April 16, 2013
By Greg Peters, Communications Manager, KU School of Health Professions
Research into the role that multitasking may play in falls among older adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus has earned Jason Rucker, PT, the first place overall medal in School of Health Professions at the 2013 Student Research Forum.
The medal, which was presented during the Forum's banquet on April 5 at Homestead Country Club in Prairie Village, Kan., was among several recognitions given by the schools of Health Professions, Medicine and Nursing and their respective departments at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
"It's humbling to know that established researchers and faculty at KU Medical Center -- people that I've been looking up to ever since I started working on my Ph.D. -- would select my presentation for this award," Rucker said. "The caliber of student research being done at KU Medical Center is pretty amazing, and it's really an honor to be recognized as contributing to that."
Rucker's research explored whether older adults with diabetes exhibited decreased levels of speed and stability while taking part in a test that required participants to remember a list of numbers as they walked on a set path. His findings suggest that those with type 2 diabetes become increasingly unstable when attempting to multitask while walking, a factor that might contribute to falls among this population. Serving as mentor on this project was Patricia M. Kluding, PT, Ph.D., associate professor in the KU Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science.
In addition to his overall school award, Rucker took home first place in the Clinical Science III session of specific research topics and the department's award for Outstanding Presentation in Rehabilitation Science Research. See the complete list of award winners.
Having earned his master's degree in physical therapy from the University of Kansas in 2002, Rucker returned to KU to serve as clinical instructor with the department and teaches about orthopedic surgical conditions, fracture care and management, treatment of rheumatic diseases, and orthotics and prosthetics. He also assists with the neurologic rehabilitation and physical therapy intervention courses.
Rucker began work on his doctorate in rehabilitation science at KU Medical Center in 2007 and plans to defend his dissertation this summer. His work received a University of Kansas Biomedical Research Training Program award last year, which he said has been vital in expanding the project's scope and moving it toward completion.
Rucker has been a practicing physical therapist in the Kansas City area since 2002. He is currently an outpatient physical therapist for the KU HeathPartners' Silver City Health Center and assists with the Multi-Disciplinary Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Clinic at KU Medical Center.
The University of Kansas School of Health Professions is located on the KU Medical Center campus in Kansas City, Kan., and offers more than 25 academic programs in health care fields. The School is recognized for its highly ranked educational programs as well as the significant research and clinical service it provides in support of the local community and the State of Kansas.