Texas State University supports an APTA-approved neurologic residency program. An optional aspect of this program is participation in a 10 day international didactic and clinical observation service experience in Atenas, Costa Rica. The purpose of this study was to document the number of APTA approved neurologic residency programs that offer study aboard opportunities for their residents.
The APTA website was consulted to identify all neurologic residency programs. All programs were initially contacted with a phone call. Subsequent contacts included both phone calls and email correspondence. Programs were asked:
1. Do your neuro residents currently have an opportunity to participate in a study abroad program during the residency program?
2. If the answer was yes, the following additional information was collected: where is the international experience located, how long is the experience, and what types of experiences do residents have on the study abroad trip?
There are 38 neurologic residency programs in the United States, and responses were obtained from all programs. In addition to Texas State University’s study abroad program, only three other programs have study abroad opportunities for their neurologic residents. Texas State University offers 2 service learning courses (Medical Spanish and Independent Study) as part of a 10-day international educational experience in Atenas, Costa Rica. Neurologic residents visit a private Physical Therapy program in San Jose, Costa Rica, as well as local private and public nursing homes, and a pain clinic. The three other programs surveyed offered experiences in either Dominican Republic (2) or Jamaica. These experiences varied from 10 days to two weeks in length. Types of activities varied from physical therapy in the inpatient, outpatient and home health settings to an intensive stroke rehabilitation camp.
Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education
Texas State University offers its neurologic residents a unique opportunity to participate in an international service learning experience. Only three other neurologic residency programs in the United State offer similar opportunities. Neurologic residency programs may consider developing international learning opportunities for their residents, to broaden their perspective of neurologic physical therapy.
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