John Scholz, right, professor of physical therapy, has been elected a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association, the fourth UD faculty member to be so honored in the past seven years. He is shown working with Josh Kuhl, an Honors Program student in biological sciences and psychology and a Peter White Fellow.

Fourth Fellow

Physical therapy professor receives Catherine Worthingham Award

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10:17 a.m., July 7, 2011--John Scholz, professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Delaware, has been elected a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).  He is the fourth UD professor to achieve this status, the APTA’s highest honor, in the past seven years.

Scholz’s research is directed toward understanding the control and coordination of movement in healthy people as well as in patients with movement dysfunction, particularly individuals with stroke. His work examines how the brain controls functional movements, motor learning and movement coordination, and he has developed novel treatment approaches that combine robotics, electrical stimulation and motor learning to help stroke survivors recover lost function.

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Pioneering work cited

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The APTA cited Scholz as “a highly regarded movement scientist renowned for his ability to take complex theoretical concepts of motor control and apply them to the understanding and treatment of neurologic problems.”

The association also credited him with developing a classic, frequently cited paper on application of the concepts of dynamical systems theory—an area of applied mathematics used to describe the behavior of complex systems—to interventions for physical therapy.

A licensed physical therapist in Delaware and Pennsylvania, Scholz earned his doctorate in experimental psychology and motor control at the University of Connecticut. He joined the UD faculty in 1988.

Three other UD faculty members—Stuart Binder-Macleod, Lynn Snyder-Mackler and Irene Davis—have been elected Catherine Worthingham Fellows since 2003.

“This is truly a tribute to the quality of our PT program that four of our faculty have been recognized with this prestigious award during the past several years,” said Kathleen Matt, dean of the College of Health Sciences. “Our faculty are making major contributions through patient-focused research that is immediately translated into practice at our clinics.”

About the award

Catherine Worthingham was a change agent who was effective, respectful and honest, and motivated others to make an impact within the physical therapy profession. She was also a visionary who demonstrated leadership across the domains of advocacy, education, practice and research.

The purpose of the Catherine Worthingham Fellow designation (FAPTA) is to honor Worthingham and inspire all physical therapists to attain the high level of professional excellence and impact in terms of advancing the profession she exemplified.

The FAPTA designation is the highest honor among APTA’s membership categories.

Criteria for selection include demonstrated excellence in advocacy, education, practice, or research; national recognition by APTA members and leaders outside the physical therapy profession; and frequent and sustained contributions over a period of at least 15 years.

Article by Diane Kukich

Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson

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