National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research Awards $5.5 Million to Build on Work of FPTR-Funded Initiative

The Foundation for Physical Therapy Research (FPTR)-funded Center on Health Services Training and Research (CoHSTAR) Will Build on Center’s Work Through a New 5-Year Grant.

ALEXANDRIA, VA (May 20, 2020) – The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development and the National Institute for Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health have awarded a 5-year, $5.5 million grant to create the Learning Health Systems Rehabilitation Research Network (LeaRRn), a national resource network to advance stakeholder-partnered, rehabilitation learning health systems (LHS) research to improve quality of care, demonstrate value, and enhance patient and system outcomes. LeaRRn’s Principal Investigator is Linda Resnik, PT, PhD, FAPTA, Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice, School of Public Health, Brown University and Research Career Scientist at the Providence VA Medical Center.

“There is an urgent need for a rehabilitation resource center that supports LHS rehabilitation research and develops LHS researchers to advance the field of rehabilitation care,” says Resnik. “Particularly, given the growing complexity of healthcare, continued problems related to quality and cost, and a widely-recognized 17-year evidence to practice gap.”

Building on the model established by the Center on Health Services Training and Research (CoHSTAR), LeaRRn will be a collaborative effort of Brown University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Boston University. Eight health system/health organization will also partner in this initiative.

The LeaRRn program will build on 5 years of collaboration made possible through a $2.5 million FPTR grant awarded in 2015. Funding for CoHSTAR was made possible with a $1 million gift from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), gifts from APTA components, and donations from physical therapists, foundations, and corporations. More than 150 donors made the grant possible. In early 2020, FPTR also announced an additional $1.25 million investment in CoHSTAR to continue the program through years 6,7,8,9, and 10.

“CoHSTAR was funded through the largest ever grant awarded by FPTR,” says Foundation President, Paul Rockar, Jr., PT, DPT, MS, FAPTA. “We were able to make this major investment because we have donors who believe in our mission and are passionate about the physical therapy profession. CoHSTAR has yielded remarkable returns in terms of researcher training, pilot studies, and health services research events. This well-deserved funding for LeaRRn will help build on CoHSTAR’s multi-institutional partnerships and contributions.”

Since 1979, FPTR has funded more than $19 million in grants, scholarships, and fellowships. FPTR employs a peer-review process modeled after the National Institutes of Health. This process helps prepare FPTR-funded researchers for additional funding applications and lends credibility to researchers seeking funding from larger agencies. FPTR-funded researchers have secured more than $800 million in follow-on funding.

LeaRRn’s mission is to improve the quality, outcomes, and value of rehabilitation care by fostering stakeholder-partnered research within and across LHSs.

LeaRRn component leaders include Theresa Shireman, PhD, and Rosa Baier, MPH, from the Brown University School of Public Health; Janet Freburger, PT, PhD, and Joel Stevans, PhD, DC, of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh; and Mary Slavin, PT, PhD, from the School of Public Health Boston University. Health system partners include: American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, BAYADA Home Health Care, Boston Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic, Intermountain Healthcare, Johns Hopkins Medicine, naviHealth, and UPMC.


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