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Wheelchair donation gives rec therapy students a new perspective

September 22, 2008 12:00AM

Jonathan Davis, president and CEO of Mt. Carmel, discusses the donation of six wheelchairs to PSU with Dr. Chuck Killingsworth, professor in Health, Human Performance, and Recreation.

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A lot of us come from a health education background, so it's nice for us to be able to support health education in the classroom. "
~ Jonathan Davis, president and CEO of Mt. Carmel Regional Medical Center
heelchairs donated to Pittsburg State University by Mt. Carmel Regional Medical Center will help students learn more about helping those with disabilities.

"This is far more than I had hoped," said Dr. Chuck Killingsworth, professor of therapeutic recreation. "It really illustrates the collaborative nature of Pittsburg State and Mt. Carmel."

The chairs were donated at a small ceremony on Monday morning in the Student Recreation Center and National Guard Armory.

Killingsworth said the wheelchairs will be used to teach students how to transfer people from a bed or chair into a wheelchair, and also to teach students about wheelchair sports.

It is also important, Killingsworth said, for students to know what life is like for the wheelchair-bound.

"It will help students know what people with disabilities feel like," Killingsworth said. "Students need to understand - what are the implications of having to spend your whole day in a wheelchair?"

Killingsworth said the chairs would most likely be used in his Intervention Techniques class, but he and Dr. Dan Ferguson are still thinking about ways to implement the chairs in their classes.

The chairs may also be on hand for people who need assistance at graduation.

Killingsworth the donation of the chairs, which are worth around $700 each, came as a result of communication with Gary Miller of Mt. Carmel Medical Equipment. Killingsworth asked for a few old wheelchairs, but Miller said he thought he could do better than that.

Miller talked to Medline, manufacturer of the chairs, and was able to buy six at a small discount. Mt. Carmel agreed to donate the chairs to PSU.

"The goal here at Mt. Carmel is that we can provide these chairs for the university to continue that partnership," Miller said, noting that Mt. Carmel recently donated defibrillators to the rec center and sponsored the Miner's Bowl.

Jonathan Davis, president and CEO of Mt. Carmel, echoed Miller's comments on the importance of collaboration.

"A lot of us come from a health education background, so it's nice for us to be able to support health education in the classroom," Davis said. "And so many of the students here come to clinical rotation at Mt. Carmel."

Davis said the long history of cooperation between PSU and Mt. Carmel might have something to do with the fact that both institutions were founded in the same year. Another reason, Davis said, is that he knows that the strength of the community depends largely on the strength of PSU.

"PSU students are the driving force behind growth in the community," Miller said. "We're proud to continue to support those students."

---Pitt State---

©2008 Pittsburg State University