CANTON -- The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) recently reaffirmed SUNY Canton’s physical therapist assistant program’s accreditation.
The process included submission of a self-study report and an external review in which CAPTE representatives met with faculty, administrators, clinicians and students. The reaccreditation was granted for a period of 10 years.
Meanwhile the program’s partnership with a Sri Lankan health institute is entering its second year.
Students in the PTA program complete two years of liberal arts courses, technical coursework in physical therapy and clinical education experiences. Upon successful completion of the PTA curriculum, students graduate with an associate’s degree in applied science. They are then eligible to take a national licensing examination and apply for certification as a physical therapist assistant.
The PTA program began in 1996 and in 2011 entered into a partnership with the International Institute for Health Sciences (IIHS) in Sri Lanka. Students enrolled in the program attend IIHS for a year and a half before traveling to the U.S. to complete an additional three semesters at SUNY Canton. The first international students graduated in May 2013.
“They’ve brought a whole new dynamic to the classroom,” said Deborah S. Molnar, physical therapist assistant program director. “They are very well prepared academically and have been sharing their extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology with their classmates. The students demonstrate a very strong work ethic and high level of professionalism making them good role models for other students.”
SUNY Canton presented a very different but a very good learning experience, according to the Sri Lankan young men and women, who traveled approximately 8,600 miles to participate in the program.
“My favorite part is the way we learn,” Aruna P. Dissanayake, one of the IIHS graduates, said. “There is a lot of student-teacher interaction.”
The students said everyone at the college and in the community had been exceptionally polite and helpful during their transition, which included adopting a completely different lifestyle, adapting to a new climate and completely different cuisine.
“The people we’ve met at SUNY Canton and in the community have been nicest we’ve ever met,” said Supun Buddhi Femando, also a graduate of the program.
“It’s been great for our students as well,” said Molnar, “They have gained appreciation for cultural differences and enhanced their own interpersonal skills. The students have a had a lot of fun interacting both in and out of the classroom.”