Foundation For Physical Therapy Research Grants $2.5 Million Center Of Excellence Award To Brown University For Health Services Research And Training

ALEXANDRIA, VA – (February 5, 2015) The Foundation for Physical Therapy Research Board of Trustees is proud to announce a grant of $2.5 million to Brown University (Brown) to establish the Center on Health Services Training and Research (CoHSTAR) over the next 5 years. CoHSTAR will train physical therapist scientists in order to dramatically increase and improve physical therapy health services research capacity, continuing to help make the practice an integral part of today’s health care discussion and mainstream medicine.

Specifically, CoHSTAR will offer the multi-institutional research and training program in conjunction with Boston University (BU) and the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). Brown will provide leadership and administration, while all 3 universities will work together with a 3-part focus on analysis of large data sets, rehabilitation outcomes measurement, and implementation science and quality assurance.

CoHSTAR will offer postdoctoral fellowships, host visiting scientists, and provide special summer training sessions. Each trainee will be paired with a highly experienced mentoring team from one or more of the institutions, participate in immersive research experiences, and have access to other training activities and courses from 26 pertinent graduate programs at the 3 institutions, according to Brown’s Linda Resnik, PT, PhD, associate professor of health services, policy, and practice and CoHSTAR principal investigator and director. Additionally, CoHSTAR will fund several high-quality promising pilot studies each year from investigators within and outside the Center. Brown anticipates launching CoHSTAR in June.

“The establishment of CoHSTAR is a tremendous step forward for the physical therapist profession, and we couldn’t have come this far without our generous donors,” said Foundation Board of Trustees President Barbara Connolly, PT, DPT, EdD, FAPTA. “We are facing the expanded health care world head-on by expanding the number of physical therapist researchers involved in health services research.”

“Because of the paucity of physical therapy health services research, we lack evidence about effectiveness, comparative effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of physical therapy. CoHSTAR will develop a cadre of physical therapy scientists who can conduct health services and health policy research to address our gaps in knowledge in these and other important areas. Ultimately, our research will demonstrate with empirical data the impact physical therapy has on patient outcomes and will be useful for informing practice and policy,” noted Resnik. “Dr Vincent Mor, director of the research career and training core, and I are proud that Brown will be at the forefront of this initiative, and we are excited to work with our partners Drs Alan Jette and Mary Slavin at BU, and Drs Anthony Delitto and Kelley Fitzgerald at Pitt, to advance health services and health policy research capacity in physical therapy.”

Resnik anticipates that CoHSTAR will train up to 9 postdoctoral fellows and 5-6 visiting scientists, and expose dozens more researchers and faculty members to health services research methods through the center’s health services research summer institutes over the 5 years of funding. Faculty participants will help develop health services research curricular materials for use in physical therapy and rehabilitation graduate programs. This will create a trickledown effect by integrating the information into more doctoral programs, thus training scientists who go on to do research and train others.

According to the most recent data, approximately 9 million adults age 18 years and over are treated by a physical therapist every year. The passage of the Affordable Care Act has increased pressure on the system to provide quality health care, including physical therapy, for even more millions of people nationwide. This will have consequences throughout the health care system, whether for payers, patients, or policy makers.

Funding for CoHSTAR, formerly known as the Center of Excellence, came from a $1 million gift from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and gifts from 50 APTA components and physical therapists, foundations, and corporations throughout the country.

The Foundation for Physical Therapy was established in 1979 as a national, independent nonprofit organization to fund physical therapy research to optimize health and movement. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $17 million in research grants, fellowships and scholarships. Many of today’s leading physical therapy researchers, clinicians, and academicians began their careers with this support. Foundation-funded researchers have gone on to secure more than $824 million in follow-on funding.

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