From the Director - Summer 2014

A message from Lisa Johnston, PT, MS, DPT, Interim Director and Associate Professor, June 2014.

From the Director - Summer 2014 click to enlarge Lisa Johnston, PT, MS, DPT

Hope your summer is off to a great start!  The Division of Physical Therapy continues to move forward, with faculty and students distinguishing themselves through research, clinical excellence, and service, even as we continue our search for a new permanent division director.  The search committee hosted campus interviews for the two top candidates in May and hopes to make a final selection later this year.

Our faculty members are actively engaged in research that will contribute to the profession’s evidence-based treatment body of knowledge and ultimately improve patient care.  As you’ll read in this newsletter, their efforts have resulted in funding and recognition, and I am confident additional positive outcomes from their hard work will manifest in the coming months and years.

The University Physical Therapy (UPT) clinic has moved to a new location that provides more space and improved, customized facilities.  Led by Dr. Michael McMorris, Assistant Director of Faculty Clinical Practice, UPT successfully navigated the April launch of EPIC, a new software system adopted by UNC Health Care that integrates medical records, scheduling, and billing.  We are thrilled with the ongoing development our Orthopedic Residency program, which had its first participant complete the clinical component in January.  The division is now working collaboratively with UNC Health Care for a new clinical location. 

Our students and faculty continue to serve the people of North Carolina and the world through commendable projects like PT Outreach: Guatemala and the Tyrell County Interdisciplinary Service Program.  Dr. Vicki Mercer, who has a long history of community service including the Tyrell County program and falls prevention outreach, has been accepted to Class V of the Thorp Faculty Engaged Scholars, a significant honor that will help her take her research and community engagement even further.  Gabrielle Scronce, DPT Class of 2014, has joined with students from two other disciplines and received a Community Engagement Fellowship to help establish a mentoring experience between people with aphasia and graduate students.  This fall, Scronce will also become the first DPT student to enter the Human Movement Science PhD program.

As you’ve no doubt learned through news reports, we continue to be challenged by state budget cuts.  The efforts of our PT Board of Advisers and the generous support of our alumni and friends have been crucial to maintaining the core activities of the division.  This newsletter highlights some of the ways donor contributions have directly impacted our faculty and our students, and we are extremely grateful for your support.  We hope you can join us at the Alumni and Friends Weekend in October.  Until then, have a safe and happy summer.

Warm Regards,


Lisa Johnston, PT, MS, DPT
Interim Director, Associate Professor
Division of Physical Therapy