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Free Content Collaborations in Clinical Education: Coordinating Top-Down and Bottom-Up Efforts to Advance Best Practices in Physical Therapist Education

BACKGROUND: Preparing students for today's healthcare environment requires visionary leadership and strategic implementation at the grassroots level. This paper describes the process used in physical therapy (PT) to gather information about regional clinical education consortia, enhance networking, and improve connectivity with national initiatives. PROCESS: Twenty consortia shared information about their structures, processes, and outcomes during small-group discussions using a mixed methods approach. Two additional consortia were later identified and interviewed. FINDINGS: Consortia structure varied, but an average lifespan of 27 yrs with limited turnover was noted. Most consortia included both academic/clinical educators and PT/PTA educators. Commonly reported processes included holding meetings, serving as peer network, mentoring new members, and collaborating on research. The most frequent outcome was education of stakeholders. Consortia supported national initiatives but voiced need for more engagement at the grassroots level. DISCUSSION: Regional consortia play a vital role in shaping the future of clinical education but increased coordination between top-down and bottom-up efforts is needed. Recommendations were developed to use technologies, develop systematic communications, facilitate regional and national networks, and promote inclusion of all stakeholders. CONCLUSION: A systematic process engaging grassroots organizations can prove valuable for coordinating top-down and bottom-up efforts in all health professions.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2018

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  • The Journal of Allied Health is the official publication of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). The Journal is the only interdisciplinary allied health periodical, publishing scholarly works related to research and development, feature articles, research abstracts and book reviews. Readers of the Journal comprise allied health leaders, educators, faculty and students.
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