The Foundation funds the best qualified funding applicants. These innovators advance care across physical therapy disciplines and patient populations.


Research strengthens the profession of physical therapy. Research can help examine the effectiveness of treatments and pioneer new interventions to strengthen the profession. Research also defines the value of physical therapy to government agencies and health care payers. As consumer needs and payment models continue to change, research is needed to help physical therapist professionals find the most effective and cost-efficient ways to help people.

Early career physical therapy researchers often compete with other professions and established investigators for limited funding. The Foundation helps these researchers as they begin their careers and learn more about what is needed to sustain funding in physical therapy research. Since 1979, the Foundation’s unique focus has been physical therapy research and physical therapist researchers.


Our grant and scholarship review process is modeled after the National Institutes of Health. A volunteer scientific review committee composed of experts in research and education reviews all applicants. We also collaborate with institutions to build upon active research programs. Our review process is fair and transparent.


Throughout each year, Foundation scholarships, fellowships, and grants are awarded to advance the careers of promising researchers and promote scientifically-based and clinically-relevant research. New investigators who receive our support yield exceptional research. Many of today’s leading physical therapy researchers, clinicians, and academicians began their careers with our support. Further, researchers who have received Foundation support go on to secure significant follow-on funding — an estimated $896 million.

“I can say with all certainty that without the Foundation’s support, I wouldn’t be able to do the type of work I do. My career is a direct result of the generosity of the Foundation’s donors.”

Daniel K. White, PT, ScD, MSc, 2011 Foundation Geriatric Research Grant

“Getting this award made me feel like my profession agreed with what my goals were in furthering my education and the type of research I wanted to pursue. It told me our profession valued cross-cultural research and better understanding of the causes of disparities in health care and interventions needed to address barriers to improved health.”

Cheryl I. Kerfeld, PT, MS, PhD, 1999 Mary McMillan Doctoral Scholarship

“This is the first grant I received and it certainly gave credit to my ideas. Getting this award opened other opportunities. It was nice to have the Foundation embrace my vision.”

Jan Hughes-Austin, PT, PhD, 2014 Foundation Research Grant