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Neurology Section Research Strategic Plan*

Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy: December 2011 - Volume 35 - Issue 4 - p 202–203
doi: 10.1097/NPT.0b013e31823a2d6f

* Section members will have the opportunity to vote on the complete Neurology Section Strategic Plan at the Neurology Section Business Meeting in Chicago, IL.

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The world is enriched by the creation and application of new knowledge. In the clinical science of neurologic rehabilitation, the technology available for creating new knowledge is advancing faster than the knowledge itself. Demographics show an aging population that is logically susceptible to age-related problems that may require neurologic rehabilitation. Health care economics continues to emphasize evidence-based practice. Accordingly, the Neurology Section commits to an ambitious research agenda that advances basic and applied research and ultimately leads to enhanced quality of life in people needing neurologic rehabilitation.

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The Neurology Section will actively support the generation, dissemination, and application of knowledge, enable a collaborative community of consumers, clinicians, investigators, and other partners to enhance practice, influence policy, and improve the lives of those impacted by neurologic conditions.

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Goal 1: Develop, evaluate, and prioritize research themes in the context of change.

Objective 1: Identify workgroup to elicit feedback and refine the following proposed research themes:

  1. Examine the underlying plasticity and reorganization of the nervous system to interventions in neurologic health conditions.
  2. Develop and/or investigate the effectiveness of rehabilitation methods and optimal dosing and timing to improve health and physical function in neurologic conditions across the continuum of health and disease.
  3. Knowledge translation—Investigate the efficacy of translating findings from neurorehabilitation research to the practice of physical therapy.

Goal 2: To promote dissemination, knowledge application (T3), and evaluation of knowledge application outcomes (T4).

Objective 1: Examine dissemination and knowledge application methods to ensure effectiveness.

  1. Identify and analyze existing methods of dissemination and knowledge application.
    1. Analyze, evaluate, and promote existing dissemination mechanisms at CSM.
    2. Identify existing barriers to knowledge dissemination, application, and access.
  2. Evaluate and select methods of knowledge application and evaluation of knowledge application outcomes.
  3. Implement methods of knowledge application and evaluate methods.
    1. Establish knowledge application as a theme in Neurology Section programming.
    2. Establish criteria that require knowledge application or evaluation objectives for all Neurology programming.
    3. Develop knowledge translators.
    4. Develop mechanisms for knowledge translators to disseminate and apply knowledge.
      1. Develop mechanisms for knowledge translators to disseminate CSM highlights to chapters and districts to deliver material to the local audience.

Goal 3: Improve funding for neurologic rehabilitation research consistent with the research priorities set by the Neurology Section.

Objective 1: Foster dynamic relationships with funding agencies and advocates for neurorehabilitation research.

  1. Identify potential funders (agencies, community groups, industry, and benefactors).
  2. Identify potential advocates (APTA, members, and key players).
  3. Ensure congruency between the priorities of funding agencies and those of the Neurology Section.
  4. Increase the visibility of neurorehabilitation for heightened community awareness and value.

Objective 2: Advocate that funding entities increase funding for neurorehabilitation research (funding agencies, community groups, industry, benefactors, Foundation).

  1. Influence funding agency decisions about research priorities.
  2. Submit to the Foundation for PT and other funding agencies a listing of research priorities for the Neurology Section.

Objective 3: Educate and mentor PTs in how to access research funding.

  1. Join Section on Research for “fly-in” for research funding advocacy.
  2. Explore options for Section to fund pilot projects/travel awards related to rehabilitation research.
    1. In collaboration with the Foundation, fund an annual seed project in accordance with research priorities.
  3. Mentor and nominate individuals for leadership positions on councils involved in funding decisions.

Phase 1 translation (T1) research seeks to move a basic discovery into a candidate health application. Phase 2 translation (T2) research assesses the value of T1 application for health practice leading to the development of evidence-based guidelines. Phase 3 translation (T3) research attempts to move evidence-based guidelines into health practice, through delivery, dissemination, and diffusion research. Phase 4 translation (T4) research seeks to evaluate the “real world” health outcomes of a T1 application in practice.

* Section members will have the opportunity to vote on the complete Neurology Section Strategic Plan at the Neurology Section Business Meeting in Chicago, IL.

† Phases of translational research.1

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1. Woolf SH. The meaning of translational research and why it matters. JAMA. 2008;299:211–213.

*The following individuals participated in the development of the Neurology Section Research Strategic Plan at a focus meeting held on April 28–29, 2011, at APTA headquarters.

  • Sandy Billinger, PT, PhD
  • Jim Carey, PT, PhD
  • Robin Corey, PT, MSPT
  • Rebecca Craik, PT, PhD, FAPTA
  • Judy Deutsch, PT, PhD
  • Marc Goldstein, EdD
  • Kim Gottshall, PT, PhD
  • Sheryl Flynn, PT, PhD
  • Stacy Fritz, PT, PhD
  • Teresa Jacobson Kimberley, PT, PhD (Neurology Section, Director of Research)
  • Laurie King, PT, PhD
  • Deborah Larsen, PT, PhD
  • Vicki Mercer, PT, PhD
  • Michelle Peterson, PT, DPT, NCS
  • Darcy Reisman, PT, PhD
  • Patrick Sparto, PT, PhD
  • Scott Stackhouse, PT, PhD
  • Laurie Stratton, PT, MSPT, NCS
  • Jane Sullivan, PT, DHS
  • Rachel Tappan, PT, MPT, NCS
  • Michele Thorman, PT, DPT, MBA (moderator)
  • Joanne Wagner, PT, PhD
  • Susan Whitney, PT, PhD, NCS, FAPTA
© 2011 Neurology Section, APTA