Division News & Events

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OPTIMUM is the official newsletter magazine of the Division of Physical Therapy at the University of Minnesota, and is made possible through the generous support of our donors. It is produced bi-annually for our alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends.

2016-2017 Issue
2015-2016 Issue
2014-2015 Issue

18th Annual Jack Allison Memorial Lecture

"Bench to Bedside: Exercise-Induced Neuroplasticity in Parkinson’s Disease"
Saturday, November 18, 2017
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
The Commons Hotel, 615 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis

Presented by:
Beth Fisher, PhD, PT, FAPTA
Professor of Clinical Physical Therapy in the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at the University of Southern California

The brain’s capacity for recovery from damage is far greater than previously recognized. It is now understood that neuroplasticity can be facilitated through experience-dependent processes including environmental enrichment, exercise, forced-use, and complex skills training. Most of our understanding of this recovery, termed experience-dependent plasticity, is derived from animal models of stroke and spinal cord injury, but there is now evidence that the same phenomenon occurs in animal models of Parkinson's disease (PD).

Most PD physical intervention studies in the past have promoted compensation and training individuals with PD to use compensatory strategies to achieve functional outcomes. This approach to intervention stems from the assumption that in the case of a neurodegenerative process as exists in PD, there is no potential for recovery. A significant challenge to this assumption has come with the demonstration of experience-dependent behavioral recovery and neuroplasticity in animals with basal ganglia injury (model of PD) that undergo intensive treadmill exercise or forced-use of the affected limb. An indication that this phenomenon of neuroplasticity and recovery extends to humans with PD has come with recent intervention studies. Either the reduced progression or recovery from basal ganglia dysfunction through experience-dependent processes (i.e., exercise) will identify a new therapeutic modality for treatment of PD.

Online registration now open!  https://www.tickets.umn.edu/umato/online/article/PTJAL

Ruen Elected to MNPTA Board of Directors

Congratulations to Jacque Ruen, PT, DPT, OCS, for her election to the MNPTA Board of Directors. She will serve a three year term in which she will support committee work by the organization and work towards the goals of the Association's strategic plan. Thanks to Jacque for representing the profession and our Program in this role and congratulations!

Excerpt from the Clinical Neurosciences Center's BRAIN MATTERS Newsletter

Amanda LaLonde, PT, DPT, successfully obtained her Geriatric Clinical Specialist Certification. The specialist certification program provides formal recognition for physical therapists with advanced clinical knowledge, experience, and skills in a special area of practice. There are currently 48 Geriatric Clinical Specialists in MN, two among the Rehab Medicine faculty.

Division of Physical Therapy Awarded by CASE for 75th Anniversary Celebration

CASE logoWashington, D.C. — The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) has named the Division of Physical Therapy at the University of Minnesota a Bronze award winner of its 2017 Circle of Excellence awards program. The Division of Physical Therapy at the University of Minnesota was recognized for its 75th Anniversary and All-Class Reunion Weekend.

A panel of experts selected the institution’s entry in the Special Events - Multi-Day category. In 2017, more than 715 higher education institutions, independent schools and nonprofits worldwide submitted more than 3,364 entries for consideration in nearly 100 categories. Judges gave 366 awards: 118 bronze; 125 silver, 107 gold and 16 grand gold.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is one of the largest international associations of education institutions, serving more than 3,670 universities, colleges, schools and related organizations in more than 82 countries. CASE is the leading resource for professional development, information and standards in the fields of education fundraising, communications, marketing and alumni relations.

Excerpts from the Clinical Neurosciences Center's BRAIN MATTERS Newsletter

Bernadette Gillick, PhD, MS, PT, joins President Kaler at a press conference to share the impact of MnDRIVE supported research. YouTube Video

Ann Van de Winckel, PhD, PT's Clinical Assessment Lab, part of the Brain Plasticity Lab at the University of Minnesota. YouTube Video

Congratulations to Delaney Bryan and Dr. LaLonde

We are delighted to announce that Delaney Bryan from the Class of 2019 and Dr. Amanda La Londe have received special awards from the University's Office of Equity and Diversity. Delaney will be receiving the LGBTQIA Breaking the Silence Award, which recognizes employees, students, departments, and groups demonstrating courage in the face of discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression, and/or sexual orientation by improving climate through specific departments or initiatives impacting gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and ally (GLBTA) people at the University of Minnesota. Dr. La Londe will be receiving the Leadership & Service award, which recognizes U of M employees, students, departments, and groups who go above & beyond in their roles at the U of M and show a strong demonstrated commitment to LGBTQIA social justice and/or an increase in knowledge and awareness around LGBTQIA topics & identities. They will receive these awards at the annual Lavender Celebration & Awards Ceremony that will occur this year on May 10th from 6:00pm-8:00pm in Coffman Union's Mississippi room. The Division of Physical Therapy is very proud of both of you for your noble, humanitarian efforts.

DPT Student awarded MNPTA Outstanding Student Award

Josh Greensweig (Class of 2017) is the University of Minnesota recipient of the Minnesota State APTA Outstanding Student Award. This is a prestigious award that one student from each of the Programs in Minnesota receives each year. It was determined by faculty based on academics, clinical performance and leadership. He will receive this award at the upcoming State APTA Spring Conference. Way to go, Josh!

Bernadette Gillick Awarded Prestigious APT Award

Faculty Member Bernadette Gillick, PhD, MSPT, PT will be awarded the prestigious Eugene Michels Outstanding New Investigator Award from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). This national award recognizes outstanding contributions to research related to the physical therapy profession. Only one or two awardees are honored each year.  Awardees must be within 10 years of having received their terminal doctoral degree. Dr. Gillick is leading research efforts in non-invasive brain stimulation and neuroplasticity interventions applied to pediatric populations. Dr. Gillick will be honored at the NEXT conference of the APTA in June. Congratulations to Dr. Gillick on this well deserved award!

DPT Student awarded MNPTA Scholarship

Briana Lauer (second-year student) is one of four recipients of the MNPTA 2017 Federal Advocacy Forum Student scholarship winners.  She submitted an essay on the importance of federal advocacy in rehabilitation.  Congratulations, Briana!

Engineering and Medicine (IEM) Seed Grant Awarded

Faculty members Paula Ludewig, PhD, PT, Arin Ellingson, PhD, and Ward Glasoe, PhD, PT, ATC and Professor Dan Keefe, PhD, from the Department of Compter Science and Engineering succeeded in obtaining an Institue for Engineering and Medicine (IEM) Seed Grant Program award ($75,000) to further develop their translational Musculoskeletal Group.

First Fee-for-Service tTMS Clinic for Hand Recovery in Stroke

The U of M Division of Physical Therapy has opened what is believed to be the first private-pay clinical service involving repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to promote hand recovery following stroke.  PT faculty have been researching rTMS for 10 years.  Results have been mixed, similar to published findings elsewhere, such that some people benefit and some do not.  But a sufficient number of patients in earlier trials have expressed a desire to continue receiving rTMS that faculty have explored the ethics and feasibility of offering rTMS combined with physical therapy as a private-pay clinical service.  The U of M Medical School and University of Minnesota Physicians have approved this initiative and it is now operating out of the Clinics and Surgery Center on the U of M campus.  Physician referral is required and U of M neurologists and physiatrists are actively referring adult patients with stroke, but the service is open to outside referrals.  Also, it is likely that the service will expand to pediatrics and to other conditions such as focal dystonia in the future.  The typical regimen involves 10 daily treatments of rTMS followed by hand exercise protocols totaling 90 minutes.  For more information, please contact the PT Division office at 612-625-2177. See BROCHURE for more details. To learn how to support this effort, please click here.

Congratulations to Linda Koehler, PhD, PT, CLT-LANA

Dr. Koehler was awarded funding from the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund.  The project will provide access to lymphedema evaluation tools to multiple sites throughout Minnesota and foster a collaborative environment to implement future cancer research.  The evaluation tools have the ability to detect early onset of lymphedema which could prevent the progression and potentially reverse the onset of lymphedema.  It's a collaborative project between the Masonic Cancer Center, U of M Foundation, Fairview Rehabilitation Services, University of Minnesota Physicians, and our department/division

2017 US News and World Report Graduate School Rankings

The latest ranking of medical school graduate programs from US News and World Report puts the University of Minnesota 35th in research, 9th in primary care, 11th in family medicine, and 5th in rural care. On the list of health graduate programs, our Physical Therapy Program ranked 20th.