The Impact of Community-Based Programs Among Rural Participants with Neurologic Conditions

Leah Bridge, Jamie Haines

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) advocates to reduce health disparities, improve access to health care services, and address the healthcare needs of individuals at a local and global effort. Throughout the United States, individuals living in rural areas have increased health disparities and limited access to healthcare when compared to their urban counterparts. Research has been conducted focusing on rural health disparities in individuals with neurologic conditions, and on the importance of community-based programs, but at this time, limited studies exist combining the three topics. There is a continued need to determine the importance and effectiveness of community-based programs to address limited access to education and healthcare in rural communities. Central Michigan University’s (CMU) doctoral program in physical therapy (DPT) has campuses located in two rural communities within Michigan (Mt. Pleasant in the lower peninsula and Houghton in the upper peninsula). The DPT program offers several community outreach programs that provide education, support, and interaction for individuals who have chronic neurologic conditions.<br> <b><u>Subjects</u></b>: 27 Participants; 19 participants from the Mount Pleasant region and 8 participants from the Houghton satellite campus in the state of Michigan<br><b><u>Materials and Methods</u></b>: A twelve-question survey and semi-structured interview were conducted in a physical therapy clinical setting. Participants had or were currently involved in a community outreach program with DPT students. The constant comparative method was used to analyze interview data and identify themes.<br><b><u>Results</u></b><u>:</u> The results from 27 participants indicated transportation distance to CMU’s community-based programs averaged 15 miles, distance to see their neurologist averaged 110 miles, and distance to see their movement disorder specialist averaged 100 miles. Three themes were identified: sense of connectedness, education of neurologic condition, and student interaction.<br><b><u> Conclusions</u></b>: Community members living with chronic neurologic conditions from rural communities in Michigan were positively impacted by the DPT outreach programs.<br><b><u>Clinical Relevance</u></b>: DPT programs providing this type of outreach may be one solution to improving access to education and support to those living with chronic neurological conditions in rural communities.<br>
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Feb 2021
EventAmerican Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting - Virtual
Duration: Feb 1 2021Feb 28 2021


ConferenceAmerican Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting


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