UAMS College of Health Professions Physical Therapy Program Earns Full Accreditation

By Yavonda Chase

The program, part of the Department of Physical Therapy in the College of Health Professions, is housed at the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus in Fayetteville. Such programs go through several steps to become accredited, culminating with the final accreditation as the first class gets ready to graduate.

The program was created in 2014 and received candidacy status in July 2015, allowing the first class of students to start classes in fall 2015. The inaugural class took their national board exams in July, achieving a 100 percent pass rate. Many of those students intend to stay in Arkansas to practice.

“This accreditation is validation of the quality of our program,” said John Jefferson, Ph.D., P.T., program director, associate professor and department chair. “All the hard work our faculty put in to developing this program, recruiting and retaining both paid and volunteer faculty, creating our community and mentoring our students has paid off, resulting in students who are well-equipped to provide amazing health care to patients.”

The faculty developed the program’s curriculum and clinical experiences to prepare future professionals for the current and emerging needs in health care. Time is spent on a range of conditions that cause varying degrees of movement dysfunction from birth through adulthood. This includes orthopaedic, neurological and cardiopulmonary conditions as well as health care promotion and wellness. Students spend time working alongside volunteer clinicians in the community to hone their clinical skills.

“Without support from outstanding community professionals, our students would not have the high level of patient awareness that they do,” said Jefferson. “All of the work of our faculty, staff and clinicians in building this program is recognized by the fact that the commission awarded the accreditation without any deficiencies in curricular content.”

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.