Brenau University wants to train students to become “experts in movement,” according to Jim Lewis.
Lewis, an associate professor in Brenau’s new doctorate of physical therapy program, spoke at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s monthly health care committee meeting Wednesday morning.
Lewis said the new health care jobs opening across the country and the constant need for health care professionals make the new program at Brenau important for the community’s future.
“We’re really moving forward in becoming what I would call a partner in this whole health care adventure we are all on, in relation to making sure that we plug into those areas where there is need,” Lewis said.
The program’s first cohort will begin in May, and the administration is currently accepting applications. Student interviews began Wednesday and Lewis said the goal is to accept 40 graduate students.
Lewis said he believes the students will be an immediate benefit to the community in terms of the work and services they will be able to provide.
“We are, as a profession, the experts in movement, in getting from point A to point B, and we want to make sure we take advantage of that expertise,” he said.
The community will also provide a learning environment for the students, Lewis said. Through early immersion programming, students will be able to work in a limited capacity after two semesters in the program. The university will partner with organizations including Good News Clinics, the Northeast Georgia Health System, Access to a Better Tomorrow, Foothills Area Health Education Center and others.
“I’m really impressed with the health and wellness initiatives that the chamber is doing, and I just see that as a fishing group for students to go and just learn,” he said. “I’ve already seen places put up where students can go and learn something, but also be of service as well.”
Kit Dunlap, president of the chamber, thanked Lewis for speaking with the chamber and said she is excited to see the new additions to the university.
“As a Brenau graduate serving on the Brenau Board of Trustees, I am so excited about what is going on there, particularly in the health care field,” Dunlap said. “Just health care here in general and Brenau’s part in it — the whole medical community and where Brenau fits into it is exciting.”