The new Delaware Physical Therapy Clinic at the STAR Campus houses state-of-the-art equipment in almost 10,000 square feet of space.

STAR-ing role

Delaware Physical Therapy Clinic launches New Year with new facility

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12:19 p.m., Jan. 13, 2014--When Scott DeBoda walked through the doors of the physical therapy clinic at the University of Delaware’s STAR Campus on Jan. 2, he experienced déjà vu.

That’s because he had been in the same place almost 40 years ago — as a part-time assembly-line worker when he was a college student.

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DeBoda, who was the clinic’s first patient at its new facility on the site of the former Chrysler auto assembly plant, earned a degree in accounting at UD in 1978.  “Back in the ’70s, I worked at Chrysler for pizza and gas money,” he says.

Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease five years ago, DeBoda was escorted to his 8 a.m. appointment by College of Health Sciences Dean Kathy Matt.

“This is an amazing way for us to start the new year,” said Matt, who spent the morning welcoming patients, employees, and guests at STAR. “This building is specifically designed to engage the community and provide state-of-the-art clinical care to patients while enhancing research and education for our students and faculty.”

DeBoda, who hopes to get back to doing two things he loves — playing golf and walking his dog — is working with the UD physical therapists to improve his strength, flexibility, balance, and control.

The Delaware Physical Therapy Clinic, which is paired with the University’s nationally ranked PT doctoral program, is now twice the size it was at its former site in McKinly Hall. That extra space not only accommodates new equipment but also affords more room for the therapists to work with their patients.  

The facility has everything from a common kitchen stove and refrigerator to recumbent bikes, treadmills, and even a harness system built into the ceiling for body-weight-supported gait training. 

“Our goal with all of our patients is to help them reach the highest level of function and independence possible,” says physical therapist Grace Ademski, who specializes in treating older adults and those with neurologic conditions. 

“For one patient, that might mean being able to navigate the kitchen to prepare a meal; for another, it’s getting ready for a golf outing or a 5K. We’re very happy to be in this new facility because it’s equipped with the tools and the space we need to help our patients meet their goals.”

Karla Bell, one of the directors of clinical education for UD’s doctoral program in physical therapy, is also pleased to see her students working in the new facility.  

“A hallmark of our program is early clinical exposure in our integrated clinical experiences, which prepares students really well for their internships and ultimately for entry into the profession,” she says. “At STAR, we have not only this spacious, well-equipped new clinic on the first floor but also state-of-the-art classrooms upstairs. The move has enabled us to expand our program from 36 students in each cohort to 60, positioning us to help meet the growing need for high-quality professionals in this field.”

DeBoda, like everyone who entered the new clinic on its first day of business, was impressed with the size of the facility and the full range of equipment it offers.

But he was a satisfied client even before that.

“I’m in my second round of PT at UD,” he says, “and I’ve found that they’re terrific at treating patients with Parkinson’s. I’ve experienced measurable improvement, especially in strength, and I really enjoy working with the students. We’re all learning at the same time here.”

About the Health Sciences Complex at the STAR Campus

The University of Delaware’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus is planned to be a center of innovation that will continue to evolve over the next half a century. The site’s activities and tenants will focus on science, technology, engineering and clinical practice in areas ranging from biomedicine and biotechnology to alternative energy and environmental sustainability.

On Jan. 2, UD’s College of Health Sciences became the first tenant to occupy the newly rehabbed building at STAR. The Health Sciences Complex houses clinics and core facilities for research in areas ranging from osteoarthritis and stroke to pediatric mobility and rehabilitation of wounded warriors. The building also features high-tech meeting and study places as well as space for businesses and organizations that complement the College of Health Sciences’ mission.

About the Delaware Physical Therapy Clinic

The Delaware Physical Therapy Clinic is a full-service professional operation that is open to the community while providing educational and research experiences for physical therapy faculty and students. The clinic’s move to the STAR campus enabled expansion of not only the physical space but also treatment capacity. To learn more, visit the website.

Article by Diane Kukich

Photos by Evan Krape

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