Learning Event Support: Wisconsin Physical/Occupational Therapist Symposium

Providing continuing education to practicing pediatric physical and occupational therapists in Wisconsin to better address the connection between physical pain and obesity among pediatric patients

Full Project Name:Learning Event Support: Wisconsin Physical/Occupational Therapist SymposiumPrimary Community Organization:MCW Department of AnesthesiologyAward Amount:$4,981
Award Date
February2020
Project Duration:16 months

Project Description Narrative:


Pediatric physical (PT) and occupational (OT) therapists often encounter patients struggling with overweight and obesity, however many practicing clinicians were not trained to understand the impact of obesity on body systems, what to consider during evaluation and treatment of these patients, and how to bring up conversations about weight status in the clinic with patients and their families. Many providers are not aware of the fact that obesity is strongly related to chronic pain nor the degree to which obesity affects treatment, including that obesity exacerbates pain, can be a barrier to treatment efficacy, and may negatively affect patient adherence.

Through Learning Event Support funding, the learning event will provide continuing education to practicing PTs/OTs in Wisconsin to better address the the connection between physical pain and obesity among pediatric patients in effective and supportive manners to improve health and wellness. The Wisconsin Physical/Occupational Therapist Symposium will allow PTs/OTs to identify risk factors for obesity in pediatric patients, understand the systemic impact of obesity on pediatric patients, understand the ethical dilemmas around discussing weight status in pediatric physical/occupational therapy practice, and learn how motivational interviewing can be used as a clinical tool to discuss obesity in pediatric physical and occupational therapy.

Key Collaborators:

  • MCW Department of Anesthesiology
  • Concordia University Department of Exercise Physiology
  • Children's Wisconsin Physical and Occupational Therapy Department

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


Engaged 29 attendees working in diverse care settings in multiple Wisconsin communities to a virtual event featuring experienced guest speakers sharing facts about the prevalence and risk factors, physiological consequences of obesity, stigma, and chronic pain

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