PT department joins forces with local business

September 30, 2010

A red belt with Bradley University stitched across the front isn’t a fashion statement for physical therapy students, it’s a necessity.

Gait belts are a key component in rehabilitation, providing support to patients receiving physical therapy.

When the physical therapy department began looking for new belts, an opportunity for a mutually beneficial campus-community relationship developed.

Dr. Steven Tippett, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, contacted the Peoria Production Shop for assistance, a local business that builds items such as the gait belt and employs people with disabilities.

“Physical therapists use the belts, and we thought it would be good to use their services, especially when we learned they could personalize them,” said Tippett.

In order to assess patients, students use an evaluation kit, which used to come with a gait belt. When belts were no longer included in the kits, the physical therapy department had to look elsewhere.

“I was familiar with Peoria Production Shop through previous discussions with their CEO, Dick Peplow, so we asked them to make the belts for us, and the personalized kit,” said Tippett. 

Tippett hopes to help the shop expand its reach to other physical therapy programs across the country.

One way he plans to do this is through national exposure.  He will take the kit to an annual gathering of physical therapy professionals in Texas where he hopes to rouse interest from other schools.

“I’d like to turn others onto it and show what they can do.”

Overall, Dr. Tippett has been impressed with the partnership, and it has more than exceeded his expectations.

“They have been very accommodating to secure the high quality items we need, the quality we need, and the timeliness has been great,” said Tippet. “It’s been really fantastic.”