Tools for Living

Reprinted from PN July 2009

Grants from the PVA Education Foundation improve health, independence, and quality of life for people with SCI/D.

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The PVA Education Foundation has announced its 2009 grant awardees. The Foundation is committed to supporting the development of tools that foster consumer education and professional development regarding the onset, care, and quality of life following spinal-cord injury/disease (SCI/D).

Claire Kalpakjian, PhD (left), is assistant professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan. Susan L. Murph, ScD, is also an assistant professor there, as well as a research health science specialist at the VA Ann Arbor Health Care System.
On April 17, the PVA Education Foundation Board of Directors met in Washington, D.C., to finalize the 2009 funding cycle. Of 21 applications, 7 new grants were awarded, totaling $252,090 in funding.

One of the grants awarded was to the Health Professionals Research Training (HPRT) Program at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. Claire Kalpakjian, PhD, is assistant professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, at the University of Michigan.

Clinicians who work with patients every day are the most knowledgeable about what interventions may or may not be feasible for implementation and which outcomes are most meaningful for patients and their families. They develop relationships with patients that cannot be easily duplicated by outside researchers. Simply put, clinicians are the "foot soldiers" of clinical research; their perspective on the ground is unparalleled.

However, a number of barriers exist for clinicians interested in conducting their own clinical research. Some of the most important are a lack of formal training and their eligibility for most funding mechanisms at institutional and federal levels.

In order to foster the contribution of clinicians to evidence-based practice, the HPRT Program was developed to provide didactic, experiential, and mentored research training for practicing clinicians. This program teaches trainees how to design a research project, write a grant application, participate in peer review, conduct research (if funded), present findings to local and national professional audiences, and write manuscripts for peer review. This PVA Education Foundation award will support SCI/D clinicians as trainees in this program and annually fund up to two clinical research projects, led by these clinicians.

Read about the other six grants awarded, in the July issue of PN.


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