The Monday Memo
October 5, 2015 PITT DPT STUDENTS
“Yes You Can Dance”
Among the American Physical Therapy Association core values is “Social Responsibility, Advocacy, and Public Policy.” Social Responsibility incorporates understanding current public policy that enables us as Physical Therapists to provide the best care for our patients and policy limitations. But it also encompasses patient advocacy both inside and outside of the clinic. It begs the questions; How can we uphold the APTA’s vision statement “Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience” to the best of our ability? What opportunities can we support and participate in for patients outside of our clinical practice? As students of Physical Therapy, this seems to be one of the more difficult core values in which to participate while in school. Pittsburgh provides many opportunities to create these positive experiences.
Such an organization is called “Yes You Can Dance!” I was first introduced to the program at “Pitt Preview Day” when Dr. Delitto discovered I was a dancer. “Yes You Can Dance!” is a local organization that uses dance to promote and improve wellness for patients who have disabilities, special needs, and chronic degenerative diseases. Using ballroom dance as its primary mode of therapy, it provides extensive social opportunities in addition to mobility training.
This fall, “Yes You Can Dance!” initiated a program for patients who have Multiple Sclerosis. It has proved to be an especially powerful experience both for the students and mentors. As mentors, we support the dancers moving forwards and backwards, swinging their hips in the Cha-Cha, and turning in the Rumba. Students giggle with delight discovering they have learned the basic steps of dance style or that they are able to dance moving backwards without fear of falling. Even the music alone seems to elicit beaming smiles.
With or without sequined costumes, bright lights, or sophisticated audiences, a stage can be set in our streets, in our schools, in our churches, and in our communities. As students and Doctors of Physical Therapy, we are called to such the stage as dancers, choreographers, directors. The stage whether big or small, sturdy or unstable, extravagant or dilapidated, must be a place for all to participate. We have a responsibility to care for, engage and encourage all people, if not as Physical Therapists, then as human beings.
If you’d like to get involved or would like more information about “Yes You Can Dance!”, please go to http://www.yesyoucandance.org/.
SPOTLIGHT: Emily Perrott, Stephen Rayner, Natalie Novak, Maria Calla, Jackie Morino, and Julianna Allen for their participation as mentors with “Yes You Can Dance!” And a huge thank you to Ronna Delitto for initiating this program!
-Molly Bachmann, President – Class of 2018
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