group of six people pose for photo with arms around each other's backs.

Turning class into clinic

The University of Utah Board of Trustees recognized students Allyson Armstrong and Katharine Blumenthal with the prestigious 2015-16 Ivory Prize for Excellence in Student Leadership at its April meeting.

The prize recognizes students for demonstrating a positive influence on student success and/or fostering efforts that have enabled meaningful change, and includes a $2,000 prize for the students along with a $10,000 donation to their cause.

Physical therapy doctoral students Armstrong and Blumenthal co-founded the Student-Run Pro Bono Physical Therapy Clinic in November 2013, which has been open every Saturday morning for a year and has provided $50,000 worth of services while giving students invaluable fieldwork experience.

Their vision was to provide community-based educational opportunities for U students while addressing health disparities in Salt Lake City. After a collaborative process that involved a review of existing practices, the two students devised a simple, efficient and low-cost infrastructure for clinic operations.

Since the clinic opened, Department of Physical Therapy faculty have aligned coursework with events at the clinic, including a doctoral seminar in which students reviewed and provided evidence-based critiques of care delivered by students at the clinic.

The project has grown to include students from the physical assistant program, as well as nutrition, medicine, pharmacy and nursing. The clinic’s success has prompted other clinics along the Wasatch Front to engage students in physical therapy clinical services.

“What Katey and Ally have accomplished through their work at the Student-Run Pro Bono Physical Therapy Clinic is truly remarkable and, with their collaborative and entrepreneurial approach, embodies the spirit of the Ivory Prize,” said Martha Bradley, senior associate vice president of Academic Affairs. “In a short amount of time, these inspiring students have created a welcoming clinic space where students learn from their patients and the community joins together to mutually address a challenge.”

The Ivory Prize was established by Clark Ivory, former chair of the University of Utah Board of Trustees, to encourage student involvement and leadership.

Photo caption
From left: Rick Lifferth, CFO, Ivory Homes; Dave Wolfgramm, CEO, Ivory Homes; Allyson Armstrong, Ivory Prize recipient; Katharine Blumenthal, Ivory Prize recipient; Mary Kate Ivory, director, community relations, Ivory Homes; Abby Ivory, Ivory family representative