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Social determinants of health, postpartum healing, shoulder dysfunction, and Achilles tendinopathy are among the targets of new research efforts being funded by the Foundation of Physical Therapy Research by way of fellowships and scholarships supported in part by APTA and several of its academies.

The foundation recently announced its awards of fellowship and scholarship funding to 22 promising physical therapy researchers. The $325,000 in award money will help launch the careers of new investigators as they complete doctoral studies.

The Promotion of Doctoral Studies awards — PODS for short — include two categories: PODS I awards provide up to $7,500 to PTs or PTAs who have completed at least two full semesters or three full quarters of coursework, while PODS II funding targets PTs or PTAs who have been formally admitted to postprofessional doctoral candidacy, with up to $15,000 awarded to each recipient.

In addition to the PODS awards, FPTR is also continuing a deeper investment in emerging researchers through the Promotion of Doctoral Studies award and New Investigator Fellowship Training Initiative. Launched in 2021, the PODS II/NIFTI award creates a funding pathway from doctoral studies through post-candidacy. This year, FPTR will provide an additional $100,000 award to Julia Mazzarella, PT, DPT, from The Ohio State University, the winner of the inaugural PODS II/NIFTI award. Funding will be used to continue her work around hippotherapy for children with cerebral palsy.

Winners of foundation funding must participate in a rigorous application process modeled after the National Institutes of Health. Since 1979, the foundation has awarded more than $20 million to promising researchers and research projects.

The FPTR research grant application window is now open with an Aug. 5 deadline for submission. The next round of PODS awards will be open for application in October.

This Year's Recipients

PODS I

Gregory Edwards, PT, DPT, The Ohio State University
Supported by a donation from Beth Whitehead, PT, MPH
Project title: Scientific Inquiry to Clinical Applications: Postural Control Following Concussion

Adam Janowski, PT, DPT, University of Iowa
Recipient of the Charlene Mae Nelson Award
Project title: The Validation of Metabolic Biomarkers, Malate and Fumarate, Using Animal and Human Research Designs in Chronic Pain

Lindsey Jubina, PT, DPT, University of Kentucky
Supported by the Academy of Acute Care Physical Therapy
Project title: The Impact of Social Determinants of Health on Utilization of Rehabilitation After ICU Admission

Morgan Kelly, PT, DPT, University of Southern California
Supported by a donation from Beth Whitehead, PT, MPH
Project title: The Impact of Post-Stroke Cognitive Impairment on Locomotor Learning

Sean Kennedy, PT, DPT, Memorial Hermann Health System
Supported through a donation from PhysicalTherapy.com to the Legacy Scholarship Fund
Project title: Dynamic, In-Vivo Analysis of the Elbow Joint: A Controlled Laboratory Series Utilizing Model-Based Tracking

Jamie Kronenberg, PT, DPT, The Ohio State University
Supported by a donation from Beth Whitehead, PT, MPH
Project title: Movement as a Complex Adaptive System in Athletes Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Anne Lorio, PT, DPT, Georgia State University
Recipient of the Mildred Wood Award
Project title: What Are the Best Practices for Teaching Physical Therapy Students How to Educate Patients With Limited Health Literacy?

Chelsea Parker, PT, DPT, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Recipient of the Patricia Leahy Award from the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy
Project title: Enhanced Motor Learning of Gait Behaviors in Parkinson Disease

David Rowland, PT, DPT, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Supported by the Neurology Endowment Fund of the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy
Project title: Ankle Exoskeletons as Daily Assistive Devices to Augment Gait Post-Stroke

Hayley Smitheman, PT, DPT, University of Delaware
Supported by a gift from the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy
Project title: Insertional Achilles Tendinopathy: Optimizing Individualized Treatment Strategies

Katherine Smulligan, PT, DPT, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Recipient of the Florence Kendall Award
Project title: Predictors of Lower Extremity Injury Risk Following Sport-Related Concussion

Jennifer Supowit, PT, DPT, University of Washington
Supported through the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy Fund from APTA Geriatrics
Project title: Examining Vestibular Contributions to Balance and Gait Impairments in Parkinson Disease

Jessica Swartz, PT, DPT, San Diego State University
Recipient of the Pelvic Health Award from APTA Pelvic Health
Project title: Physical Therapy for Postpartum Healing and Health Equity

Ashley Troutman, PT, DPT, Indiana University/Purdue University
Recipient of the Scot C. Irwin Award from the APTA Academy of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy
Project title: Musculoskeletal and Cardiovascular Dysfunction in CKD

PODS II

Meredith Chaput, PT, DPT, Ohio University
Recipient of the Phoebe Rhomberger Award
Project title: Neural Activity and Postural Control Associated With Experimentally Induced Knee Joint Deafferentation

Chris Lane, PT, DPT, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Recipient of the VCU-Marquette Challenge Award supported through the APTA Scholarship Fund
Project title: Preventing Disability After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury: Examining Opportunities in Those at Greatest Risk

Andrew Post, PT, DPT, University of Iowa
Recipient of the Viva J. Erickson Award
Project title: Identification of Inflammatory Biomarkers and Adaptations After a Tendon Loading Exercise Program in Individuals With Chronic Achilles Tendinopathy

Michelle Rauzi, PT, DPT, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Recipient of the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy AwardProject title: Telehealth for Medically Complex Older Veterans

Gaura Saini, PT, DPT, University of Minnesota
Recipient of the Karen St. John Award supported through the FPTR General Research Fund
Project title: Scapular Mechanisms of Movement-Related Shoulder Dysfunction

Ashwini Sansare, PT, MS, University of Delaware
Recipient of the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy Award
Project title: Neuromotor Control of Walking Balance in Children With Cerebral Palsy

Corri Stuyvenberg, PT, DPT, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Recipient of the Bella J. May Award
Project title: Importance of Parent-Infant Relationships in Pediatric Physical Therapy

Jenna Zajac, PT, DPT, Boston University
Recipient of the Mary Lou Barnes Award from the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy
Project title: Does a Personalized Music-Based Digital Therapeutic Increase Walking Performance and Automaticity in People With Parkinson Disease?


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