KU offers the multiple sclerosis Standardized Training and Education Program with University Partners (STEP UP) as part of its entry-level education for doctor of physical therapy students.
This advanced training allows students to develop the skills needed to treat patients living with multiple sclerosis within an interdisciplinary team. Embedded into the curriculum during six semesters of study, the STEP UP program includes clinical, research, ethical and advocacy components.
Students selected for the program are chosen through a competitive application process during the first year in the KU physical therapy doctoral degree program.
A Community Need
An estimated 400,000 people in the United States suffer from MS, including about 12,500 in Kansas, Nebraska and Western Missouri. Multiple sclerosis is one of the most common diseases of the brain and spinal cord and while there is no cure, there are treatments to alter the disease's progression.
MS STEP UP aims to improve the quality of health care and improve the lives of Kansans living with MS and their families by increasing the number of physical therapists with advanced training in MS care.
Improving the Quality of Care
KU is just the third instituion in the country to implement this program. STEP UP was founded in 2008 by the physical therapy department at the University of North Carolina and was added by the University of South Florida in 2014.
While most physical therapists receive some training for working with clients who have neurological disorders as part of their basic education, experts say MS patients benefit greatly when cared for by physical therapists who have advanced training in MS treatment or experience working MS patients.
Clinical Assistant Professor