Campus Life

USF/UWF Doctor of Physical Therapy Program welcomes inaugural class

The University of West Florida hosted a reception today to welcome the first class of seven students who were recently admitted into the University of South Florida/UWF Doctor of Physical Therapy Partnership Program.

The USF/UWF DPT Program expands access to UWF students interested in pursuing a DPT, while meeting a state-identified need for more physical therapists in Northwest Florida, a largely rural region of the state.  The Florida Board of Governors approved the formation of the partnership program in January 2013, following the Florida Legislature’s appropriation of $1 million in 2012 to help fund it.

The partnership allowed the USF Health School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences to expand enrollment in its nationally ranked, three-year DPT degree program by as many as 12 additional students a year. The newly created slots are competitively available to UWF graduates who meet USF’s DPT admissions requirements.

UWF students admitted for the Fall 2014 semester include:

  • Kelsey Brown, ’14, B.S. Exercise Science
  • Hanna St. Denis, ’12, B.S. Exercise Science
  • Megan Coleman, ’14, B.S. Exercise Science
  • Brittany Crocker, ’13, B.S. Exercise Science
  • Rebecca Graves, ’13, B.S. Exercise Science
  • Renea Porsch, ’14, B.S. Athletic Training
  • Danielle Sims, ’13, B.S. Exercise Science

The students will be awarded a $2,500 scholarship for each of the three years they are enrolled in the program. They will spend their first year of studies at USF, followed by two years of studies and clinical internships at UWF.

“We are so proud of the UWF graduates who were admitted into the inaugural class of the USF/UWF Partnership Doctor in Physical Therapy program,” said Dr. George Stewart, director of Allied Health and Life Sciences. “They chose UWF twice, once for their undergraduate degree and now a second time for the first health professional doctoral degree established at the University through the tireless efforts and dedication of our friends and colleagues at USF.  This is a seminal event that opens a new dimension of educational currency provided by UWF to our regional partners in healthcare, and there is more to come.”

“We welcome these inaugural students to our innovative USF-UWF partnership program that will help meet the state’s rapidly growing demand for physical therapy services,” said Dr. William S. Quillen, director of the USF School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences and associate dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

Kelsey Brown, a native of Tampa, said her undergraduate experience at UWF, coupled with the knowledge and skills she will learn through the USF/UWF DPT Program, have given her the confidence that she will excel in her future career.

“UWF’s small classroom settings, paired with unrivaled relationships with professors who allow us to experience our education through a hands on approach, have truly pushed me to succeed,” Brown said. “With the USF/UWF DPT program being immersed in this environment, success will definitely be the only outcome. Through the experiences and outstanding education offered at UWF along with the new DPT program, I know I will be substantially prepared for my future successes.”

For additional information on the program, visit