Physical Therapy Students to Present Research in California

By Dom Fonce

Youngstown State University physical therapy students Drew Snyder, Teale Bennett and Jeremy Oller will be presenting research they conducted at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting in Anaheim, California in February.

The research seeks to understand how physical therapy students are feeling toward issues involving health policy, what causes these feelings and how to bring awareness to what is best for the patients.

“We looked at the attitudes of physical therapy students concerning some controversial topics in the healthcare industry,” Snyder said. “These topics include Obamacare, Medicaid expansion in Ohio, mandatory vaccinations, physician-assisted suicide, marijuana legalization and disability insurance.”

The research– which they first presented at the Ohio Physical Therapy Association’s Scientific Symposium last week – was conducted by survey, asking controversial questions of their fellow physical therapy students.

Snyder said the study showed that physical therapy students’ views were not affected by higher education, but by where they grew up and their political views.

He said these views all have the potential to be of great importance to students’ future patients.

“While some of the polled topics may not directly influence the evaluations and development of a patient’s physical therapy plan of care, these issues do affect our patients in regards to access to healthcare and other forms of chronic pain management or end-of-life decisions,” Snyder said.

“I came up with the survey questions and survey form. Jeremy [Oller] has a very good background in statistical analysis and took the lead on running the statistical software. Teale [Bennett] put in a lot of work to format our poster and make sure that our data was professionally displayed.”

Snyder said the research group’s achievements reflect the strength of the physical therapy program.

“We have a great, hardworking faculty that takes a vested interest in our interests and desires for where we want to take our careers,” Snyder said. “We are honored to be able to represent our university and this great program on a national platform.”

Bennett agreed.

“This project is giving us the opportunity to represent our school, profession and fellow students,” Bennett said. “The project also gives insight regarding the curriculum and what students are gaining from it.”

The research stemmed from a class project in Weiqing Ge’s Language, Culture and Health class. Ge said all three of the students were hardworking and passionate researchers.

“They’re all very bright,” Ge said. “I didn’t have any funding for this project. They worked on it based on their interest and spare time.”