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Clarkson University PT Professor in National Leadership Role

Along with her work as director of Clinical Education for Clarkson University's Doctor of Physical Therapy program, Clinical Assistant Professor Vicki LaFay is helping shape physical therapy education on a national level.

Vicki LaFayA licensed physical therapist with nearly 25 years of experience, LaFay was recently elected an officer and 2018-2019 nominating committee chair of the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT) National Consortium of Clinical Educators (NCCE).

This month, she'll be attending an educational leadership conference in Phoenix, where educators and clinicians from around the nation will forge plans to assure that physical therapy students are trained in the best practices for their evolving field of work.

ACAPT set its aim on excellence a few years ago by organizing a summit with stakeholders from clinical practice, education, business, and health-related occupations such as medicine. “This was an important step,” LaFay notes, “because representatives from hospitals, outpatient clinics, and rehab centers had not been fully included in discussions about how to best educate physical therapists. Their voices needed to be heard.”

One result of this summit was the creation of the NCCE, which is a partnership between clinical and academic practitioners. In addition to serving on the NCCE, LaFay also is on a special task force that focuses on identifying common terminology for all those involved in physical therapy education and practice.

“To be involved at the ground level like this, to have a say in how clinical education is moving across the nation is very exciting for me,” she adds. “We're looking at how the field is changing, and how we can assure a better alliance between academic and clinical programs that will enable graduates to offer the best care in the many challenging professional settings they will encounter. They may work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, rehab centers, schools, industry, sports, hospices, or home health care.”

“It's fortune that Clarkson University is at the forefront of this new way of education. We're training students to be entry-level doctoral physical therapists. In many states, patients can come to them directly,” she says. “As a department, we're really trying to be part of the national level on policy and research. We want students to be leaders and look outside themselves to help their profession, so we try to set that example every day.”

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

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