PT International Opportunities
Serve global populations as a physical therapy student.
If you have the heart to serve, Creighton University provides various opportunities for you to get involved in international service as a physical therapy student and share your health care knowledge and experience with underserved patient populations.
Physical Therapy Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC) Program
Participate in four weeks of clinical education in the Dominican Republic. You’ll provide professional service to underserved populations in nine clinical sites supervised by Creighton faculty and U.S. licensed clinicians. This is a great opportunity to gain clinical experience while learning about the Dominican Republic, its language and its culture.
Students and clinicians have the opportunity to grow professionally and personally. Clinical practice within this cultural context fosters professional growth through practice with minimal resources. Group reflections and community living facilitate and promote personal growth.
China Honors Immersion Program (CHIP)
CHIP is a cross-cultural program that promotes international collaboration between health science schools at Creighton and medical universities and hospitals in China. As a U.S. student, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with health care professionals from a different culture and experience a new health care perspective.
Prior to traveling abroad, students enroll in a two-credit hour Cultural Immersion and Experiential Learning in China course that increases their cultural competency and leadership potential. Through a series of seminars, you’ll prepare for successful experiential learning during a one-week intensive in China.
Contact Keli Mu, OTR/L, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402.280.5938 to learn more about CHIP.
The PT ILAC experience occurs from the end of March through the end of April each year.
Consider serving as a clinical instructor for the students from Creighton University’s Physical Therapy program!
As part of Creighton University’s Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC), physical therapy students of the graduating class have traveled to the Dominican Republic to provide professional services to underserved populations since 1996. Students and clinicians have the opportunity to provided needed services in a variety of clinics in Santiago, as well as participate in cultural immersion experiences to better understand the Dominican Republic, its language, and its culture.
In order to meet accreditation requirements, students participating in the 4 week clinical education experience must be supervised by U.S. licensed physical therapists. For that reason, we need practicing therapists to serve for either 2 or 4 weeks supervising 2 - 3 students in one clinical site. Clinical settings range from pediatrics to geriatrics serving Dominican and Haitian patients. Throughout the experience, students and professionals work closely with practicing Dominican therapists as well as physical therapy students from La Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. Clinical instructors with a willingness to lead and openness to learn are critical to the success of this program.
In addition to clinical work, students and professionals provide community service including caring for children in an orphanage, providing deparasite medication to children in a Haitian batey, and traveling to a rural village to provide physical therapy services. Cultural immersion experiences including visiting museums, traveling to the capital of Santo Domingo, and forming relationships with Dominicans are integral aspects of the month-long experience.
Physical therapy services are provided in Spanish, so knowledge of the Spanish language is helpful, but not essential. An introductory course in Spanish prior to leaving for the Dominican Republic is highly recommended. Spanish classes are provided throughout the experience while in Santiago. Professionals are responsible for the cost of their own airfare; however, room, board and ground transportation are provided upon arrival. If you are interested in serving as a clinical instructor, please contact the directors of the physical therapy ILAC program, Julie Hoffman at email@example.com, or Maggie Schumacher at firstname.lastname@example.org. The preferred application deadline is December 1, however, we may consider late inquiries if space is available. We look forward to hearing from you!
Where do I fly to/from?
Professionals should book their tickets into and out of Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic at the Ciboa International Airport (Airport code: STI). Students will have their tickets purchased through the ILAC office.
Do you provide transportation from the airport?
Yes, either a bus or taxi will pick you up from the airport and transport you directly to the ILAC center. Look for a pallet with the letters “ILAC”. If your flight status changes, please notify the ILAC office.
Do I book my own flight?
Yes, you are responsible for booking your own flight as well as the cost. As soon as you are accepted to the program, you can start to look for the best flight. If you would like confirmation before booking, please contact either Julie or Maggie at the information below.
Where do we stay?
During the week, we stay at the ILAC center which is between Santiago and Licey. The center has dormitories, a cafeteria, laundry facilities, a chapel, classrooms, and a walking/running path. On the weekends we travel to a variety of different places including Santo Domingo and a rural campo village. Housing varies based on the location but can include hostels, hotels, retreat centers, and host families. The final beach weekend is optional and an additional cost. We drive to Sosua by the Sea on the final Friday and return on Sunday evening.
What do we eat?
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the week are provided at the ILAC center. There are many great restaurants in Santiago if you choose to explore the city and go out to eat. Food on the weekends is included with the exception of Santo Domingo and the beach.
What is covered?
Housing, food, and transportation is covered by the physical therapy program. Additional costs include food/beverages on your own, souvenirs, food while in Santo Domingo, and the beach weekend.
Is there a dress code? What do I wear?
Attire at your clinical sites varies based on the site. Typically, professional attire or scrubs are worn. If you are working in a more traditional clinical site, white coats are suggested but not required. A nametag is helpful for our Dominican hosts.
At the ILAC center, attire that represents us as volunteers is appropriate. This includes pants or skirts, knee length shorts, or dresses. Tank tops must have wide straps. Athletic attire and swimsuits are not appropriate during work hours. Lightweight attire is recommended due to the heat. Long pants and/or long shirts in the evenings are recommended to avoid mosquito bites. Please see the handbook for more specific recommendations.
Do I need vaccinations?
Talk to your doctor or a travel clinic for recommended vaccines.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes, travel insurance is required through the Global Engagement Office. More information will be provided upon your acceptance.
Should I bring donated equipment?
Our program runs on donated equipment. A shipment from Creighton University is sent occasionally. Items that are frequently used by the physical therapy program are wheelchairs, walkers, and canes. Unfortunately, we cannot help with the cost of mailing items to Creighton. Smaller items such as theraband and gloves can be packed in your luggage. The handbook provides information specific to each site.
Do I need to be Catholic?
Absolutely not. Creighton University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution grounded in the Jesuits values. However, volunteers of all faith traditions are welcomed and encouraged to apply. Reflection opportunities are available throughout the experience to facilitate deeper spirituality and help process the experience.
Course Title: Cultural Immersion and Experiential Learning in China
Required: No - Elective
Prerequisites: Enrolled full-time in a health science program at Creighton University; Satisfactory completion of all professional coursework to date; Minimum 3.2 cumulative grade point;
Approval of IOR (see enrollment application process)
Course Description: The focus of this two credit hour course is to increase participants’ cultural competency and facilitate their leadership development for societal and global concerns through interprofessional experiential learning in China. Participants will engage in a series of seminars centered on preparation for successful experiential learning in China prior to a week-long international experience. Through immersion and engagement in various professional activities such as observation, advocacy for evidence-based rehabilitation practice and consultation, participants are expected to enhance cultural competency and foster leadership skills for international health concerns. Such an experiential learning immersion will prepare participants to provide culturally sensitive care and assume leadership roles at the international level. A professional dissemination of the experiential learning experience is expected at the end of the course.
Relationship of Course to Curriculum Design: The course content fits into the professional practice, professional identity and leadership themes. The course assignments are very pragmatic to familiarize students with the consultation role through advocacy for health care services in an international health care environment. Students will be expected to demonstrate leadership skills as well as an understanding and appreciation for cultural differences in healthcare.
Relationship of Course to Ignatian Values: This elective course will enable students to experience and exercise Ignatian values of cura personalis, men and women for and with other, and magis. As students immerse themselves in China, engage in experiential learning, interact with different culture and exercise leadership for global health concerns, students are able to exercise these values.
Faculty: Keli Mu, PhD, OTR/L
Course objectives: At the conclusion of this course, the student will:
- Demonstrate effective interprofessional team communication and collaboration
- Articulate elements of own cultural values, beliefs, and biases that may influence the delivery of care while in China
- Discuss the heritage of the Chinese culture related to health and health care
- Demonstrate knowledge of the social, economic, political, geographic, and demographic factors that influence healthcare delivery, and of prevailing health and welfare needs in China
- Demonstrate an awareness of culturally competent health care delivery while in China
- Develop a basic/generic hospital-based program based on data collected prior to the experience and recommendations for adaptation based on a needs assessment.
- Promote evidence-based rehabilitation practice in China through advocacy at the hosting medical universities and hospitals
- Analyze the healthcare delivery observed at the Chinese host clinical site using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health as a framework
- Demonstrate increased understanding of professional responsibility, culturally aware practice, and health care related to social justice, as well as of their professional role in China