When physical therapy students at the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences (MDCHS) are ready for their first interactions with patients, Kai Kennedy will be there to help them connect the dots from classroom to clinic.
Earlier this month, Kennedy joined the expanding MDCHS team as Director of Clinical Education for the physical therapy program. In that role, Kennedy will help students relate what they learn in the classroom to what they will be practicing in the field. Kennedy will also maintain her work as a clinician for Tidewater Physical Therapy, where she has worked as clinical director for three years.
“We want our students to have the most up-to-date information, not only for research but on the clinical side,” Kennedy said, adding that maintaining a clinical hours will allow her to pass on first-hand knowledge of what is being practiced. “There’s a big difference in what you learn in a book from what you learn when you place your hands on someone.”
In addition to developing the clinical education aspect of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, Kennedy will serve as a liaison among core faculty, clinical faculty, and students and oversee the selection, development, and monitoring of clinical learning environments.
Kennedy is eager to be part of the team that is developing the programs and shaping the future of MDCHS. Mary Baldwin University’s new graduate school plans to launch DPT and Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) programs in June 2014; and the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) program in 2015. Mary Baldwin has initiated the appropriate processes for each program to become accredited.
“It’s definitely exciting to be involved in building anything from the ground up,” Kennedy said, adding that she is particularly interested in the plans to integrate learning among the health sciences disciplines. “I can say I helped build something great. The team at Murphy Deming is an amazing group of people. I feel privileged to work with them on such an exciting project.”
Kennedy is taking part in another exciting venture next month when she will travel to Haiti as part of a medical mission to provide therapy to victims of the 2010 earthquake. Her passion for global outreach has previously led to trips to Ghana and the Dominican Republic and is a perfect fit for the Mary Baldwin University commitment to civic and global engagement. Kennedy said she hopes to find ways to provide similar outreach to the local community as well.
Kennedy received her doctor of physical therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University and her bachelor of science in kinesiological sciences, with honors, from the University of Maryland at College Park.