Students Help the Community at Free Ortho Clinic
Chris Luque literally is pulling David Hart’s leg, but the stakes are no joke.
Hart, a graduate student in the Department of Geology, broke his hip skateboarding three years ago. He’s on a follow-up visit to Sacramento State’s Orthopedic Pro Bono Clinic, where Department of Physical Therapy students such as Luque care for patients who confront the maladies that eventually strike nearly all of us regardless of overall health.
The clinic, part of the physical therapy curriculum, is among Sac State’s underpublicized gems. Located in Folsom Hall 1066, it has for more than 10 years offered free orthopedic treatment to the University community and the public.
The clinic operates from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays, usually beginning the second week of each semester, and is mutually beneficial: Students can apply acquired skills in a real-world setting, and patients get up to four sessions of free care that includes a complete examination, treatment, and home exercise prescription.
“It really ends up being a great relationship,” says Bill Garcia, an assistant professor and licensed physical therapist who has supervised the clinic for the past three years. He describes his role as purely advisory, limited to scheduling and organization.
“(Students) are the ones who really drive things,” he says. That includes implementing and improving best practices. “That will impact not only our teaching, but it will impact student experience, too,” Garcia says.
Back at the table, Luque takes great care tending to Hart’s damaged left hip. Hart has developed pain and stiffness in his back and leg – a result of his body’s overcompensating for the hip injury.
“We’re trying to head those things off,” says Luque, who was drawn toward the profession after a snowboarding accident caused tears in the medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments in his knee. “I like to work with people,” he says. “It’s why we’re all here.”
Hart is grateful for the access to a cost-free resource. He has seen other physical therapists but finds it most sensible and cost effective to patronize the clinic.
“A student is just as good as a $100-an-hour physical therapist,” he says.