Award Date


Degree Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

Advisor 1

Keoni Kins, PT, DPT, ATC

First Committee Member

Daniel Young, Ph.D

Second Committee Member

Merrill Landers, Ph.D

Number of Pages



Project Execution: Back School: During the 2019-20 academic year, two University of Nevada, Las Vegas Physical Therapy (UNLVPT) core faculty members, along with eight doctor of physical therapy students, provided three student-led, pro-bono back school classes at Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada (VMSN). Each back school class consisted of two, 2-hour sessions where participants were screened for red flags, educated on pain management strategies and common causes of back pain, and given an individual home exercise program. Quality Assurance Surveys: Patient’s and VMSN staff were all given questions in the form of Likert-scale and open-ended questions via printed handouts at the end of classes while a UNLVPT member completed a similar survey at the end of back school as a whole. As a group, we analyzed survey responses during several debriefing meetings throughout the year and generated ideas to enhance the quality of the back school. Service-Learning Reflection Map: As students, we used Eyler’s map for service learning to engage in meaningful reflections and to improve communication with the community partner, VMSN as well as to direct focus toward student, patient, and community partners goals. Project Outcomes: Surveys: Of 15 total participants of the back school, six participants completed surveys. Of those, 100% either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that the program was relevant, that they would participate again, and that they would recommend the program. Approximately one-half of participants of the class stated that they do use less pain control methods (ex. Advil, ibuprofen, natural remedies, ect.) as a result of taking the class. Reflections: Two themes surfaced during group reflections and debriefings and centered on the need to improve recruiting and participation in the second session. Through these meetings, we implemented process improvements including posting additional advertising fliers, refining VMSN provider referral and tracking strategies, and using patient reminder calls. Discussion: Through the use of quality surveys and reflection mapping, the implementation of a service learning back school for the impoverished community can be accomplished with high quality and effectiveness in addressing chronic back pain. With the addition of supplemental advertising methods for the recruiting of appropriate back school candidates, a larger sample size for quality data collection was achievable and should remain a common component of similar quality assurance projects in the future.


Back school; Service learning; Physical therapy; Pro bono


Physical Therapy

File Format


File Size

1658 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas