CULLOWHEE – Faculty members in Western Carolina University’s department of physical therapy recently unveiled a new human movement science laboratory, a training and diagnostic facility made possible by a grant of nearly $200,000 from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust.
The laboratory includes eight video cameras mounted on four walls and pressure-sensitive plates set into the floor that can digitally capture a person’s every movement. Data captured by the state-of-the-art equipment are computer analyzed, allowing three-dimensional video reproduction of the movement and comprehensive analysis by physical therapy students, professors and professionals using the lab.
The laboratory is designed to train students in Western’s physical therapy program in the analysis of human movement and to provide diagnostic resources for health care professionals across Western North Carolina – and their patients. It is expected to be of special benefit to the region’s growing population of elderly residents, who can suffer loss of mobility due to arthritis, diabetes, stroke and injury, said Karen Lunnen, head of the physical therapy department at Western. It also will serve persons at risk of falling, athletes of all ages, and individuals with job-related physical impairments.
The laboratory will provide hands-on training for students majoring in physical therapy and other health care and human performance fields – not just from Western, but from other area colleges and universities, including the physical therapist assistant program at Southwestern Community College.
The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust was created in 1947 through the will of Mrs. William N. Reynolds of Winston-Salem. Three-fourths of the trust’s grants are designated for health-related programs and services across North Carolina, and one-fourth for the poor and needy of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.