top two percent for physical therapy programs in the country.
Col. Darwin Fretwell, dean of the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School Academy of Health Sciences, was gratified by the awards.
"I am pleased with the US News & World Report ranking for graduate schools showing the U.S. Army-Baylor physical therapy programs ranked fifth in the nation among all physical therapy schools," said Fretwell. "This climb of eight places from our 2001 ranking is the highest we've held thus far. This information falls on the heels of two national research awards we received this past February at the annual American Physical Therapy Association's (APTA) meeting held in Nashville."
Fretwell said the first study was a collaborative effort between the Army-Baylor program and the U.S. Military-Baylor physical therapy-sports medicine doctoral program at West Point. The second is a collaborative study between the Academy of Health Sciences program, the University of Pittsburgh, and the U.S. Army-Baylor doctoral program in Orthopaedic-Manual Physical Therapy at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC), also located on Fort Sam Houston.
The research paper titled "A Clinical Prediction Rule for Classifying Patients with Low Back Pain who Demonstrate Short Term Improvement with Spinal Manipulation" was recognized by the 2004 Nashville forum for the Rose Excellence in Research Award after publication in the medical journal Spine.
Orthopaedic Physical Therapy program director Maj. Dan Rendeiro, a graduate of the DSc program who served on the team producing the research, said the paper was the result of a student project. "We found the presence of certain factors in the history and physical exam would increase the likelihood of success with spinal manipulation from 45 to 95 percent." This finding allows physical therapists to identify prior to treatment patients who have the potential for dramatic improvement.
The field of physical therapy originated with the U.S. Army in 1922 as a means of rehabilitating injured soldiers, and Fort Sam Houston's current programs are descendants of the original program. The army sought alignment with Baylor in 1971 to strengthen the academic element of the degrees.
Baylor offers two distinct doctoral degrees in cooperation with the Army at Fort Sam Houston--a doctor of physical therapy degree (DPT) and a doctor of science in physical therapy (DSc), offered through the Army Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program at nearby BAMC. The DPT is a 27-month entry-level program, and the DSc is an 18-month program for already-trained physical therapists who seek further education. Both degrees consist of academic and clinical components.
Baylor also offers a joint master's degree in hospital administration through the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School Academy of Health Sciences at Fort Sam Houston and a physical therapy-sports medicine doctorate at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In addition, the army offers a master's degree in nursing through University of Texas at the Fort Sam Houston campus.
U.S. News first published a reputation-only graduate school ranking in 1987, and the annual "America's Best Graduate Schools" report began in 1990. Health-related graduate programs are ranked once every three years.