A Conversation with Greg Ford

By | October 18, 2022

What can prospective PT students expect during their time at Daemen? 

Within the first year, which is the orthopedic or musculoskeletal year, students go out into the community where they work side by side with licensed physical therapists in their clinics. The beauty of this is being able to see a variety of patients, in a variety of clinical settings, using diverse equipment. We are proud to say that this gives our students real world examples and experience which they get within their first two semesters at Daemen.  

The second year is the neuromuscular year. Patients come on campus and within our laboratory settings, those patients are treated alongside our faculty and small groups of students. This occurs on campus in a similar manner to a pro bono clinic.

During the fifth semester our students have a variety of experiences. They go to the Level One Trauma Center, Erie County Medical Center, to experience the burn clinic. They will go to St. Joseph’s Hospital to experience wound care and onto another hospital to a cardiopulmonary post operative experience. We are proud to say that we put students into a vast variety of clinical settings, give them a worldly view of what is out there and do not keep them on our campus for the entirety of their time in our program. 

Can you tell us about the IMIT? 

We are very happy to offer our students and faculty the IMIT, The Center for Innovation, Mobility and Technology, which is opening later this year. Located only a mile up the road from the main campus, it is a state of the art facility where community dwelling patients that have significant functional loss in areas from spinal cord injury, parkinson’s disease, stroke, etc., can actually come and have outpatient services.  Students will have the ability to come and work side by side our faculty to promote function and quality of life 

What sets Daemen apart from other institutions? 

Within our program all of our 16 full-time faculty teach, practice on a regular basis in their specialty area and conduct research in that area.  It is important for prospective students to take this into consideration when thinking of where to go to PT School and where they will be successful. If you think about these three aspects of our faculty as a venn diagram, the students are at the center of it, which we feel firmly they will benefit from. Not only will students be prepared for success on the national licensure exam which is required to practice PT, but we will prepare them to be darn good Physical Therapists. 

Also, as a Daemen student, you will get four, nine week internships totaling 36 weeks. This surpasses the national average which is 32 weeks and the minimum which is 30 weeks, giving Daemen students 6 additional weeks of hands-on experience compared to other institutions. 

What is something unique about Daemen’s PT program? 

If you choose to attend Daemen University for PT, you are guaranteed a seat in the professional phase of our program. Our program is a 6 year, 3+3 program. The first three years are our pre-professional, or non hands-on phase and later, you begin your professional, hands-on phase. A commitment to Daemen provides you a guaranteed seat waiting for you in year 4 which is a  beautiful place to be as a prospective student. You don’t have to have anxiety and stress about getting into the professional phase. Our program is collaborative and allows you to work as a team with your peers rather than in competition with them. 

What is something you are especially proud of within the PT Department? 

I am very proud of the team and family atmosphere at Daemen. The beauty of our program is that it is eclectic in nature. Some students are here all 6 years, some are transfers and some are post baccalaureate students who earned their bachelors degree from another institution and go right into the professional stage at Daemen. This really strengthens a class. Students lean on each other peer to peer and lean on faculty- your success is our success. 

Tell us about the Capstone Research Project

The Capstone Research Project is a really exciting opportunity for our students. Over the course of a year, like- minded students who have an interest in a certain topic, choose a clinical physical therapy related research question. This group of students link together with a faculty mentor who has conducted research in that area and once the question is devised, it goes through a literature review. The students formulate a human subjects proposal and in some instances, get approved for human subjects research. Students collect and analyze the data, do a results section and then a conclusion of the research. 

To give you  a sense of the quality of research we do, we have been approved by NY State to invite licensed physical therapists to our clinical research symposium who come and listen to the presentations and receive continuing education credit for their license which is required by the state. 

The other thing that comes out of it is a manuscript, many of which go on to get published. This looks wonderful on a resume and gives students the skills for continuing research down the road should they choose to continue. 

What kind of success do PT students have after graduation?  

Our students have 100% job placement. In addition to that, many of our students go on to enroll in residency programs or future fellowship programs. We have our final two internships in the final semesters of our program. From January to May, students are doing 9 weeks of internship back to back. I tell the students it is not only an internship, but a 9 week interview. We have a high percentage of students who are actually employed before they graduate.