Christian University in Oregon Will Offer Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

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George Fox University will become just the second institution in Oregon and the only Christian college in the Northwest to offer a doctor of physical therapy degree

George Fox will offer a Doctor of Physical Therapy program beginning in 2012.

George Fox will offer a Doctor of Physical Therapy program beginning in 2012.

(Physical therapy) fits right in with our ethos and mission as an institution.
- Jim Foster

George Fox University has announced plans to add a three-year doctor of physical therapy program to its academic offerings in the fall of 2012.

The addition will make George Fox just the second school in Oregon – and the only Christian college in the Pacific Northwest – with a physical therapy program. Currently, only three schools in Washington and one in Idaho offer physical therapy, and there are no such programs in California north of Sacramento.

George Fox also will become just the fourth institution in the 111-member Council for Christian Colleges & Universities to offer a doctor of physical therapy degree, joining Southwest Baptist University of Bolivar, Mo., Azusa Pacific University of Azusa, Calif., and Hardin-Simmons University of Abilene, Texas.

The George Fox Board of Trustees approved the addition at its spring 2010 meeting, and in May of that year the university took the first step in establishing the program by hiring Tyler Cuddeford, a physical therapist who formerly worked as a researcher in the Nike Sport Research Laboratory, as director.

“The addition of physical therapy makes sense for us, not only from the standpoint that the demand for physical therapists will only increase as the Baby Boomer generation ages, but because it fits right in with our ethos and mission as an institution,” said Jim Foster, dean of the George Fox School of Behavioral and Health Sciences. “This follows our addition of nursing (in 2004) and represents our commitment to the health sciences and those professions that help people.”

In addition to nursing, George Fox offers a doctor of clinical psychology (PsyD) degree and, at the undergraduate level, majors in athletic training, allied health, health and human performance, psychology and social work.

Demand for physical therapists is expected to increase in the next six years, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, a document created every two years by the U.S. Department of Labor. According to the 2010-11 Handbook, employment of physical therapists is expected to grow 27 percent between 2006 and 2016. The report concluded that job opportunities will be most promising in the acute hospital, rehabilitation and orthopedic settings.

This year, George Fox will hire faculty and apply for candidacy with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), the national accrediting body. Classes will begin in the fall of 2012 with 30 students.

Cuddeford will direct the program after working as a physical therapist, instructor and business owner. During his five-year stint as a researcher at Nike, Cuddeford helped develop innovative products, including the Nike Shox, Nike Free and Air Shox shoes. His doctorate in biomechanics and background as a physical therapist were instrumental in helping Nike develop products that didn’t cause injuries to the sporting goods manufacturer’s high-profile athletes.

Cuddeford, who holds a PhD in applied biomechanics from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in physical therapy from Pacific University, also worked as a graduate assistant instructor in Iowa’s physical therapy program from 1996 to 2000.

“I’ve been passionate about physical therapy and teaching for more than 20 years, and I’ve always thought that George Fox was the perfect place to start a physical therapy program,” Cuddeford said. “We not only want to prepare graduates to meet the ever-changing demands of today’s healthcare system, but to develop leaders in clinical practice, research, and business and industry. George Fox is consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the country, and it’s our goal to be ranked as one of the top physical therapy programs in the country.”

The university plans to house the physical therapy program in its Villa Academic Complex on the school’s Newberg, Ore., campus. The school purchased the facility from Providence Newberg Hospital in 2006 and has since converted it into space to accommodate its doctor of psychology and School of Education programs.

Physical therapy programs are typically three years in length and include more than 100 semester hours in classes that cover anatomy, neuroscience, clinical kinesiology, clinical reasoning, applied physiology, healthcare management, and evaluation techniques for cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal, pediatric, geriatric and neurological diseases and disorders. By graduation, students have spent 36 weeks in full-time clinical internships.

To learn more about the program or apply for admission, visit dpt.georgefox.edu.

George Fox University is ranked by Forbes as the top Christian college in the Pacific Northwest and among the top three Christian colleges in the country. George Fox is the only Christian university in the Pacific Northwest classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first tier national university. More than 3,400 students attend classes on the university’s campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem, and Redmond, Ore., and Boise, Idaho. George Fox offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, five seminary degrees, and 12 master’s and doctoral degrees.

Contact:
Tyler Cuddeford
Director, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, George Fox University
503-554-2144

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