Kent E. Irwin, PT, DHS, MS, GCS

Associate Professor

Midwestern University
College of Health Sciences
Physical Therapy Program
555 31st Street
Alumni Hall 340A
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Phone: 630-515-6186


B.S. Physical Therapy University of Illinois at Chicago 1996
M.S. Physical Therapy: Musculoskeletal Impairment University of Illinois at Chicago 2004
D.H.S. Health Professions Education Midwestern University 2015


Kent Irwin is a physical therapist and is working to understand professionalism in the healthcare professions as well as relationships between on campus performance and performance during clinical education experiences. He is also interested in knee osteoarthritis and the clinical decision making process in physical therapy.

Project I:

Safe Student Performance in Physical Therapy Education

It is unclear whether or not physical therapy students who have poor safety performance during on campus psychomotor evaluations have subsequent lower safety performance during clinical education experiences compared to those physical therapy students who do not have poor safety performance on campus.  Additionally, the possibility exists that students who demonstrate poor safety performance while on campus may have difficulty self-assessing their safety performance while on clinical education experiences (i.e., these students will overestimate their clinical abilities concerning safety).  Having a better understanding of student safety performance is important from a clinical education perspective because it may provide faculty members (and CIs) with new knowledge on how to further support students who struggle in the area of safety.  This support can proactively help ensure that students' performance of skills in a safe manner is adequately addressed prior to clinical education experiences with real-life patients.  Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine if those physical therapist students who show safety concerns on campus (risk to self, patients, or others) have different safety behaviors on clinical education experiences than those students who did not show safety concerns on campus.

Project II:

Professionalism in Health Professions Education

Given the recent interest in competent interprofessional collaboration for healthcare, it is imperative that we gain a better understanding of the commonalities and differences in student perceptions of professionalism among disciplines. The purpose of this study is to identify and compare self-reported professionalism attitudes and behaviors in Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Clinical Psychology, and Biomedical Science  students at the start and end of the first didactic year of their graduate programs.  This project will assist in the assessment of professionalism in allied health curricula and inform potential changes to facilitate the development of these professionalism attitudes and behaviors.

Selected Publications

Irwin KE, Hanke TA, Lee MM. Readiness for clinical practice: Promoting safe student performance in physical therapy education. Journal of Allied Health (accepted for publication).

Horton RC, Irwin KE. Providing culturally competent acute care physical therapy for a complex medical patient of Amish heritage. Journal of Acute Care Physical Therapy. 2018;9(3):121-135.

Noronha S, Anderson DK, Lee M, Krumdick ND, Irwin KE, Burton-Hess J, Ciancio M, Wallingford M, Workman GM.  Professionalism in physician assistant, physical therapist, occupational therapist, clinical psychology and biomedical sciences students. Journal of Allied Health. 2016;45(1):71-78.

Noronha S, Anderson DK, Lee M, Krumdick ND, Irwin KE, Burton-Hess J, Ciancio M, Wallingford M, Workman GM. Self-Assessment of Professionalism Attitudes and Behaviors in Physician Assistant (PA), Physical Therapist (PT), Occupational Therapist (OT), Behavioral Medicine (BM) and Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Students at the Start and End of the First Year. Abstract. Journal of Physician Assistant Education. 2014;25(1):25-26.

Anderson DK, Irwin KE. Self-Assessment of Professionalism in Physical Therapy Education. WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, & Rehabilitation. 2013;44:275-281.

Peplinski SL, Irwin KE. The clinical reasoning process for the intervention of chronic plantar fasciitis.  Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy. 2010;33(3):141-151.

Helmers KM, Irwin KE. Physical therapy as conservative management for cervical pain and headaches in an adolescent with neurofibromatosis type 1: a case study.   Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy.  2009;33(4):212-223.

Irwin KE, Wening JD, Bhatt T, Pai YC.  Does knee osteoarthritis alter the neuromuscular responses to a perturbation during single lower limb stance? Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy. 2005;28(3):93-101.