Student capstone project celebrates decade-long contribution to physical therapy care in the New Haven area

A culmination of their capstone project in 2012, Tracy Kennedy, DPT '13, and Meredith Gaucher ‘13, DPT, set out to create EQUIP Rehabilitation (formerly the V.I.S.I.O.N Rehabilitation Clinic), dedicated to offering physical therapy services in the greater New Haven area to those who needed it. 

Opened as a student-led clinic, EQUIP Rehabilitation provides the opportunity for Quinnipiac students to work together and create and improve high-quality care for those in the New Haven area. 

Since its conception 10 years ago, Quinnipiac physical therapy students have treated more than 400 clients. 

Nicole Whitbeck '20, DPT '23, expressed how fulfilling the experience was for her as a graduate student. 

“EQUIP adds a whole new layer to the graduate experience by creating a wonderful environment to learn and give back to the community,” she said. 

When COVID-19 struck, EQUIP Rehabilitation took it as an opportunity to improve and grow to benefit the broader community.

The students added six EQUIP for Life Teams, fully implementing them in 2021, and expanded their services and offerings to provide even more physical therapy services to the whole community including exercise classes, health and wellness education, health screenings, health fairs, work with adaptive sports and modification of products for children with physical and cognitive impairments through the Go Baby Go program. 

“EQUIP gave me a great sense of purpose and fulfillment by giving back to the community. It pushed me to grow as a clinician, strengthened my relationships with peers, and reminded me why I fell in love with this profession,” said Brittni Balleto '20, DPT '23. 

EQUIP Rehabilitation is led by faculty and alumni volunteers who guide the students each week in the clinic. Approximately 70% of the students from the graduate physical therapy program donate their time each week, led by a student executive board of 11 members. 

Students who participate have the chance to use their classroom skills in a real-world setting. Michael Stofko '20, DPT ’22, explained how his dual-language knowledge helped him thrive at EQUIP. 

“I started at EQUIP Rehabilitation Clinic using my Spanish language proficiency to assist with direct treatment and community engagement. My time with EQUIP over the years evolved into helping more people with bigger projects. Now, I get to return as an alumni to spectate, observe, advise and assist all of the good that EQUIP and its group of dedicated student volunteers can do for the local community and its people,” he said. 

Earlier this month, EQUIP hosted an event to celebrate the decade-long success and service of Quinnipiac’s students, EQUIP volunteers and community partners. 

“Thanks to EQUIP, I have been able to regain my independence and return to some of my favorite activities such as going to the beach at Cape Cod and working with the middle school students at the HANOC homework center in west Hartford,” said Barb Davis, a client of EQUIP Rehabilitation. 

Among those celebrated this month:

  • 38 third-year doctoral physical therapy students inducted into the Pro Bono National Honor Society 

  • Community Partner of the Year: The Town of Hamden Keefe Community Center 

  • Internal partner of the year: Edward and Barbara Netter Library and Arnold Bernhard Library 

  • Community Ambassador of the Year: Michael Stofko ‘20, DPT '22, former Co-Director of EQUIP 

Stay in the Loop

Sign Up Now