Careers PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences

The MGH Institute of Health Professions interdisciplinary PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program is primarily designed to train clinicians that are already professionally certified/licensed in a field rehabilitation discipline to conduct cutting-edge clinical research that will improve the quality and effectiveness of rehabilitation services. The program does not prepare students for additional licensure.

Graduates of the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program will be prepared as researchers, educators, and leaders in the field of rehabilitation science, who will work in academic institutions, service delivery systems (hospitals, public schools, etc.), government agencies, and the private sector. These individuals will be prepared to address research, education, service delivery, and policy challenges requiring an interdisciplinary perspective.

Increasing recognition of the huge impact that disabilities have on society and the economy, particularly with the aging population, has led to the need for scientific advances that can improve the effectiveness of rehabilitative approaches (NIH, 1993).

One of the main responses to this need across the United States and Canada has been the establishment of doctoral programs to train a new generation of scientists to conduct research that focuses specifically on rehabilitation.

Past responses to the needs in rehabilitation research have been inadequate, as was clearly delineated in the widely disseminated report from a national summit among leaders in rehabilitation medicine that focused on issues related to the ongoing critical need to build more rehabilitation research capacity (Frontera et al., 2006); a view that has been reinforced by other reports (cf. Rodgers et al., 2005; Stucki, 2007; Stucki & Celio, 2007).

A related issue is the widely acknowledged inadequacy of the supply of new PhD graduates who have the research training/capability to meet the requirements for an increasing number of faculty vacancies in rehabilitation-related fields at research intensive institutions (Yordy, 2006; Cohen, 2007; ASHA, 2008).

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