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  • NIH Provides More Insight on Major Reboot of Rehab Research Plan

    A revised National Institutes of Health (NIH) rehabilitation research plan made headlines when it was unveiled last fall, and now several journals, including Physical Therapy (PTJ), are helping to shed even more light on where it came from and where it's going.

    This month, the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation published 2 articles on the NIH plan, which creates a roadmap for more cohesive, targeted research on restoring function. The articles—one a recap of a conference discussion on how research areas should be prioritized, and the other a summary of the overall research action plan—help to provide context for that core document. In April, PTJ will publish the same articles, accompanied by an editorial from Editor in Chief Alan Jette, PT, PhD, FAPTA, who was a member of the blue ribbon panel that created the initial recommendations for the plan.

    Jette wasn't the only APTA member who played a critical role in the plan's development: former PTJ Editor in Chief and current member of the Foundation for Physical Therapy's Scientific Advisory Council Rebecca Craik, PT, PhD, FAPTA, chaired the blue ribbon panel, and Anthony DeLitto, PT, PhD, FAPTA, was also a member of the group. APTA was a strong supporter of the plan and increased overall funding for rehabilitation research, both of which became a reality with the December 2016 signing of the 21st Century Cures Act by then-President Barack Obama.

    According to the action plan, over the next 5 years NIH will support research in 6 main areas: rehabilitation across the lifespan, rehabilitation in the context of community and family, technology use and development, research design and methodology, translational science, and building research capacity and infrastructure. The research, currently supported by 17 institutes and centers across NIH, will be coordinated by the NIH National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research.

    "Although a great deal has already been accomplished, there is more to do," NIH states in its action plan. "NIH looks forward to working with all the stakeholder communities involved in rehabilitation research to track progress on these newly established priorities and advance the science of rehabilitation in partnership with them."

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