Project Description

University of Cincinnati PhD Student Continues Interdisciplinary Work with Support of Foundation Scholarship

Sarah M. Schwab, PT, DPT, has seen the extraordinary ability of physical therapy to transform the lives of patients. As a clinician, she appreciates that physical therapy is an evidence-driven profession that seeks to improve and grow.

“I think we can always strive to be better and provide better interventions for our patients,” said Schwab. “Particularly for diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, in which our interventions currently produce modest effects, at best.

As the recipient of a 2019 Foundation for Physical Therapy Research Promotion of Doctoral Studies (PODS) I Scholarship, Schwab hopes to develop research specialization in motor behavior and control.

“This funding will support my research investigating upper extremity perceptual-motor behaviors, with a specific emphasis on adapted grip control in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy,” said Schwab. “Such work aims to describe the interactivity between task demands and an individual’s action capabilities and integrate principles of dynamical systems theory—flexibility, adaptability, and variability—into physical therapy education, research, and general practice.”

Schwab’s project title is “An Investigation of Upper Extremity Perceptual-Motor Behaviors in Children with Cerebral Palsy.” She will study at the University of Cincinnati under the joint mentorship of Michael Riley, PhD, and Paula Silva, MA, PhD. As an experimental psychology PhD student, she will work in the Perceptual-Motor Dynamics Laboratory within the interdisciplinary Center for Cognition, Action, and Perception.

The Foundation awards PODS I Scholarships of $7,500 each year to physical therapists or physical therapist assistants who have completed at least two full semesters or three full quarters of their coursework toward a postprofessional doctoral degree. In 2019, the Foundation awarded $310,000 in Fellowship and Postprofessional Doctoral Scholarships. This funding is possible through the support of generous donors, including the Foundation’s Pinnacle Partner in Research, APTA.

Select Foundation Grants and Scholarships Awarded

Schwab’s project title is “An Investigation of Upper Extremity Perceptual-Motor Behaviors in Children with Cerebral Palsy.”

SARAH M. SCHWAB, PT, DPT