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Mercer Physical Therapy and Shepherd Center Launch Residency
in Neurologic Physical Therapy 


August 15, 2011

Media Contact: David Hefner or  or (678) 547-6244

ATLANTA – Mercer University’s Department of Physical Therapy and the Shepherd Center are now offering a post-professional residency in neurologic physical therapy. The 13-month residency program, which is one of only 14 in the United States, helps physical therapists accelerate their expertise in evaluation, examination, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention, and management of patients with neurologic dysfunction.

Developed for new professionals and physical therapists with one or more years of practice, the program combines contemporary, evidence-based coursework with highly individualized, advanced clinical mentoring under the supervision of experienced clinicians. Residents will receive advanced training in managing adults with the following neurologic disorders: spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, stroke, balance and vestibular disorders, and various neuromuscular diseases.

The residency program, which began this month, is a collaborative effort by the Shepherd Center and the Department of Physical Therapy in Mercer’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Mercer’s Physical Therapy Department was established last year to offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree as well as post-professional residency and fellowship programs. Along with the neurologic residency, the department also offers a residency in orthopaedic physical therapy, the only such credentialed program in Georgia associated with an academic institution. 

“The Shepherd Center is one of the top rehabilitation centers in the nation, sharing similar core values as the College of the Pharmacy and Health Sciences,” said Dr. Leslie Taylor, chair of Mercer’s Department of Physical Therapy. 

Dr. Joe Donnelly, director of post-professional programs in Mercer’s PT department, said, “This collaborative partnership allows us the opportunity to provide a stellar clinical and didactic program for advanced practice and scientific inquiry with ongoing clinical supervision and mentoring.”

Residents will engage in 90 hours of self-directed learning, 30 hours of teaching, and 30 hours of service-learning. They will also be required to engage in a research project, case study or other scholarly pursuits. The expected outcome of the program is to produce advanced-practice clinician with knowledge and clinical reasoning skills that improve the care and outcomes of patients with neurologic dysfunctions.

“The collaboration between Shepherd Center and Mercer University's PT program for the PT residency is very exciting,” said Sarah Morrison, PT, director of spinal cord injury services at the Shepherd Center. “Our joint efforts have designed a residency program to significantly advance the resident in the area of neurologic clinical practice.”

About the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Mercer University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has the No. 3 ranked pharmacy program among private universities in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. The College offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.), pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.), and physical therapy (DPT), and the master’s degree (M.M.Sc.) for physician assistants. Founded in 1903 as the independent Southern School of Pharmacy, the school merged with Mercer University in 1959 and in 1981 became the first school in the Southeast to offer the Doctor of Pharmacy degree as its sole professional degree. The College officially became a comprehensive College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in 2006, adding the Department of Physician Assistant Studies in 2006 and the Department of Physical Therapy in 2010. With an enrollment of more than 750 students and a distinguished faculty of basic scientists and clinicians, the College houses five centers focusing on research, teaching and learning. The College’s motto, “A Tradition of Excellence – A Legacy of Caring,” frames its philosophy of providing excellent academic programs in an environment where every student matters and every person counts. For more information about the College, please call (678) 547-6244 or visit