Visiting scholar Margarita Olivo came to the Physical Therapy Department in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) in Santiago, Dominican Republic, where she is a physical therapist and department director. Olivo visited Creighton for two and a half weeks to learn more about the academic formation of physical therapy students at Creighton and evaluation techniques to assess student learning in theoretical and practical areas. She is developing the first cardiopulmonary course at PUCMM, being taught next semester.
Olivo is a graduate of PUCMM and the Universidad Autonoma de Centro America (UACA) in Costa Rica and obtained a master’s degree in university pedagogy from PUCMM.
During a recent presentation, Olivo told physical therapy students and faculty about the history of physical therapy in the Dominican Republic, explaining that the profession came about in the late 1950s in response to the polio epidemic and the civil war in 1965. Olivo reviewed the way physical therapists are educated in her country and the evolution of the profession over the years. She said education was key in her home country to bring awareness and make a greater impact. She said a staggering 2.2 percent of the country’s population have physical disabilities. She said the Dominican Republic needs about 7,500 physical therapists, and at this time there are only 700 physical therapists and physical therapist assistants combined.
While at Creighton, Olivo visited several clinical sites, such as the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital.
From left, Olivo, Maggie Schumacher, DPT’07, assistant professor of physical therapy and coordinator of the Physical Therapy Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC); and Melissa Starr, DPT’06, lab assistant.