Beyond Opioids: Transforming the Whole through Collaborations, Education, & Movement

People daily suffer from chronic pain and are unsure how to transcend beyond a life full of fear, pain, medication, and inactivity. They aspire to move more freely, try new things and utilize other pain management techniques beyond pain medication, specifically opioids. Move Together, the Pro Bono Network (PBN), the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), and our many collaborators around the corner and around the world seek to guide and support that transcending transformation. We focus to integrate the whole body: mind, body, and being for a sustainable transformation and maximization of life through movement.

Briar Cliff University’s (BCU) Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program in 2016 explored the possibility to expand their DPT program with the development of a pro bono clinic in the Sioux City community. They reached out to the Pro Bono Network and attended the PBN conference at Widener University. They followed that by establishing a student-run pro bono clinic, Briar Cliff Clinic, in Sioux City, Iowa. The collaboration and connection found within the Pro Bono Network, the APTA HPA Catalyst, and APTA subgroup conference meetings have helped guide and support both students and faculty in the development and expansion of the BCU pro bono clinic.

In 2017, Briar Cliff University’s DPT program applied for a Move Together Pro Bono Incubator grant receiving funding to start NOPE, no opioid-use through education program. The program focuses on the whole person, transforming and empowering one to take intentional action towards pain management without pain medication, specifically opioids. It is an accompanying program that develops conversation amongst the participants and the physical therapy (PT) students to understand the needs; develop a rapport; share ways and whys to minimize pain and maximize movement; reflect on the impacts of pain and use of medication past, present, and future; and empower them to be intentional with their health plan.

The 9-session NOPE program includes:

  • Welcome and explanation of the physical therapy profession;
  • Understanding of pain science and the neuro-physiological components;
  • Understanding the impacts and effects of pain medication, especially opioids;
  • Empowering and equipping participants to engage in conversation about their pain and medications with their primary care doctor;
  • Understanding depression and how to manage it;
  • Discovering ways to overcome barriers to physical activity and its importance;
  • Learning the basics and importance of nutrition and how to overcome barriers;
  • Learning ways to improve sleep and understanding one’ own sleep hygiene; and
  • Transforming pain through mindfulness and breathing techniques.

The NOPE program along with the BCU pro bono clinic continues to grow and expand making a rippling impact in the Sioux City and BCU communities. The clinic is working to expand rehabilitation offerings by adding occupational therapy. The PT students also gain experience in interprofessional collaboration and develop relationships with the physical therapist assistant students at Western Iowa Tech Community College. They work alongside the BCU’s Spanish Program to provide quality care to their Spanish speaking community. These are only the beginnings of cross-discipline, cross-program collaborations within BCU healthcare and larger campus community and the Sioux City community.


The collaborations at BCU and with the Sioux City community is only part of the overall connective tissue that continues to bring to life new possibilities for people near and far to experience the benefits and hope through movement. Move Together is excited to partner with the American Physical Therapy Association and their amazing pro bono and service opportunities; our growing collaboration with the Pro Bono Network will help to not only connect people, institutions, and organizations but to collect outcomes across the US in the National Pro Bono Rehabilitation Outcomes collection.

Briar Cliff University’s DPT Program exemplifies only one of many programs across the US collaborating with local communities and members to maximize lives by integrating wholistic transformation and movement. Move Together’s Pro Bono Incubator program has granted 15 grantees with over $30,000 in funding in the program’s three-year history.

We are excited to announce our 3rd cohort, the 2019-2020 Pro Bono Incubator grant recipients:

  • Access PT ~ Illinois: connecting the uninsured population of IL with nearby pro bono services
  • Neighborhood Medical Center ~ Florida Agriculture and Medical University DPT program: increasing awareness and treatment options for postpartum lumbopelvic pain
  • Rutgers South DPT: collaborating with Cooper Rowan Clinic to add PT services for a comprehensive treatment plan
  • Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital: expand spinal cord injury support and grow community integrated activities
  • University of New Mexico Rehabilitation Education and Community Health (REACH) clinic: increase marketing, awareness, and resources as the only functioning New Mexico pro bono clinic
  • YWCA ~ Titusville, PA: expand services with the development of WHealth Clinic with health screenings and PT services for women

We welcome our new PBI grant recipients to the Move Together family!

We thank each person, organization, company, and institution who has contributed to our mission and vision through collective and innovative ideas, physical and monetary donations, and sharing of experiences, knowledge, and time in numerous ways!

If you have an innovative idea and are not sure of the next step, visit the Pro Bono Incubator page for additional resources, mentorship opportunities, and the grant funding timeline!

Inspired to take the next step yourself? Come join our growing critical mass of students, clinicians, educators, and other professionals collaborating with us to maximize lives through movement around the corner and around the world through our Catalyst Club!


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