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ODU Monarch Physical Therapy Offers Unique Rehab Services to Hampton Roads Community

ODU Monarch Physical Therapy quietly opened its doors this spring offering Hampton Roads patients a unique rehabilitation experience that draws on faculty expertise and research as well as specialized modeling and simulation equipment developed at the university.

The public opening of the clinic marks it as one of Old Dominion University's latest forays into entrepreneurism in an academic setting. Monarch Physical Therapy incorporates teaching and research in clinical activities that provide advanced assessment and rehabilitation services in an environment designed to aid in the education of physical therapy students at ODU.

A dedication ceremony will be held Sept. 24, at 10 am. in ODU's Goode Theater. The event is being held in conjunction with a spate of activities associated with ODU's Strome Entrepreneurial Week, which is named for Mark and Tammy Strome who made an $11 million gift last year to endow ODU's Strome College of Business and launch an entrepreneurial center.

To RSVP for this event, please visit the University Events website or e-mail rsvp@odu.edu (Event Code: PTC14). To learn more about other Entrepreneurial Week events, visit the ODU News website.

Monarch Physical Therapy is intended to serve ODU students, faculty and staff as well as community members who need physical therapy services to improve their gait and balance following a stroke, to learn to walk with a prosthetic limb, manage back pain, get a stiff shoulder moving or to recover after a sports injury or joint replacement surgery.

Monarch Physical Therapy is staffed by clinic director Lisa R. Koperna, a doctor of physical therapy who is also a lecturer in the ODU College of Health Sciences and a board certified Sports Clinical specialist and athletic trainer; and Martha Walker, an associate professor and associate chair of the School of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training.

"The careful planning process that went into the clinic's development created a model that could serve as a springboard for future entrepreneurial endeavors at ODU. Physical therapy students will gain a more thorough understanding of the dynamics of managing the business side of their profession," Dr. Koperna said. "This will provide immediate lessons of real-world health care delivery here on campus."

In addition to providing a convenient location in the University Village for evaluation and treatment of common musculoskeletal problems and sports related injuries, ODU Monarch Physical Therapy offers advanced assessment and rehabilitation techniques for people with neurological disorders.

To improve walking ability in patients, Monarch Physical Therapy employs a treadmill system with overhead body support and a virtual reality program that was designed by engineers at ODU's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center. Other than Monarch Physical Therapy, the system is only available in the inpatient rehabilitation gym at Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital.

Since its April opening, Koperna and Walker have gone from treating a few patients a week to about 50 per week currently. The clinic now accepts most major insurance and workers' compensation plans, including Medicare.

Monarch Physical Therapy: Who We Are

Lisa R. Koperna

  • Doctor of Physical Therapy; Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist; Certified Athletic Trainer.
  • Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in athletic training from Old Dominion University; Master of Physical Therapy and Doctor of Physical Therapy from Shenandoah University; currently pursuing a PhD in Public Health at Walden University.
  • More than 15 years of experience providing patient care and managing rehabilitation services in outpatient and rehabilitation hospital settings. She has served, and continues to serve, as a volunteer at local, regional, national and international sporting events, including the 1996 Olympic Games and the 1995 Pan American Games.
  • Dr. Koperna is actively engaged in entrepreneurship in a scholarly setting and blends academic rigor and creativity to prepare students to develop solutions to complex problems in rapidly changing environments.
  • As a health care provider and educator, she has a deep appreciation for the importance of teaching students how to successfully navigate through and excel in uncertain health care environments.

Martha Walker

  • Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Oklahoma; Master of Science in Physical Therapy, with an emphasis on Biomechanics, from Virginia Commonwealth University; and Ph. D. in Health Related Sciences, VCU.
  • Work experience includes full-time practice in hospitals in Oklahoma City, Geneva, Switzerland, and Richmond, Virginia before beginning her academic career at ODU.
  • Interest in researching gait training post-stroke led to development of the virtual reality system used in the clinic.

For more information about the clinic, visit the Monarch Physical Therapy website.

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