Category: Physical Therapy

Annual CORRT Conference

Annual CORRT Conference

January 06, 2022 Written by Colin Heffinger | Photo by Ashley Barnas

On October 10 through 12, the University of Delaware hosted the annual Comprehensive Opportunities in Rehabilitation Research Training (CORRT) Conference in the Courtyard by Marriott Newark.

The CORRT Conference is a three-day event primarily focused on providing the opportunity for junior faculty to discuss best practices and mentorship opportunities with senior investigators. These scholars present their research to senior faculty in the interest of acquiring guidance and mentorship for progression of their work. Additionally, there are various intervals set aside for one-on-one consultations and networking.

Darcy Reisman, Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, attended the CORRT Conference and serves as the role of a mentor within the CORRT Program. Reisman emphasized how the conference provides “space to discuss new opportunities to generate science” in the realm of physical therapy.  

Hyosub Kim, Assistant Professor in Physical Therapy and Principal Investigator of the Sensorimotor Learning Lab, has research interests in improving the understanding of how humans acquire, modify, and retain motor skills. He presented his research exploring how motor learning skills are impaired by Parkinson’s Disease. Using virtual reality technology as well as robotics, Kim aims to determine how the disease impacts movement speed and accuracy, as well as the ability to learn new motor skills. Reisman serves as Kim’s primary mentor throughout the CORRT Program.

Kim reflected on the importance of consulting with Reisman throughout his research. “Darcy has provided critical guidance for navigating the process of being a junior faculty member. She has assisted me in learning how to frame my research and put it into broader context for a variety of audiences.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has provided funding for the CORRT Program over the past 15 years. This funding cycle will end in August/September of 2022. Michael Mueller, a professor of physical therapy at Washington University, has served as the principal investigator for the CORRT Program since it began.  

The goals of the CORRT program focused on building a cadre of NIH-funded independent investigators from the disciplines of physical therapy and occupational therapy. As the program moves forward, there is a clear need to diversify the pipeline of researchers as a natural outgrowth.

Gregory Hicks, professor from the Department of Physical Therapy at UD, has served on the CORRT Program since its inception. He is currently focusing on shaping the direction of the program with a new grant opportunity.

“The new grant is a Research Education grant from the NIH,” Hicks said. “This grant will focus on creating a critical mass of diverse clinician-scientists in rehabilitation research by establishing pathways for future scientists through outreach, training, and structured support. We would utilize the well-established CORRT network that has been built over the past 15 years to help stand up this new program. If funded, this grant would have its own annual workshop.”

Though this funding cycle for the CORRT Program ends in September, there are plans to host an annual CORRT Conference in the summer. The CORRT Program itself continues to operate throughout this time, creating meaningful opportunities for the growth of junior faculty.

“The CORRT Program has been instrumental in developing the careers of many burgeoning scientists in physical and occupational therapy,” Hicks stated. “I was in the first class of scholars 15 years ago, and the support from CORRT made a tremendous difference in my career growth. Even as an alumni, who is now a part of the Executive Committee for the program, I still find tremendous value in the discussions about science that we are able to have with this extremely talented group of scientists upon every point along the career trajectory.”

About the CORRT Program

The Comprehensive Opportunities in Rehabilitation and Research Training (CORRT) Program is a collaboration between eight universities including University of Delaware, University of Pittsburgh, Washington University School of Medicine and five partnering institutions. The program has been funded by the National Institute of Health at the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research. The focus of this collaboration is to explore topics essential to the growth of diversifying rehabilitation interests. Scholars selected in this program will spend the first two years at one of the eight institutions, and the last three at their home institution.

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