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Announcing ACAPT Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for DPTs Task Force

Based on a proposal from the Research Intensive Programs in Physical Therapy (RIPPT), the ACAPT Board of Directors is forming a task force to consider a proposal to develop a funding mechanism for DPT graduates to pursue postdoctoral research training.  The expectation would be 2 or more years of full time research training in a federally funded research laboratory.  This would be an alternative route for a research-based academic career, without the PhD.  This has long been a route followed by MDs who become medical school faculty.  This is not meant to replace the PhD, but could serve as one part of a multipronged approach to address the shortage of research-trained faculty in physical therapy.
The purpose of this announcement is to seek interested volunteers for this task force.  The work product will be a recommendation to the ACAPT Board of Directors.
In many universities, faculty qualifications often specify something like the following: “A PhD or equivalent, or the terminal degree in the profession.”  This allows physicians to be faculty in medical schools, lawyers to be faculty in law schools, etc.  Just as the initial entry degree in these professions is not sufficient to support success in the academy, neither is the DPT.  However, fellowships after the entry level degree are a common route for medicine, and MD trained faculty with this type of fellowship training are just as successful in research, including NIH funding, as those trained with the MD/PhD.  Recent conversations with NIH have indicated an interest in allowing this for DPTs, but the NIH would like to see some evidence that such a mechanism could work for DPT trained physical therapists before approving training grants.


The purpose of this task force is to explore the feasibility of developing a model program for research training of DPT graduates through a postdoctoral fellowship utilizing the NIFTI mechanism of the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research (F4PTR).  The idea would be for ACAPT and other interested parties to fund one or two NIFTI fellowships dedicated to training DPT graduates in a two-year fellowship for research training.  The expectation would be for this training to be mentored by successful physical therapy scientists who have experience and success with NIH funded work and in training PhD students and postdoctoral fellows who have gone on to succeed in faculty positions with heavy research demands.



The goal is for the task force to present its work to the ACAPT board at NEXT in June, 2019.  Rick Segal, PT, PhD, FAPTA has agreed to chair this task force.  We invite ACAPT members according to the list below.

1. Chair – Rick Segal, PT, PhD, FAPTA
2. ACAPT Liaison – John Buford, PT, PhD
3. Member representing F4PTR Board of Trustees
4. Member representing F4PTR Scientific Review Committee
5. Member representing RIPPT Consortium of ACAPT
6. Member representing a member program likely to serve as a training site for this type of NIFTI fellow
7. Member representing a member program likely to hire individuals trained through this mechanism
8. One former NIFTI funding recipient presently in a faculty position with substantial research responsibilities
9. Ex Officio: Dario Dieguez, SRO, F4PTR
10. Ex Officio: Sandy Brooks, ACAPT
A. Determine funding requirements and potential sources for funding this type of fellowship
B. Develop a set of requirements consistent with F4PTR NIFTI requirements for this mechanism
C. Present recommendations for funding to ACAPT Board of Directors
D. Present recommendation for program to F4PTR Board of Trustees


Work Plan

The Task Force will conduct its work by conference call.



The Task Force will meet monthly. Minutes from each conference call will be provided to the ACAPT Board of Directors and a final report will be presented by NEXT 2019.



$1,500 has been approved in the ACAPT budget to support the work of the Task Force.  To access these funds, the task force must submit a budget request specifying how the funds will be used to accomplish the work of the task force.


Application: Please respond to this application by March 27


Celebrating APTA's Centennial



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