Foundation Invests in Matching Sponsorship of TiDe Project to Increase Diversity in the Profession
The Foundation for Physical Therapy Research Board of Trustees approved a $125,000 investment over five years in a matching sponsorship of a new project entitled, “Turning the TiDe: Training Diverse Clinical Scientists in Rehabilitation Research” (TiDe). The goal of the TiDe project is to create a critical mass of diverse clinical scientists in rehabilitation research by paving the way for future scientists through outreach, training, and structured support.
The project is funded through a National Institute of Health R25 Education Grant and supplemented with matching sponsorships from the Foundation, the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF), the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and the University of Delaware Office of Research.
“The lack of racial and ethnic diversity among students, practitioners, and faculty reduces the potential pool of scientists in the physical therapy (PT) and OT disciplines,” says Gregory Hicks, PT, PhD, Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Associate Vice President for Clinical & Translational Research at the University of Delaware. “Furthermore, the lack of diversity within these disciplines discourages potential students from pursuing training within these disciplines, contributing to a vicious cycle. TiDe will launch a series of strategies to engage, attract, matriculate, and support diverse students in PT and OT programs across the nation. This will create pathways for underrepresented students to transition from professional to research training.”
Supporting the Mission
The Foundation’s support of TiDE will help establish an annual workshop, a quarterly webinar series, and monthly networking meetings to support clinical scientists in the recruitment, training, and support of graduate professional student trainees interested in rehabilitation research careers. It will also help attract diverse trainees to clinical science in rehabilitation research, and train current clinical scientists on how to ensure training environments focus on three specific aims:
- Developing pathways for diverse graduate professional students to learn the skills to become independent clinical scientists in rehabilitation research.
- Creating supportive communities by training current clinical scientists in the skills necessary to attract, train, support, and advance diverse graduate professional trainees.
- Removing barriers for future clinical scientists (trainees) in the application for and matriculation into research training programs at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels, as well as the conduct of rehabilitation research.
Focus on Leadership
Leading the project will be Gregory Hicks and Beth Skidmore, Occupational Therapy Chair and Associate Dean of Research at the University of Pittsburgh. Supporting team members of the TiDe program will include Foundation-funded researcher Marcie Harris-Hayes, PT, DPT, MSCI, Professor of Physical Therapy and Orthopedic Surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine, as well as several additional rehabilitation scientists at occupational and physical therapy research programs at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Delaware, Washington University and Boston University.
“The TiDe program perfectly aligns with the mission of the Foundation to fund research and develop researchers to optimize movement and health,” says Paul Rockar, Foundation President. “There is also the clear added benefit of developing a diverse research workforce who can help us tackle the many health inequities that currently exist. We are grateful for the opportunity to support this work that will ultimately help the Foundation in pursuit of our critical mission.”