Below are activities in the school during 2014. For news items, including press releases and official announcements, please visit the KU Medical Center Communications Office news.
May 28, 2015
A University of Kansas alumna is at the helm of an organization that influences more than 100,000 health care professionals and the patients, clients and institutions they serve.
Cassi Birnbaum, president of the American Health Information Management Association, was the featured speaker at the student recognition luncheon for the University of Kansas Department of Health Information Management. Birnbaum received her Bachelor of Applied Science in health information/medical records from KU in 1979 and is currently the senior vice president of health information management and consulting at Peak Health Solutions.
Birnbaum talked about the future of HIM, the implementation of ICD-10 and other topics during her graduation week visit to the University of Kansas Medical Center. (Story)
May 19, 2015
Professor John Ferraro, Ph.D., the Carolyn Doughty-Margaret Kemp Chair of the Department of Hearing and Speech and co-director of the KU Intercampus Program in Communicative Disorders, received the Stata Norton Distinguished Teaching Award in May during the School of Health Professions Student Recognition Ceremony.
The award honors Norton who was dean of the school from 1980 to 1984, a member of the faculty of the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition and professor emeritus of pharmacology, toxicology and therapeutics in the School of Medicine
"This award is particularly meaningful to me because Stata Norton was the dean who hired me 31 years ago," said Ferraro, who came to KU in 1983. "She was a gold standard dean and human being. Stata will always be one of my heroes and to receive an award named for her is a true highlight of my career." (Story)
May 8, 2015
John Ferraro, Ph.D., has been appointed interim dean of the School of Health Professions while the search continues for a permanent replacement for Karen L. Miller, Ph.D., who is stepping down this summer.
Ferraro, who has held the Doughty-Kemp Professorship in Hearing and Speech since coming to the University of Kansas in 1983, will begin his duties as interim dean on July 1. Dr. Douglas A. Girod, executive vice chancellor, made the announcement on May 5.
"I am pleased to announce the appointment of John A. Ferraro as interim dean of the School of Health Professions," Girod said. "This appointment will ensure a smooth transition to new leadership in the school in the coming months."
"I look forward to working with the chairs, faculty, staff and students in the SHP to put our programs in the very best position to receive a new dean and to carry on the tradition of excellence we have established and enjoyed under Dean Miller's leadership," Ferraro said. (Story)
April 22, 2015
A master's degree candidate in the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition was one of three Robinson International Studies Scholars receiving Citation Awards during the International Educational Experience Showcase April 20 at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Taranjeet Singh, who is scheduled to graduate in May, was the Citation Award winner for the School of Health Professions. Singh is the first dietetics and nutrition student to take part in the Robinson Scholars program, which has sent more than 70 students to study at Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, during the past 10 years.
"This experience has taught me to approach life and my profession in a more humbling, empathetic and open-minded manner," said Singh. "Immersing yourself in such a diverse environment surrounded by different people, languages, cultures and customs really makes you look at the big picture, while also appreciating the small things in life." (Story) (Photos)
April 13, 2015
Several University of Kansas Medical Center students were winners in the Kansas Physical Therapy Association (KPTA) Scientific Inquiry Awards competition at the 2015 Spring Conference in Wichita.
Eighteen of the 22 poster and platform presentations at the conference were by KU Medical Center doctor of physical therapy students, doctoral students and faculty. The competition was judged by the KPTA Research Committee. (Story)
April 3, 2015
Research into finding the location of damage in the inner ear that causes hearing loss has earned a third-year doctoral student in audiology the top medal from the School of Health Professions at the 37th Annual Student Research Forum at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
The medal was presented to Aryn Kamerer during the Student Research Forum awards banquet March 26 at The Foundation in Kansas City, Mo. The honor was one of several presented by the schools of Health Professions, Medicine and Nursing during the three-day event at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
"I am honored to represent the Department of Hearing and Speech and shed some light on the importance of research in communication disorders," said Kamerer, who is from Olathe, Kan. "As a Ph.D. student, I get lost in the research and the detailed requirements of my day-to-day studies, so it is a relief to step back and take a look at the big picture." (Story)
March 16, 2015
The 2015 Alumni Awards recipients have been announced by the University of Kansas Medical Center Alumni Association. The winners will be honored during a luncheon on Oct. 2 as part of Alumni Weekend on the medical center campus.
Clinical assistant professor Judy Bielby, MBA, RHIA, CPHQ, CCS, FAHIMA, has been named as the Distinguished Health Professions Alumna. The Early Career Achievement in Health Professions Alumnus award goes to Murad Al-Momani, CCC-A, FAAA, chairman of the Audiology and Balance Unit at King Abdulaziz University Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Karen L. Miller, Ph.D. FASAHP, dean of the Schools of Health Professions and Nursing, is the recipient of the Honorary Health Professions Alumna Award. Miller is also being recognized as the Honorary Nursing Alumna. Miller has been dean of the School of Health Professions since 1998 and the School of Nursing since 1996. (Story)
March 9, 2015
Mention the country of Ghana to Karen Schell, DHSc, BSRC, and her eyes begin to twinkle and a spark of enthusiasm overtakes her voice. As director of cardiopulmonary services at Newman Regional Health in Emporia, respiratory care is her vocation, but helping the people of Ghana is her passion.
During the past four years, providing aid to Ghana has become a driving force for Schell, a 1992 alumna of the Department of Respiratory Care Education. But she hasn't stopped at merely going on mission trips; Schell is changing the way health care is provided in this developing West African nation.
Schell has teamed with Lisa Trujillo, DHSc, RRT, an assistant professor at Weber State University in Utah, to create Ghana's first bachelor's degree program in respiratory care. The program will launch this fall at the University of Ghana with 10 students - a first for the school, and a first for the country. (Story)
Feb 26, 2015
Zaid Mansour, a doctoral student in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, was named the winner of the Dorothy Knoll Outstanding Student Leader Award in a ceremony in the School of Nursing Atrium. Mansour was one of five finalists who were nominated for the honor.
"I am so glad and honored to be the recipient of this award," he said. "I was overwhelmed by winning. I'm so honored to win this prestigious award."
Feb. 13, 2015
School of Health Professions students take part in research days in Topeka
Four undergraduates and one graduate student represented the University of Kansas School of Health Professions during Kansas Undergraduate Day at the Capitol and the Capitol Graduate Research Summit Feb. 11-12 in Topeka.
The events focus on raising awareness about the research conducted by students at the state's universities. On Feb. 11, undergraduate students from the Kansas Board of Regents' four-year universities gathered for the third-annual event in the Capitol building rotunda. (Story)
Feb. 11, 2015
A clinical instructor in the Intercampus Program in Communicative Disorders is the first person to earn certification in Kansas as an Early Start Denver Model therapist (ESDM) for working with children with autism.
Kathy Johnston, M.S., CCC-L/SLP, IMHE II, received notice last week that she has been certified as an ESDM therapist after nearly a year of training. ESDM, which is a comprehensive behavioral intervention for children from 12 to 48 months, defines a curriculum of skills to be taught and the associated teaching procedures to be used to deliver the content.
"This certification will not only add to my knowledge base but will help me provide evidenced based intervention for young children with a diagnosis of autism and their families," said Johnston, who has been working for the University of Kansas Medical Center for the past 17 years. (Story)
Feb. 10, 2015
Three faculty members in the Department of Occupational Therapy Education have been selected to receive 2015 Pilot Service Learning Mini Grant Awards.
The Center for Civic and Social Responsibility (CCSR) on the Lawrence campus awarded nine $500 mini grants to 10 faculty instructors, who are teaching service learning courses during spring semester in seven study areas across two campuses.
The occupational therapy faculty members receiving the grants are assistant professor Lisa Mische Lawson, associate professor Jeff Radel and clinical assistant professor Dory Sabata.
"Our faculty have made a strong commitment to both the power of service learning for our students and the importance of supporting our community partners as they serve others," said OT Department Chair Winnie Dunn. "These awards are so important to demonstrate our university's acknowledgement of the importance of these commitments."
The grant program, which is in its pilot year, is dedicated to fostering beneficial campus-community partnerships and best practices in service learning. Grant money will be used to pay for costs involved in service learning projects such as transportation and books.
Tyrel Reed: Basketball in his blood but PT school on his mind
Whether it's age or injury or simply being overrun by the responsibilities of daily life, every athlete faces a day when the game they grew up loving simply doesn't need them anymore.
For Tyrel Reed, that day came after one of the most storied basketball careers of any schoolboy in the history of Kansas. A star athlete who played high school basketball for his father in Burlington, Kan., Reed went on to play guard at the University of Kansas, where he was part of the 2008 national championship team and is the winningest player in Jayhawk history. That was followed by a brief career as a professional basketball player in Europe.
But eventually Reed faced a time when he had to turn the page and move on to the next chapter in his life. (Story)
Dory Sabata named American Occupational Therapy Association fellow
A clinical assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy Education has been tabbed to receive a national honor.
Dory Sabata, OTD, OTR/L, SCEM, has been named a fellow by the American Occupational Therapy Association. She will receive the AOTA Roster of Fellows Award at the 2015 Annual Conference and Expo in Nashville, Tenn.
The Roster of Fellows Award honors AOTA members who have made a significant contribution to the continuing education and professional development of members. (STORY)
Blindness doesn't slow therapeutic science student Tim Hornik's quest for doctorate
For Tim, Hornik, a doctoral student in the therapeutic science program in the Department of Occupational Therapy Education, the events of Veterans Day 10 years ago dramatically changed his life.
Hornik's Army unit was about to end its patrol for the day on the streets between Baghdad International Airport and the International Zone, when it was called to provide security support to the Iraqi National Guard as it infiltrated a mosque. Its job was to lock down the outer perimeter.
The Humvee (high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle) and Bradley Fighting Vehicles in Hornik's unit were sent out, and shortly after their arrival, a sniper shot a soldier who was on foot, and a Bradley team evacuated the man to a combat support hospital. Hornik immediately elected to move his Bradley to replace a Bradley that was lost in an improvised explosive device (IED) incident earlier in the day. The tank commander normally sits in the turret, but Hornik chose to sit with his head exposed, so he could use binoculars to locate the shooter. A sniper shot hit Hornik in the temple, and the bullet exited through his right eye. (Story)
Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions honors Dean Karen Miller at national conference
Karen L. Miller
Karen L. Miller, dean of the School of Health Professions, has been awarded the Distinguished Service and Achievement Award by the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions.
The award was presented to Miller during the association's annual convention this week in Las Vegas. The honor recognizes Miller's many contributions to allied health, nursing and higher education administration.
Miller announced last summer that she would step down from her role as dean of both the School of Health Professions and the School of Nursing at the end of the academic year but will remain a faculty member as a tenured professor in the School of Nursing.
Miller has been dean of the School of Nursing for 18 years and dean of the School of Health Professions for 16 years.
Marilee Means stepping down after 37 years at KU Medical Center
Clinical associate professor Marilee Means uses colorful pastels to bring her landscapes to life, but these images are in stark contrast to her work at the University of Kansas Medical Center, which is done meticulously looking through the lens of a microscope examining minute areas of cells to detect diseases such as cancer.
The director of KU's Cytotechnology Program, Means will step down in December after working at KU Medical Center for 37 years. But before Means spends her final days on the Kansas City, Kan., campus, she will be honored with the Excellence in Education Award from the American Society of Cytopathology (ASC) - an award that recognizes the meritorious service or accomplishments of a cytotechnologist or pathologist in the field of cytopathology or cytotechnology education.
"This has really been a perfect job for me and my interests," Means says. "I have always loved science, and after I had my two children I wanted to try something different than teaching high school (which her first degree was in), so I found out about the program at KU Med and was thrilled when I was hired right out of school to work here." (Story)
Speech pathology student Joshuaa Burbank bridging two cultures
When Joshuaa Burbank packed his young family and all their belongings into a U-Haul last August in New Mexico he was a man on a mission as he headed east to the University of Kansas and a future filled with uncertainty.
The graduate student in the Intercampus Program for Communication Disorders (IPCD) said goodbye to a lifetime of memories and traditions from growing up on the Navajo Reservation and moved to small apartment in Lawrence along with his fiancée, Kristina Lewis, and their 3½-year-old son, Kaleb. They left behind a life filled with familiar routines, secure jobs, loving families and a network of support and headed for the unknown as a full-time graduate student with the goal of returning one day to work on the reservation.
Burbank has seen first-hand what a lack of skilled health care, particularly speech pathology, can do while working on the reservation and in rural areas, and he is driven by a strong desire to return home to make a difference in the community that has supported him his entire life. (STORY)
Dean Miller presents Jessie Ball Lecture
Karen L. Miller, Ph.D., departing dean of the Schools of Health Professions and Nursing, delivered the annual Jessie Ball Lecture on Oct. 9 in Battenfeld Auditorium.
The lecture is presented in conjunction with the pinning ceremony for the new class of Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science (PTRS). This year's class of 58 students, which began classes in late May, is the largest in the history of the DPT program at the University of Kansas. (STORY)
The Sertoma Club of Kansas City has given a gift of $5,500 to the Hartley Family Center for Childhood Hearing (HFC) at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
The check was given to John Ferraro, Ph.D., co-director of the Intercampus Program in Communicative Disorders, on Tuesday. Money for the gift came from proceeds from the club's Hear Me Now Fun Run and Walk in July.
"Thanks to all of you who helped or participated in this event, especially Sandy Keener and Lauren Baranowski and several members of our audiology student group - the Jayhawk Chapter of the Student Academy of Audiology," Ferraro said. "Thanks also to the members of the Kansas City Sertoma Club who continue to support our goal of providing the very best hearing health care to the children and families seen in the HFC. "
The Hartley Family Center serves families with children of all ages who are deaf or hard of hearing, plus children of deaf parents. The center, which is administered through the Department of Hearing and Speech, was named in honor of W.C. Hartley and his family, who have provided gifts to help support Hartley Family Center programs since 1990.
An associate professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech has been selected to receive the 2014 School of Health Professions Faculty Research Investigator Award. Tiffany A. Johnson, Ph.D., will receive the award, which includes a $1,000 stipend. The awards are given annually to outstanding investigators who accomplish significant research and have a high potential for sustaining their productivity..
"With all the excellent research in the School of Health Professions, and campus-wide at the University of Kansas Medical Center, I am humbled and honored to be selected for this award," Johnson says. (STORY)
A paper co-authored by a pair of assistant professors in the School of Health Professions has been selected for presentation at the annual International Conference on Information Systems in December in Auckland, New Zealand.
The paper, titled "Social networking site use among caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorders," will also be published in ICIS 2014 Proceedings. The research examines the links between perceived social supports, social networking sites use and stress among caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The paper was co-authored by Murad Moqbel, MBA, Ph.D., from the Department of Health Information Management and Lauren Little, Ph.D., OTR/L, from the Department of Occupational Therapy Education. (STORY)
Three students in the Department of Occupational Therapy Education are recipients of Kitty Reed Occupational Therapy Scholarships.
Kasha Rebant received $5,000, Natalie Tarbutton and Katie Alexander each received $2,500. The scholarships were awarded in September at the University of Kansas Medical Center. (STORY)
KU Medical Center students travel to India as part of the Robinson Scholars program
You know it's never going to end well when a blog post begins, "our luggage apparently never left Chicago," but the consequences are magnified tremendously when you realize the author of the post relies on a state-of-the-art wheelchair for transportation, and his $5,000 custom ride had gone missing somewhere between the United States and India.
Most people around the University of Kansas Medical Center know Joel Strain as the affable occupational therapy student who rolls around campus in his wheelchair, engaging his classmates with his generous smile and popping the occasional wheelie for good measure. This summer, he and fellow occupational therapy student Jenna Schulte traveled to Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, as part of the Robinson Scholars Program. (STORY)
A new member of the Department of Health Information Management faculty has been elected by her colleagues to serve on a national commission. Rosann M. O'Dell, D.H.Sc., MS, RHIA, CDIP, will serve a three-year term as commissioner on the American Health Information Management Association's Commission on Certification for Health Informatics and Information Management (CCHIIM).
I'm humbled and honored to be entrusted with this leadership role," says O'Dell. "I owe a great deal of gratitude to my colleagues across the country who supported my candidacy and elected me to provide leadership in the administration of certification and recertification among health information professionals." (STORY)
Two faculty members in the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition have been awarded a $50,000 Blue KC Health Outcomes Research Grant to study weight gain during pregnancy.
Assistant professors Holly Hull, Ph.D., and Jeanine Goetz, Ph.D., R.D., are the principle investigators for a study that will use group-based phone counseling and an interactive physical activity monitoring device (Gruve) to help prevent excessive weight gain during pregnancy. The other two Blue KC grant recipients are from Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics. (STORY)
Professor Holly Storkel, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing and co-director of the Intercampus Program in Communicative Disorders, has been named a fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
"I am honored to be recognized by my colleagues for my contributions to the field and to join a strong group of faculty, including many from the Intercampus Program in Communicative Disorders, who have received this award," Storkel says. (STORY)
Two students from the School of Health Professions are the recipients of scholarships from the Visiting Nurse Association of Kansas City.
Virginia Rogers and Jean Ruzzin were selected to receive $3,000 scholarships from the Visiting Nurse Association along with four students from the School of Nursing. The nursing students included Andrea Leach, Jacqueline Meirink, Michael Rogers and Brian Soria. (STORY)
Catherine Siengsukon, PT, Ph.D., is the recipient of the 2014 Rising Star Award given by the Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS) at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
The Rising Star Award is given each year to recognize and promote the accomplishments of women faculty and non-faculty members that otherwise might go unnoticed or overlooked. The award is open to all women faculty or non-faculty members at the level of assistant professor of the equivalent. Siengsukon was nominated by Lisa Stehno-Bittel, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. (STORY)
Anna Mattlage receives American Heart Association fellowship
Anna Mattlage, a doctoral degree candidate in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, has received a pre-doctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association.
The two-year fellowship covers the cost of a full graduate research assistant stipend along with an allowance for project support. The AHA fellowship will support Mattlage's dissertation research project, which is aimed at understanding the biomarkers of neuroprotection following an acute stroke.
"Receiving the AHA pre-doctoral fellowship is a huge honor," Mattlage said. "I would like to thank all the people who have supported me in this pursuit. Receiving the AHA pre-doctoral fellowship will financially support my experiments, as well as allow me more time to dedicate to my research." (STORY)
Billinger authors Heart Association statement about importance of exercise for stroke victims
Regular exercise should be a key component of the post-stroke prescription, according to a scientific statement released by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA).
The statement in the May 20 edition of the American Heart Association's journal Stroke says exercise is a valuable yet underused care component after a person suffers a stroke. The statement suggests survivors should exercise from 20 to 60 minutes at least three days a week to prevent physical deconditioning but cautions some people should limit workouts to 10- to 15-minute bouts of moderate exertion.
"There is strong evidence that physical activity and exercise after stroke can improve cardiovascular fitness, walking ability and upper arm strength," says Sandra Billinger, PT, Ph.D., the paper's lead author and director of the University of Kansas Medical Center's REACH Laboratory. (STORY)
Jeannine Goetz, Ph.D., RD, LD, was named the Stata Norton Distinguished Teacher for 2014. The award was presented during the School of Health Professions Student Recognition Ceremony on May 17 at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. Students and faculty in the School of Health Professions vote to determine who will receive the award. Faculty members must demonstrate excellence in teaching and have made an outstanding contribution to their profession to be considered.
"It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by students for doing something I truly love," says Goetz, who joined the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition faculty in 2009. (STORY)
Dory Sabata garners KU Excellence in Service Learning Award
Dory Sabata, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy Education, has been awarded the 2014 Excellence in Service Learning Award.
Each year, the Center for Civic and Social Responsibility on the Lawrence campus honors one faculty member, one student and a community partner with the honor. The faculty recipient must implement service learning in a way that shows an impact on students and the community both inside and outside of the classroom. (STORY)
A second-year doctor of physical therapy student received the School of Health Professions Citation Award at the 2014 International Health Electives Showcase.
Laura Webb spent a seven-week clinical rotation in Costa Rica earlier this year. Webb, who is a graduate of Shawnee Mission East and the University of Kansas, says her primary goals on the trip were to improve her Spanish-speaking abilities and to broaden her knowledge about the way physical therapy is practiced throughout the world.
Webb traveled to Costa Rica from Jan. 2 to Feb. 19, sharing time between Heredia and San Jose.
Winners were also selected from the schools of medicine and nursing. Matthew Farley, who spent time in New Zealand, received the School of Medicine honor. And Kayla Benson, who spent time in India, was the School of Nursing winner.
All three winners presented their projects during the 2014 International Health Electives Showcase on April 28 at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Zaid Mansour earns SHP medal at Student Research Forum
Research exploring changes in brain function for patients with lower back pain has earned Zaid Mansour the top medal in the School of Health Professions at the 2014 Student Research Forum.
The medal was presented during a banquet on April 3 at The Foundation in Kansas City, Mo., as part of the three-day Student Research Forum at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The award was one of several presented by the schools of Health Professions, Medicine and Nursing at the University of Kansas Medical Center. (Story)
The Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science swept the Scientific Inquiry Awards at the Kansas Physical Therapy Association (KPTA) spring conference on April 5-6 in Wichita.
Associate professor Patricia Kluding, PT, Ph.D., was selected by the KPTA Research Committee to receive the best platform presentation award. Mayis Aldughmi, a doctoral student in rehabilitation science, received the best poster award. And Sara Nelson was awarded the of best entry-level student presentation.
Assistant professor Steve Jernigan, PT, Ph.D., was appointed as the new chair of the Research Committee by the KPTA Board of Directors.
Two alumni and a faculty member from the School of Health Professions have been selected to receive 2014 Alumni Awards during Alumni Weekend.
The awards are presented annually to leaders, researchers, experts and mentors who give to their communities and the health care professions. The awards will be presented to the honorees during Alumni Reunion Weekend, Oct. 10-11.
Complete list of 2014 Alumni Award winners
The Early Career Achievement in Health Professions Alumnus Honor will go to Muhammad Al-Jarrah, associate professor of physical therapy at Fatima College of Health Sciences in the United Arab Emirates. Al-Jarrah, who earned his master of science in physical therapy degree from KU in 2004 and his doctorate in 2006, will present the 2014 Jessie Ball Lecture duirng Alumni Weekend.
Patricia Kluding, associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, has been named the Honorary Health Professions Alumna. Kluding has been a member of the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science since 2003.
Cynthia Kay Thompson, the Ralph and Jean Sundin Professor of Communication Sciences at Northwestern University, has been selected as the Distinguished Health Professions Alumna. Thompson received a doctorate in speech and language pathology from KU in 1983.
Lauren Little earns Trail Blazer Award
An assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy Education has received a Frontiers Trail Blazer Award.
Lauren Little, Ph.D., is collaborating with Cary Savage, director of the Center for Health Behavior Neuroscience, on a project titled, “Neural Mechanisms of Gustatory Processing in Autism.” The study uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look at the differences between how adolescents with autism spectrum disorders process images of food versus adolescents with typical development.
Little says they are also looking at how behavioral responses to sensory stimuli align with neural responses.
Little came to the KU Department of Occupational Therapy last July after doing her post-doctorate work at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where she received her doctorate in 2012. Little received her master’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Frontiers awards up to $5,000 to investigators to support clinical and translational research.
Jason Rucker, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, has had little trouble keeping busy the past few weeks.
Rucker, a member of the Georgia Holland Health Exercise and Aging Laboratory, was the recipient of the Neurology Section's Post-Professional Student Research Award at the annual Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association in early February in Las Vegas. The neurology section was one of the largest with more than 200 abstracts submitted for poster and platform presentations.
In addition to having his work selected as the best abstract by a post-professional student, Rucker also earned a prestigious spot on the platform at the conference for his presentation on Feb. 5.
"It's really a tremendous honor to receive this award and be given the opportunity to present my research on the national stage," Rucker says. "Along with receiving an honors designation at my (dissertation) defense, this certainly helped validate all of the time and effort that went into my dissertation."
On Jan. 30, Rucker successfully defended his dissertation, "Multi-tasking, Executive Function and Functional Abilities in Older Adults with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus," with honors. Rucker received his Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology from Kansas State University and his Master of Science degree in physical therapy in 2002 from the University of Kansas.
"In addition to continuing in my faculty role as an instructor and clinician, I'd really like to use my dissertation work as a stepping stone to expand my research interests," Rucker says. "I'm very interested in exploring the relationship between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, and examining how physical activity and exercise influence multi-tasking and other cognitive functions in these and other populations."
Three members of the School of Health Professions are the principle investigators on projects awarded pilot grants by Frontiers: The Heartland Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.
The 2014 Pilot and Collaborative Studies recipients will each receive $20,000 to fund beginning-stage research projects. Frontiers, which partnered with organizations and units to provide the funding, made the announcement in early February. (Full listing of 2014 Frontiers grants)
Jeanine Goetz, an assistant professor in the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, received funding from Frontiers and the KU Medical Center Research Institute for her work titled, "Sensible Eating: A Food Security Enhancement Intervention Tailored to Improve Diet Quality and Reduce Weight Fluctuations Among Food Insecure Individuals."
Jill Hamilton-Reeves, an assistant professor in the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, received funding from Frontiers for her work titled, "Caloric Restriction to Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk."
Frontiers funded research by Jeff Searl, associate professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Education. His work is titled, "Articulatory Contact Pressure During Speech by Individuals with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis."
Jeff Radel, an associate professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy Education, was part of a research team that also received funding. Michael Rippee, M.D., is the principle investigator on a project titled, "Evaluating Magnetic Resource Spectroscopy (MRS) as an Aid in Predicting Recovery from Persistent Post-Concussion Symptoms," that is being funded by Frontiers.
Jessie M. Huisinga, an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science and a senior scientist at the Landon Center on Aging, has been awarded a research grant by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Huisinga's research − titled "Identification of Gait and Balance Deficits in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis Using Wireless Sensors" — targets the lack of accurate, portable ways of measuring walking and balance for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Huisinga plans to use wireless sensors to determine the most sensitive measures for detecting walking and balance deficits and abnormal postural responses associated with the disease.
In order to treat people with MS, Huisinga says, it is important to have assessment tools that are valid, reliable and specific to the patients so that researchers and clinicians can measure what is wrong and whether the treatments are effective. The outcome measures will be tested over an 18-month period to determine how sensitive the measures are in gauging changes in mobility and balance in persons with MS. If successful, the study's findings will have implications for the development of treatments for walking and balance problems in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Huisinga has worked at the University of Kansas Medical Center since March 2012.
A clinical instructor working with the departments of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science at both the University of Kansas and Rockhurst University has been awarded the 2013 Kathy Johnson Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award.
Martin Dolphino, DPT, OCS, CMPT, has worked with KU's Department of Physical Therapy for more than 10 years as a clinical instructor and guest lecturer. Dolphino serves as a mentor to many in the field of physical therapy. As part of his teaching responsibilities, Dolphino spends six months each year with six doctor of physical therapy students from KU and another six months with students from Rockhurst University. (More)
Two master's degree students have received 2014 Kathlyn "Kitty" Reed Occupational Therapy Scholarships.
Elizabeth Markowitz, third-year master of occupational therapy (MOT) student, and Anna Keeney, second-year MOT student, each received $5,000 awards during a presentation in January at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Both students have 4.0 grade point averages and are involved in multiple community and student activities.
"These two students exemplified the criteria of outstanding occupational therapy graduate student to the faculty who make these choices," says Winnie Dunn, professor and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy Education.
Markowitz grew up in Overland Park, Kan., attended Shawnee Mission South High School and earned a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Texas-Arlington. She moved back to Kansas upon graduation to fulfill a lifelong dream of being a Jayhawk and says she has found her passion as an occupational therapist.
"The Kitty Reed Scholarship takes a huge load off financially, but mostly it reminds me that all the sweat was worth it – I am going to be an occupational therapist," Markowitz says. "Thank you, Kitty, for this amazing support and encouragement!" (More)
KU speech-language pathology student brings interventions to son, Navajo and Acoma tribes. Story at ASHA.org