The following individuals were recognized by the Neurology Section at the Combined Sections Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, February 2012.
Award for Excellence in Neurologic Research: T. George Hornby, PT, PhD
The ideal candidate for the Neurology Section Research Award is an individual whose research addresses mechanistic questions regarding recovery from neurologic injury and is clinically meaningful and directly applicable to physical therapy practice. This year's recipient, Dr George Hornby, is one such researcher. George received his PhD degree from the University of Arizona and his PT degree from University of Pittsburgh and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
Dr Hornby has made a strong mark on the research and clinical community by leading a team of researchers who have produced seminal studies on the efficacy of gait rehabilitation strategies for persons post spinal cord injury (SCI) and post stroke. While Dr Hornby's CV reflects that he has been prolific in terms of his publication record and grant funding, the most impressive facts about George are best expressed by those who nominated him: In their words: “Dr. Hornby has developed novel training approaches to restoration of walking function for people post SCI and post stroke. He is at the forefront of research in the coupling of robotics and task specific training as well as the combined effects of pharmacologic agents and locomotor training.”
The last word in support of Dr Hornby's worthiness for this award comes from a former participant in his research. “I have participated in other studies ... with many different researchers and I still believe in a cure (for SCI). I am not sure that George Hornby believes in a cure, but he does believe in hope, that is what he gives, and that is powerful.”
Award for Service to the Section: Katherine J. Sullivan, PT, PhD
The Award for Service honors an individual whose contributions to the Neurology Section have been of exceptional value. Exceptional does not begin to capture the dedication and contributions of this year's recipient, Dr Katherine J. Sullivan.
Dr Sullivan has a service record to the Neurology Section that spans almost 3 decades. Beginning in the 1980s, she assumed her first role with the section as Program Chair. Since that time, she has served the section in numerous capacities: facilitating, developing, planning and leading section members on task forces, planning committees, SIGs, and as an elected official. She has been involved in leadership positions including the development of the landmark II Step and III Step conferences. In 2005, she was elected to President of the Neurology Section, a position she held for 2 terms. The Neurology Section thrived during her tenure as President, with increased membership, expansion of the Board of Directors, and increased visibility of the SIGs–-all with the goal of better serving our members.
In addition to her service contributions, Dr Sullivan is also a preeminent researcher and teacher in stroke rehabilitation and has consistently shared those results with the Neurology Section both in written form via publishing in JNPT and through numerous presentations at Combined Sections Meetings. While these major contributions are impressive, one of her nominators states, “they are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the countless hours Kathy has spent over the years on behalf of the section at conferences and meetings, on projects, phone calls, e-mails, conversations, etc. And even when not acting in any official capacity, she continues to advocate tirelessly for neurologic patients and our professional practice.”
Award for Clinical Excellence in Neurology: Janet Callahan, PT, MS, NCS
The Award for Clinical Excellence in Neurology acknowledges and honors a member of the Neurology Section who has demonstrated outstanding achievements in clinical practice. This year's recipient, Janet Callahan, exemplifies the type of clinician deserving of such an award.
Janet Callahan is a master neurologic clinician. She is a board-certified clinical specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy and currently serves as a full-time clinician at Massachusetts General Hospital in the Outpatient Department. Janet has been engaged in clinical practice for more than 30 years in a variety of practice settings. Janet is highly regarded as a clinician with incredible breadth and depth in her clinical knowledge, particularly as relates to vestibular rehabilitation and dystonia.
One of Janet's supporters wrote: “Janet's commitment to excellence in clinical practice is impressive and what colleagues, students and patients note most as they interact with her. One of Janet's gifts is her ability to mentor others through the complex decision making necessary to manage patients in a busy outpatient practice.... Her decision making is highly patient-focused, reflecting an in-depth understanding of the patient as a person, the medical conditions the patient presents with, the available evidence to support clinical decisions, and the ability to set priorities to provide the best possible care in her environment.”
Award for Clinical Excellence in Education: Susan O'Sullivan, PT, EdD
The purpose of this award is to acknowledge and honor a member of the Neurology Section whose academic neurologic educational contributions have been of exceptional value. This year's award recipient, Dr Susan O'Sullivan, is a most deserving candidate for this award.
Dr O'Sullivan's contributions to neurologic physical therapy education have been long-standing and far-reaching. She has been a member of the Neurology Section since 1967 and she has been engaged in academic education full-time since 1984. For more than 30 years, she taught the Neurological Rehabilitation courses to entry-level physical therapy students at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. During her long and notable career, she has influenced countless numbers of clinicians both directly and indirectly around the globe through her teaching and writing expertise. One of her most significant and widely known contributions to the field of physical therapy is a textbook titled Physical Rehabilitation-Assessment and Treatment, now in its 5th edition, coauthored with Thomas Schmidt, PT, PhD. This textbook is one of the most commonly used rehabilitation books in physical therapy curriculums within the United States and internationally.
Beyond all her contributions, Dr O'Sullivan's warm and caring style embodies the values of a true professional. Most people would describe her as calm, thorough, and dedicated–-holding her students to the highest of standards. One of her nominators wrote, “On a personal note, Susan has been a great mentor. She sparked my interest in neurologic physical therapy as an entry-level student, guided my transition from the clinic into academia, advised me during my dissertation work, and continues to be a source of support and counsel.”
Student Research Awards
Each year the Research Committee selects the highest-ranked studies, submitted for presentation at CSM, that were completed by a postprofessional and a professional student. The following presentations were selected for this year's award.
Post-professional student research award: “Targeting Supramaximal Strength in Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury: Time- and Intensity-Dependent Increase in Volitional Torque Generation”
Student: Christopher Thompson, DPT
Advisor: T. George Hornby, PT, PhD
Institution: University of Illinois at Chicago
Professional student research award: “Physical Activity Intensity of Inpatient Stroke Rehabilitation Is Related to Functional Outcome”
Student: Sarah Duffy, DPT
Advisor: Kathryn Zalewski, PT, PhD, MPA
Institution: University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee