Looking Toward the Future...

Lusardi, Michelle M. PT, DPT, PhD

Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1519/JPT.0b013e31825168df
Author Information

The author declares no conflict of interest.

The editorial team has just returned from the exciting, inspiring 2012 APTA Combined Sections Meeting in the windy city, Chicago, Illinois. The Section on Geriatrics was a visible and energetic presence during the 3-day conference, beginning with a breakfast celebration recognizing 143 newly geriatric clinical specialists, through cutting-edge, clinically applicable programming and seminars, sharing of hot-off the press evidence to guide practice through platform and poster presentations, to the nuts and bolts of committee meetings that include efforts to develop resources for effective outcome measurement, clinical practice guidelines, and planning of regional programming to meet educational needs of members. This editor and her editorial and review teams also salute John O. Barr, PT, PhD, who completed his very effective second term as the President of the Section at the conclusion of the members' meeting. Dr Barr has been incredibly supportive of efforts to “grow” the Journal of Geriatric Rehabilitation during my editorship, and I am very grateful for the trust and encouragement that he has provided. We look forward to working with Bill Staples, PT, DPT, DSc, GCS, CEEAA, the incoming Section President, as he assumes the helm!

One of the most intriguing programs that this editor attended during CSM was the Anne Shumway-Cook Lecture titled “Opportunities and Challenges of Translating Neurorehabilitation Research Into Practice,” presented by Carolee Winstein, PT, PhD, on the first morning of CSM. Dr Winstein challenged us to consider a major shift in paradigm as we consider the “evidence” that is available to us from clinical research studies. She pointedly asks us to turn the “does it work” question (yes or no) into questions focused on how, why, under what circumstances, and for whom an intervention might work. She challenges us to learn much more about the clinometric characteristics of the measures we use to assess outcome (eg, minimal detectable difference, minimal clinically important difference) and to consider characteristics of the person (eg, a psychological need to be valued, to be able to contribute, to be respected, to be perceived as capable) and the role that this plays. Dr Winstein described growing evidence that intensity of intervention, rather than type of intervention, is one of the key ingredients for successful rehabilitation. She also challenged us to incorporate efforts to support self-determined behavior, the development of self-perceived competence, and social relatedness into physical therapy interventions as powerful contributors to recovery of function and determinants of efficacy. To accomplish this, Dr Winstein encourages us to act using tenets of effective motor learning: setting appropriate, challenging, and meaningful goals in collaboration with the individuals we care for; to select meaningful tasks at a level of difficulty that challenges the individual, to provide performance feedback so that the individual understands how he or she is moving toward the functional goals, and to facilitate the individual's problem solving, engagement, and active participation in the process. The work of Dobkin et al (International randomized clinical trial, stroke inpatient rehabilitation with reinforcement of walking speed (SIRROWS) improves outcomes. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2010;24:235, DOI 10.117/1545968309357558) clearly demonstrates the power of this approach.

During CSM, a group of Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy (JGPT) editors, authors, reviewers, and readers/clinicians gathered to reflect on what the journal has accomplished over the last 5 years, and where we'd like to see the journal go in the future. The outcome of an intense and creative day of strategic planning was delineation of 5 focus areas for the journal, and the development of a set of strategies to move the journal forward in the year ahead. These include the following:

* enhancing editorial excellence in the daily work of the journal, including facilitating transition from current to future editor of the JGPT;

* providing avenues for effective reviewer development and capabilities;

* encouraging established authors/researchers and mentoring emerging authors/researchers to use the journal as a way to disseminate their work;

* exploring opportunities for journal development, such as partnerships with other professional societies, increased visibility, and increased rigor in the review process; and

* enhancing the impact and utility of the journal to be an effective “translator” of evidence to guide clinical practice with aging adults.

The timing of this strategic planning meeting was purposeful: it allows us to reflectively “take stock” of where the journal is in its development at this point in time, and to begin to shape a future that includes “succession planning” in Journal leadership. I am proud that the goals we set for the journal in 2007 as I assumed editorship have, to a large extent, been achieved: we have moved from 3 to 4 issues per year; seen a doubling in the number of submissions, both national and international; increased the size and expertise of the reviewers' team; and with our move to Wolters Kluwer/LWW as the publisher, improved the underlying mechanism for submission and review process, and created a mechanism for “published ahead of print” for accepted manuscripts. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as the editor, and it is with mixed feelings that I prepare to complete my “term” at the end of this calendar year. The search for the next editor will begin shortly; details about submitting an application will be posted on both the JGPT Web site (www.jgpt.org) and the Section on Geriatric Web site (www.geriatricspt.org). If you have questions about the role of the editor or may be interested in applying for the position, feel free to contact me at lusardim@sacredheart.edu.

Michelle M. Lusardi

© 2012 Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy, APTA