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Clinical Expertise

November 16, 2009

With 27 years of experience in clinical practice, Harriet Lewis knows first-hand what students need to become professional physical therapists.

As the ASU Physical Therapy Department’s academic coordinator of clinical education, Lewis finds facilities where PT students get their hands-on training and prepares them for the experience.  She has secured more than 100 clinical contracts with health care facilities throughout the U.S., where ASU physical therapy students now have the option of doing their clinical rotations.  Several of the contracted facilities are on the U.S. News and World Report list of best hospitals, including Mayo Clinic, Texas Children’s Hospital and Methodist Hospital in Houston, and the Kessler Institute of Rehabilitation in West Orange, N.J.

“I make sure that the sites are appropriate for our students,” Lewis said, “and that the sites have all the information they need in order to mentor our students well.  I also make sure the students are ready to go, including having all their records in place and having passed all their classes.  I also prepare them for those aspects of work in the clinic that are not directly related to patient care.”

That type of support for students led the ASU Alumni Association to name Lewis the first-ever Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award winner from the new College of Nursing and Allied Health in the fall of 2009.

But, it is not all about just helping the students.  Lewis also prepares the professional therapists who oversee the students in their clinical rotations.  In that capacity, she was appointed to the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) Clinical Instruction Education Board (CIEB) for a three-year term in July of 2009.

The CIEB oversees the APTA Clinical Instructor Education and Credentialing Program (CIECP) and the advanced version of the program.  Lewis is a credentialed clinical trainer for both programs, one of only two in Texas for the regular CIECP and the only one in the state for the advanced program.  There are only 49 credentialed trainers for the advanced program in the entire U.S.

On top of all that, Lewis is also an assistant clinical professor in the ASU Physical Therapy Department, where she teaches classes in documentation, clinical practice and practical skills. 

“I enjoy interacting with the students and finding ways to engage them in different topics,” Lewis said.  “But, in our new doctoral program, I will have fewer responsibilities in classroom teaching, though I will still teach my Introduction to Clinical Practice course and the documentation.” 

Prior to her 10 years on the ASU faculty, Lewis spent nearly three decades as a licensed physical therapist in a variety of settings, including acute care, outpatient orthopedic physical therapy, nursing home, long-term acute care and home health.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Baylor University and a certificate in physical therapy from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.  She received her Master of Science degree in exercise and sports science with a minor in industrial engineering from Texas Tech University.

Lewis’ husband, Preston, is director of the ASU Office of Communications and Marketing.  Their son Scott Lewis, daughter-in-law Celeste and granddaughter Hannah live in Anchorage.  Their daughter Melissa Kemp, son-in-law John and granddaughter Cora reside in Round Rock.