UNT program to increase diversity of males in physical therapy professions receives grant extension

Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 12:44

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- The University of North Texas received an additional $109,000 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to continue a program to help increase the number of African American and Hispanic males in physical therapy professions. The program, a collaboration with the UNT Health Science Center, began in 2012 and has been extended through Aug. 31, 2015.

Dr. Jean Keller, professor of kinesiology, health promotion and recreation studies and interim vice president for community engagement at UNT, will be recognized for leading the program at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's quarterly meeting Oct. 23 in Austin.

"This pipeline project, to help underrepresented males become engaged in physical therapy, is critical to diversifying allied professions and closing the gaps of men earning advanced degrees in the north Texas region," Keller said. "Allied Health Pathways is a partnership of regional two-year colleges working with UNT to prepare African American and Hispanic males to successfully complete the doctorate in physical therapy degree at the UNT Health Science Center. The participants are workforce-ready thanks to the project's business partners, TruCare Solutions Inc. and Seniors In Motion, who provide meaningful mentorship and internships."

In the first two years of the program, 33 minority males earned degrees or certifications. The program now has 72 students and anticipates having more than 100 students in the 2014-15 school year. Students in early college high schools are also learning about the program, thanks to the grant.

"We try to provide them with a path or a map suggesting courses that they need to take," said Rebecca Thomas, program coordinator. "At the community college, they want to pick up those core courses, and then work with the four-year institution that they choose to attend to make sure those courses they are taking are going to transfer to a four-year school."

Partners in the program are: Tarrant County College District, North Lake College, Weatherford College, Ranger College, UNT Health Science Center, TruCare Solutions and Seniors in Motion.


About UNT's College of Education

UNT's College of Education prepares students to contribute to the advancement of education, health and human development. Founded in 1890 as a teacher's training college, UNT now enrolls more than 4,000 students in the College of Education, which consists of four departments -- counseling and higher education; educational psychology; kinesiology, health promotion and recreation; and teacher education and administration. UNT's College of Education certifies about 1,000 teachers a year -- making it one of the largest producers of new teachers in the north Texas region. Students are also prepared for careers as researchers, counselors, leaders, physical activity and health promotion specialists, child development and family studies specialists and more.

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