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Spotlights on Us

STAR Clinic

Dr. Don Walsh, PT, DPT, MS, OCS

Spotlight: Dr. Don Walsh Oversees the STAR Clinic

With Dr. Don Walsh’s leadership the UNG Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is partnering with the Community Helping Place to offer pro bono physical therapy services (Student-led Therapy And Rehab clinic known as the STAR clinic) to qualified residents of Lumpkin County (no other provider offers this in Lumpkin County).  

Patients will be referred to the clinic by providers working at the Community Helping Place (CHP) Free Clinic in Dahlonega. These patients will be screened by the CHP as having met the eligibility criteria set forth by the GA dept. of Public Health. Patients will then be seen by a team of three students along with a licensed clinician (PT) from a pool of faculty and area clinical partners. All care will require direct supervision of the licensee as is consistent with GA board of PT, APTA, and UNG's clinical handbook for student experiences.

The STAR clinic supports our UNG Mission statement of serving the rural and underserved population. It also gives our students hands-on experience and fosters mentorship/teamwork among our DPT students in the same and different classes.

The STAR clinic is located in HNS 102 in the Health & Sciences Building at 159 Sunset Drive in Dahlonega, GA  The operating hours are Monday-Thursday 3:00-6:00 p.m.

Movement Science Laboratory

Dr. Stanislaw Solnik Director of Research & Assistant Professor

Spotlight: The Movement Science Laboratory

The lab includes many features, such as a wireless virtual reality system, to help researchers conduct in-depth studies of subjects' movements.

Throughout his academic career, Dr. Solnik conducted multidisciplinary research spanning the broad spectrum of movement science, including biomechanics, motor control and neuroscience. Dr. Solnik's research exemplifies his commitment to the interdisciplinary and collaborative study of human movement, that justifies and provides evidence to clinical practice. He pursued research that helps to direct more focused and efficient interventions, ultimately advancing the practice of physical therapy. He received his pre and postdoctoral training in numerous research institutions including University of Southern California, East Carolina University, and Pennsylvania State University. Currently, Dr. Solnik is leading the research agenda of the Physical Therapy Department at the University of North Georgia.

Dr. Solnik is the director of the Movement Science Laboratory (MSL), which is located within the Department of Physical Therapy in the College of Health Sciences and Professions at the University of North Georgia. The MSL is equipped with state-of-the-art devices, including motion capture and virtual reality systems, wireless electromyography, force platforms, and miniature force sensors. One of the goals of Dr. Solnik is to create customized virtual reality applications that allow to induce sensory illusions to diagnose and treat individuals of all ages. Additionally, the cutting edge technology allow researchers to conduct multidisciplinary project to study complex motor behaviors, that can include fine motor skills (i.e., prehension, object manipulation) or whole-body movements (i.e., postural stability, locomotion). The MSL also increases involvements of our students in Department's research agenda and gives them a unique opportunity to have hands-on experience with innovative technology.

Leading Edge Treatments for Pediatrics and Adult Neurological Disorders

Dr. Kimberly Castle Associate Professor

Spotlight: Leading Edge Treatments for Pediatrics and Adult Neurological Disorders

Dr. Castle comes to UNG from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where she taught in the physical therapy program for over 20 years and from a private practice treating children with chronic illness or injury. Dr. Castle’s long history of practice treating pediatric and adult neurological disorders provides UNG students a window into leading edge treatments.

Dr. Castle’s La Crosse practice specialized in intensive programming for children with chronic neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy and Friedreich’s ataxia as well as children with trunk weakness, bowel and bladder incontinence and other neurological disorders. Dr. Castle has brought expertise and clinical equipment to the University where she and UNG students will provide hands on clinical treatment to select pediatric patients. Dr. Castle earned her Bachelor of Physical Therapy degree from University of Kentucky, her Masters of Therapeutic Science and Ph.D. in Kinesiology from University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Dr. Castle’s has been very active in pediatric research, currently focused on measuring active neck motion in children with torticollis. She is working to establish a clinically feasible and affordable way to measure active head/neck movement in infants that can be done by a therapist working individually rather than requiring two people for measurement. She will be continuing work with infants and children who have difficulty controlling their neck and trunk in her future research involving UNG students in these efforts as she did while at UW - La Crosse.

Finally, Dr. Castle has been active in service to the community creating dance class opportunities for children with disabilities and establishing the first Wisconsin chapter of AMBUCS, Western Wisconsin Wheels to provide adaptive bicycles for children and adults with special needs. She plans to initiate both of these activities in the Dahlonega region.

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