Academic and Clinical Education

Working Together: A Joint Initiative Between Academic and Clinical Setting to Enhance Student Learning for Prematurity & NICU

Sunday, November 11
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Meeting Room 3 - Convention Center

Academic and Clinical Partnerships have the potential to positively impact student learning and outcomes and are part of the recommendations from PTE21 study. As academic and clinical partnerships move forward to design and implement changes, preparing the next generation of physical therapists, both process and outcome evaluations must be incorporated in the planning. This interactive session will explore an example for working together in partnership between hospital and classroom. This example will focus on a joint collaboration with an academic and clinical partnership developing a clinical pathway at the hospital in conjunction with development of a specialty pediatrics course surrounding NICU and prematurity. A combination of lecture and small group discussion will be used for both entry-level and post-professional training and attendees will leave with concrete examples of how to implement in their communities.

Learning Objectives:

Kara Boynewicz, PT, DPT, PCS, ATC

Assistant Professor
East Tennessee State University

Kara Boynewicz, PT, DPT, PCS, ATC is a board certified pediatric physical therapy specialist with 17 years of clinical experience. Dr. Boynewicz is an assistant professor at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and faculty in the Vanderbilt Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program. Her teaching areas are pediatrics, lifespan, prosthetic/orthotics and motor control/motor learning. She provides clinical physical therapy services in the NICU and NICU follow up clinic. She received her BS in Zoology and Athletic Training at Eastern Illinois University, Masters in Physical Therapy and transitional DPT at Governors State University, and is completing her PhD in Early Childhood.


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Kelly Rary, PT

Niswonger Children's Therapy Site Manager
Niswonger Children's Hospital

Kelly earned her B.S. degree from East Tennessee State University in Accounting/Business Administration and her Master’s in physical therapy from East Tennessee State University. Kelly is the CCCE for the entire Legacy Mountain State Health Alliance System and is the Pediatric Therapy Site Manager for inpatient and outpatient pediatric services at Niswonger Children's Hospital. She is passionate about teaching students from numerous universities about pediatrics with her speciality in pediatric oncology, acute care and NICU.


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Karen Speropulos, PT, PCS

Pediatric Physical Thearapsit
Niswonger Children's Hospital

Karen earned her undergraduate at Vanderbilt University in Human and Organizational Development and her Master of Physical Therapy from Emory University in 1998. She received her PCS in 2008 and then re-certified in 2017. She currently assists in the Pediatrics course at ETSU and works at Niswonger Children's Hospital in the NICU serving high risk infants. She coordinates local races and events for typically developing children and children with disabilities. She has worked in numerous developmental follow up clinics and outpatient pediatric clinics and has done international work in Kijabe, Kenya, Africa.


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Working Together: A Joint Initiative Between Academic and Clinical Setting to Enhance Student Learning for Prematurity & NICU

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