Award Date


Degree Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

Advisor 1

Tiffany Barrett, PT, DPT

First Committee Member

Daniel Young, Ph.D

Second Committee Member

Merrill Landers, Ph.D

Number of Pages



Background and Purpose: Service-learning allows Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students to develop important professional skills and addresses community-based needs. When integrated into physical therapy education, it can be a powerful tool for increasing students' altruism and social responsibility. Many clinicians desire to participate in pro bono physical therapy (PT) services. Therefore, the responsibility of promoting and advertising these programs falls upon the student. This paper describes various methods for recruiting clinician involvement to improve the sustainability of a student led pro bono clinic, as well as how the students advocated for pro bono services in the state of Nevada in an effort to provide physical therapy services to an underinsured population in the Las Vegas area. Method Description: We recruited clinicians by: visitation to local clinics, promotion at state association meetings, personal networking, contacting school alumni, and a state association Listserv, which is an electronic mailing list with therapists who are members of the Nevada State chapter of the APTA. From there, we observed which recruitment method resulted in the most local volunteers. Surveys were distributed to clinicians who participated as mentors in the pro bono clinic to gage their experience. We advocated for our mentor clinicians to receive continuing competency units by the State Board for the time they spent working in pro bono facilities. Outcomes: An email Listserv through our state association’s portal produced the highest number of licensed physical therapist volunteers in this project (75% of volunteers). Out of clinicians who participated as mentors 100% reported enjoyment in the experience and would recommend it to other local physical therapists. The State of Nevada Physical Therapy Board(NVPTA) approved our application to include pro bono services under the category of “professional activities” for continued competency units and now accepts up to 4 hours per year. Discussion and Conclusion: We believe using the state physical therapy association’s extensive networking service email, Listserv, allowed for efficient and convenient communication with various clinics and clinicians. This was especially helpful for creating a sustainable service learning program. We suggest that other physical therapy programs consider using this information when designing a service learning program for their students and community.


Service-learning; Physical therapy; Pro bono; Low back pain; Back school; Volunteer; Advocacy; Recruitment strategies; Clinician involvement


Physical Therapy

File Format


File Size

1529 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas