NYMC > School of Health Sciences and Practice (SHSP) > SHSP Academics > Degrees > Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) > Message from the Department Chair

Message From the Department Chair

Welcome to the webpage of the Department of Physical Therapy in the School of Health Sciences and Practice at New York Medical College. We are very proud of our Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, our students, our alumni, and all of our accomplishments. We are pleased to share that our tradition of excellence continues to grow.

There are so many issues physical therapists address that are not only issues of clinical practice, but larger issues of public health. We enjoy the benefits of being an important component of the School of Health Sciences and Practice and Institute of Public Health. Adolescent obesity, early intervention for children, women’s health issues, workplace injury prevention, sports training and conditioning, preventing falls in the elderly, are all areas that extend from the clinic to the public sector. We view contemporary physical therapy as not only treating people with injuries or disease, but also promoting healthy lifestyles and work environments, preventing problems and detecting them at the earliest stages, and understanding and working within the social determinants of health.

The School of Health Sciences and Practice provides our students a perspective on physical therapy that does not occur in a traditional medical school environment. Our students are able to learn state-of-the-art screening techniques for risk factors and early indicators of illness, and how to design health and wellness programs. These skills complement those they learn for treating patients in acute-care settings, rehabilitation centers, home care and long-term care settings. Our ability to integrate the public health education of our students in the School of Health Sciences and Practice with medical and foundation sciences through coursework with faculty of the School of Medicine and School of Basic Medical Sciences is truly unique and unmatched by other programs in this country.

Being part of a major university medical center provides us access to faculty who are experts in their field, state-of-the-art facilities, and clinical environments that promote the integration of the theory and practice of physical therapy. Our human anatomy lab that allows our students to perform full body cadaver dissection and our spacious clinical lab areas are accessible to our students 24 hours a day. Close ties to area clinics and groups of individuals with disabilities allows our students to see and work with patients even while still in the classroom setting.

The clinical research and scholarship of our program faculty is diverse, including areas such as the application of genomics to clinical practice, biomechanical predictors of injuries in runners, balance assessment of children with autism, cost and value factors related to low back pain, cultural competency and spirituality in physical therapy, and dosage effects of robot-assisted rehabilitation for adults and children with neurologic pathologies. We are proud of research funded partnerships that include Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Hospital, Blythedale Children’s Hospital, Stevens Institute of Technology, MIT, and Achilles International.

The first priority of our program continues to be excellence in the education of physical therapy students. Our foundational sciences are taught by faculty of our School of Medicine and School of Basic Medical Sciences. The clinical coursework in physical therapy is taught by program faculty assisted by expert clinicians from many of the excellent clinics located within the Hudson Valley. Students observe and work with patients in the classroom, at Westchester Medical Center, and while on field trips at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, Helen Hayes Hospital, and the Bronx VA Hospital. In addition, our program has one of the most well-established problem-based learning structures in the country. Our class size is small, our attention to student performance is high, and thus, our graduates excel in clinical practice.

We believe that close professional relationships between faculty and students is crucial for effective education at a doctoral level. Thus, our class size target remains limited to 44 students, despite the trend of many schools to increase their class size. Students are assigned to faculty members for professional development and advisement, and an open door policy exists between all students and faculty. With a small class size, high attention to student performance, and devoted faculty, our graduates excel in their education and eventual clinical practice. Our National Licensure Exam first-time passing rate of 99% over the past three years, well above state and national averages, speaks for itself.

Our applicants now come to us from across the entire nation, and from a host of foreign countries. Sharing a strong academic background, our students bring with them undergraduate majors that are varied and colorful. These include: anthropology, biology, business and marketing, exercise science, journalism, psychology, dance, education, and neuroscience. At New York Medical College we appreciate and gather eclectic groups of students who possess a broad spectrum of personal talents. Thus, our principal interest in the academic backgrounds of applicants to the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is evidence of successful academic accomplishment and completion of the prerequisites that prepare students for our program. We believe that studying, learning, and growing with people of different cultural backgrounds and life experiences prepares students for the environments and communities in which they will ultimately practice physical therapy.

We hope that you, either as potential faculty, potential students, or merely as friends of the college, will consider joining our professional family at New York Medical College. Please feel free to call, write, e-mail, or schedule a time to stop by to see wonderful things going on within the Department of Physical Therapy in the School of Health Sciences and Practice at New York Medical College.

Michael J. Majsak, Ed.D., P.T.
(914) 594-4917