TCC Nate Waters Physical Therapy Clinic Opens

IN REMEMBRANCE: From left, former TCC President Tom McKeon, Mary Shaw, with the TCC Foundation, TCC Associate Dean of Allied Health Sciences Suzanne Reese, and TCC Foundation Chair Larry Mocha pose after the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Nate Waters Physical Therapy Clinic, 815 S. Cincinnati Ave., at TCC’s Metro Campus held in July.

Tulsa Community College celebrated the completion of its new Nate Waters Physical Therapy Clinic at TCC’s Metro Campus with a dedication ceremony in July. The facility provides clinical learning opportunities for students and is expected to begin seeing patients this August.

“With this facility, we are opening our doors to a greater level of quality care and service within Tulsa, says former President Tom McKeon. “This new facility allows Physical Therapy Assistant students to begin their clinical training immediately and provides hands-on care at a reduced cost to patients in underserved or challenged populations.”

McKeon, Board of Regents Chair Ron Looney, Foundation Chair Larry Mocha and Associate Dean of Allied Health Sciences Suzanne Reese spoke during the dedication ceremony. Award-winning author and graduate Clifton Taulbert gave the keynote address, and Tulsa City Councilor Karen Gilbert read a City of Tulsa proclamation.

The clinic is named after Nate Waters, a young man who overcame challenges to reach extraordinary goals and inspired the Tulsa community with his determination, passion and service to others before his death in 2013. At the age of 19, a catastrophic injury severed Waters’ spinal cord and left him as a quadriplegic. Despite his paralysis, he got his and his associate’s degree from and eventually his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University.

While he attended , Waters worked with staff and its physical therapist assistant program. He slowly began to develop dexterity in his hand in order to use a pointer for the computer keyboard, then a roller ball and eventually was able to write again. Waters became a community instructor through his work with the students in TCC’s physical therapist assistant program and shared his experiences so students could learn about his disability and be better prepared to help others. Waters was a longtime advocate for the physically challenged, community volunteer and activist. The new clinic will help to continue the work he did in facing tremendous challenges, overcoming obstacles and inspiring a community.

Construction started in October on renovating the existing building at 815 S. Cincinnati Ave. With the new freestanding clinic, will be able to expand services and accommodate more patients from the current four clients served per week to up to 40 clients per week. The Nate Waters Physical Therapy Clinic brings needed space and expanded ability to serve patients, as well as benefits for workforce development.

“TCC sees more than 200 applicants each year for 35 spots in the physical therapy assistant program,” says Foundation Chair Larry Mocha. “The graduates of our program are in demand, and that demand is only becoming greater with the aging baby boomers. Plus, we have a large percentage of graduates, roughly 80 percent, that pursue careers in the Tulsa area.”

The nearly $2 million facility was completed with public and private investment, including a public investment by of $768,000 to buy the land and building. More than 85 donors believed in and believed in establishing this clinic, raising more than $1.45 million in private funding. Their names are listed on a donor wall inside the facility.

Major donors to the project include Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation; Anonymous Challenge Grant; Barnett Family Foundation; Founders of Doctors’ Hospital; Grace and Franklin Bernsen Foundation; Helmerich Foundation; Hille Family Foundation; Mary Ann Hille; Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation; Janet McGehee; Morningcrest Healthcare Foundation; Ruth Nelson; Osteopathic Founders Foundation; Suzanne Reese & Fred Taylor; Saint Francis Health System; Energy. Additional contributions were made by Bank of America; Jim and Kristin Bender; Benefit Resources; Bryan Close; Gold Medallion Senior Housing & Health Care; Kevin & Julia Klammer; Mary K. Sanditen 1987 Revocable Trust; -Tulsa Library; Williams Companies.

Updated 07-28-2014

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