The Monday Memo
November 8, 2016 PITT DPT STUDENTS
Rock the Block Experience
The professional duty of a physical therapist extends beyond the walls of a clinic or hospital. Physical therapists also have a role in advocacy and education about health, wellness, disease and disability management. I joined several second year DPT students to act as health educators and advocates at the “Rock the Block” event in Squirrel Hill this October. The event offered an outdoor market, live music, and a wellness fair hosted by Pitt’s APhA-ASP Chapter. The proceeds from the drinks available for purchase were donated to benefit Uncover Squirrel Hill, Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, and the American Diabetes Association.
While the majority of the “rocking” that occurred was provided by the live musicians, we were “rolling” with students from a variety health disciplines to educate the public about the prevention and management of diabetes. We represented the University of Pittsburgh’s schools of physical therapy, pharmacy, nursing, and dentistry and highlighted how each profession could be involved in the prevention and management of diabetes.
At the physical therapy tent, we challenged the public to play in a “Myth or Fact” trivia game that included general questions about diabetes, exercise, and physical therapy’s role in diabetes management. For those not interested in participating in trivia, we brought foam pads for balance activities, which, by the end of the night, was quite the competitive event among the children. We educated participants about common impairments associated with diabetes, such as loss of foot sensation and balance deficits, and encouraged those with the disease to be vigilant about checking their feet for cuts or other wounds. Several participants even received a monofilament foot screening to test for foot sensation. We handed out pedometers for those who participated in the trivia or the balance games after discussing the importance of exercise and daily activity.
The majority of people who came by our tent had no idea that physical therapists are essential medical professionals for the treatment and management of diabetes. This lack of knowledge about the assistance our profession is able to offer to the public for the treatment of diabetes and other diseases emphasizes the importance of physical therapists participating in health promotion events such as “Rock the Block”. The community needs to be educated about the broad scope of physical therapy practice, and how physical therapists are qualified to help patients with more than joint pain. Future physical therapists need to recognize the need to educate members of our community about what physical therapists are capable to treating and how physical therapists are essential allies in preventing the development of diseases associated with poor lifestyle choices and inactivity.
Thank you to Kathryn Accetturo, Luke Novosel, and Julian Vesnovsky for organizing and working this event along with me. We had a great time educating the public about physical therapy’s role in the treatment and management of diabetes and look forward to participating in events such as this in the future.
Emily Barno, DPT Class of 2018
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