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PhD Alumni and Students

MGH Institute of Health Professions is proud to have one of the few truly interdisciplinary PhD in Rehabilitation Science programs in the country. Located at the intersection of health care and higher education in Boston, students in our program have access and the opportunity to work with some of the world’s top researchers.

Our students come from a variety of professional disciplines, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, and other rehabilitation-related fields. Each brings to the IHP a unique perspective to how they want to advance the knowledge base in rehabilitation so that the lives of even more patients can be improved.

We invite you to read more about their backgrounds, research interests, mentors, and labs in which they are pursuing their work. 

 

Alumni

 

 

Students

 

Catherine Adans Dester

 

Catherine Adans-Dester, PhD(c), PT, MS

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2015

 

 

 

What are your prior degrees and at which institutions?
BS, Physical Therapy, Haute École de la Province de Liège, BELGIUM
MS, Physical Therapy, Haute École de la Province de Liège, BELGIUM
 
What is your current research setting(s), mentor’s name and name of lab?

Mentors: Susan Fasoli, ScD, OTR/L, Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, The MGH Institute
Paolo Bonato, PhD, Director, Motion Analysis Laboratory. Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School.

Lab: Motion Analysis Laboratory. Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston, MA

 

What is your current research focused on?
My research interests and the focus of my PhD are the integration of technologies in the field of neurorehabilitation.

More specifically:

  • Using sensing technologies (i.e. body worn sensors) to monitor patients during their recovery, either predict clinical scores to plan interventions in a more efficient way or to gather information about use in everyday life. 
  • Using robotic technologies as assistive devices to improve ambulation in patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS and to deliver high dosage rehabilitation  interventions. 
  • Trying to understand the effect of robotic arm unloading and develop guidelines for clinical use. 

List any publications or external presentations you have produced that are based on the research you have done while in the program.
Conference papers
C. Adans-Dester, A. Scarton, J. Daneault. V. Vega, G. Severini, Z. Sawacha, U. Della Croce, P. Bonato “Evaluation of a robotic knee brace during the performance of functional tasks in stroke survivors.” DOI: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2015.07.044 Conference: Gait & Posture –September 2015.

JF. Daneault, G. Vergara-Diaz, C. Adans-Dester, G. Ferreira-Carvalho, VCK. Cheung, P. Bonato “Alterations in muscle synergies in early stage Parkinson's disease”. Movement Disorders 31, S435. 2016

Abstracts and posters
S.I. Lee, C. Adans-Dester, A. O’Brien, G. Vergara-Diaz, R.D. Zafonte, R.M. Black-Schaffer, P. Bonato, “Using Wearable Motion Sensors to Estimate Longitudinal Changes in Movement Quality in Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors Undergoing Rehabilitation”. 93rd Annual Conference of American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM), Chicago, USA, Oct, 2016. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Volume 97, Issue 10, e117.
Presenter and finalist for the poster award program.

A. O’Brien, C. Adans-Dester, A. Scarton, J. O’Brien Murby, L. Laliberte, P. Bonato, “Robotic-assisted Gait Training as Part of the Rehabilitation Program in Persons with Traumatic and Anoxic Brain Injury”. 93rd Annual Conference of American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM), Chicago, USA, Oct, 2016. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Volume 97, Issue 10, e117

E. Fabara, A. O’Brien, G. Vergara-Diaz, C. Adans-Dester, P. Bonato, “Usability of a new over-ground bodyweight support device (Andago 2.0) for gait training”.  93rd Annual Conference of American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM), Chicago, USA, Oct, 2016. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Volume 97, Issue 10, e134

G. Vergara-Diaz, J. Dussan-Sarria, M. Dominguez-Iglesia, A. O’Brien, C. Adans-Dester, S.K. Lui, P. Bonato, “Retrospective Analysis of Clinical Practice Data of Robot-Assisted Gait Training in Patients with Spinal Cord Injury”.  93rd Annual Conference of American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM), Chicago, USA, Oct, 2016. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Volume 97, Issue 10, e136

G.F. Carvalho, G. Vergara-Diaz, A. Scarton, C. Adans-Dester, J.G.V. Miranda, Z. Isaac, D. Bevilaqua-Grossi, R. Zafonte, P. Bonato, “Augmenting Back Pain Exercise Therapy Using an Interactive Gaming-Based Intervention in The Home Setting”. 93rd Annual Conference of American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM), Chicago, USA, Oct, 2016. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Volume 97, Issue 10, e133

A. Scarton, C. Adans-Dester, S. Paganoni, A. O’Brien, J-F. Daneault, G. Severini, P. Bonato, “Robot-Assisted Gait Training in Individuals with Primary Lateral Sclerosis: a case serie”. 9th World Congress for Neurorehabilitation (WCNR), Philadelphia, USA, May, 2016. 

S.I. Lee, C. Adans-Dester, G.V. Diaz, G. Mascia, S. Patel, R. Black-Schaffer, R. Zafonte, P. Bonato, “Using Wearable Motion Sensors to Estimate Longitudinal Changes in Movement Quality in Stroke Survivors Undergoing Rehabilitation," Wireless Health 2015 (WH2015), Bethesda, MD, October, 2015.

Symposium Presentations
“Using Wearable Motion Sensors to Estimate Longitudinal Changes in Movement Quality in Stroke Survivors Undergoing Rehabilitation.” Stroke Recovery Research Symposium, SRRI – Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. USA, Boston. November 2015.

“ARTIC – Lessons Learned and Initial Results from a Clinical Robotics Consortium “. International Neurorehabilitation Symposium (INRS). Spain, Valencia. June 2015.

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
The multidisciplinary of the program is a real strength. Learning from other disciplines and/or specialties is an asset for our careers, especially to see rehabilitation as a continuum and not compartmented by disciplines.
The size of the program, which allows to have a lot of interactions with professors, fellows, visitors and exchange points of views in very open way.  

Why did you choose to come to this program rather than a doctoral research program in your specific profession?
To add to what I mentioned above, I choose MGH Institute of Health Profession for its reputation of the as well as the PhD program faculty members. We have the chance of learning from experts recognized worldwide and in a privileged environment. Lastly, I appreciated the convenience of staying affiliated why my institution part-time and pursue a doctoral degree simultaneously.

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
I hope to have a mixed-faculty position where I would have the chance to practice, pursue research, disseminate the knowledge gained and train the next generation of therapists. 
It is my hope that my research will help integrating technologies in the rehabilitation field, with the aim of improving interventions and their effectiveness for recovery of physical function. 


 

 

 

Emily Evans

 

Emily Evans, PT, PhD(c), DPT

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2014

 

 

 

What are your prior degrees and at which institutions?
BS, Clinical Science, Ithaca College
MS, Physical Therapy, Ithaca College
Doctor of Physical Therapy(DPT), Ithaca College

What is your current research setting(s), mentor’s name?
Mentor: Ann-Christine Duhaime, MD
Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, MassGeneral Hospital for Children

What is your current research focused on?
I am interested in exploring the impact of cognition, specifically attention on functional mobility and physical performance in people with brain injury. 

Publications
Evans EA, Asuzu D, Cook N, Caruso P, Townsend E, Costine-Bartell B, Fortes-Monteiro C, Hotz G & Duhaime AC: "Traumatic Brain Injury-Related Symptoms Reported by Parents: Clinical, Imaging, and Host Predictors in Children with Impairments in Consciousness Less Than 24 Hours." Journal of Neurotrauma. 2018

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
The program at the IHP has the benefit of location, being in Boston, and in such close proximity to ground breaking researchers and medical facilities. 

Why did you choose to come to this program rather than a doctoral research program in your specific profession?
I was drawn to the program because of its interdisciplinary nature. Working in brain injury rehabilitation has afforded me the opportunity to work closely with an interdisciplinary team. Input from multiple disciplines is vital to rehabilitation of people with brain injury. It seems natural to continue my research interests working with and learning from others with diverse clinical backgrounds

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
I hope to continue to be involved in both research and clinical practice. I hope to help to advance understanding of brain injury, and help to translate research into clinical practice to improve outcomes and quality of life for people with brain injury.


 

Christopher Joyce

 

Chris Joyce, PT, DPT

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2015

 

 

 

What are your prior degrees and at which institutions?
BS, Rehabilitation Sciences, Northeastern University
DPT, Northeastern University

What is your current research setting(s), mentor’s name and name of lab?
Mentor: Robert Saper, MD, Director of Integrative Medicine for the Boston Medical Center Department of Family Medicine

What is your current research focused on?
Currently I’m working on a national multi-site comparative effectiveness trial evaluating the ability of psychologically informed physical therapy (PIPT) to prevent patients with acute low back pain from transitioning to chronic low back pain. Chronic low back pain is a complex clinical and financial burden on the healthcare system so identifying patients who are predisposed to becoming chronic and getting them specific physical therapy treatment may prevent further disability and cost. My role in the study has been recruiting physical therapists to provide the intervention and facilitating the training and implementation of PIPT.

List any publications or external presentations you have produced that are based on the research you have done while in the program.
Publications
Joyce C
, Schneider M, Stevans JM & Beneciuk JM. (April 2018). "Improving Physical Therapy Pain Care, Quality, and Cost through Effectiveness-Implementation Research." Physical Therapy.

Joyce, C., Beneciuk, J., Delitto, A. Changing Physical Therapy Practice Through Hybrid Effectiveness-Implementation Trials-A TARGETed Approach. 2017

Presentations
Joyce, C. (2017). Merging pain science and exercise in physical therapy. The American Physical Therapy Association Massachusetts Chapter Conference,

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
The PhD program is a small, supportive and rigorous program that pushes us to learn and grow while providing the foundation and guidance to do so. The interdisciplinary design encourages learning and collaboration across the fields and offers us opportunities to practice our synthesis of research in various capacities.

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
My goal is to research, teach, and practice in physical therapy with a clinical and academic emphasis in pain physiology and rehabilitation. I enjoy working in both environments and hope to continue to foster the alliance between researcher and clinician to study and implement evidence based practices


 

Danielle Kline

 

Danielle Kline, PT, DPT, NCS

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2018

 

 

What are your prior degrees and with what institutions?
BS, Kinesiology major and Spanish minor, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
DPT, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

What is your current research setting?
Mentor: Teresa J. Kimberley, PhD, PT
Lab: Brain Recovery Lab, MGH Institute of Health Professions

What is your current research focused on?
My current research focuses on investigating the effects of vagal nerve stimulation in combination with rehabilitation in patients recovering from ischemic strokes. I will also be working with Dr. Kimberley on investigating TMS in various patient populations.

What publications or external presentations have you produced that are based on the research you have done while in the program?
Kimberley TJ, Pierce D, Prudente CN, Francisco GE, Yozbatiran N, Smith P, Tarver B, Dickie DA, Kline DK, Wigginton JG, Cramer SC & Dawson J: Vagus Nerve Stimulation Paired with Upper Limb Rehabilitation After Chronic Stroke: A Blinded Randomized Pilot Study. Stroke.

Co-presenter on Independence, Mobility, Communication & Function: An Adult Rehabilitation Panel, 2017 MDA Twin Cities Neuromuscular Family Symposium, Vadnais Heights, MN

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
The clinically focused framework of the PhD program provides unique opportunities for students to network with experts and professionals across Boston-area hospitals, clinics, and universities. The opportunity to take elective coursework during the program at prestigious local universities like Harvard is special and exciting.

Why did you choose to come to this program rather than a doctoral research program in your specific profession?
I wanted to pursue my degree through an interdisciplinary program to expand upon my knowledge base on other rehabilitation approaches and attain a broader perspective on research within the rehabilitation field.

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
After graduation, I aspire to work in an environment where I can pursue my passions of researching within my specialty area of neurologic physical therapy, treating as a clinician, and teaching.


 

Catherine Leslie

 

Cathy Leslie, OTR/L, CEIS

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2016

 

 

 

What are your prior degrees and at which institutions?
BA in Interdisciplinary Studies and Master of Occupational Therapy, both at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, MA

What is your current research setting(s), mentor’s name and name of lab 
My research mentor is Diane Smith, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at the MGH Institute. 

What is your current research focused on?
My background as an OT is in early intervention (EI), which is a home care pediatric setting for newborn babies until they turn 3 years old. EI is based on a coaching model, which emphasizes educating and empowering families to care for their child with a disability. My research is focused on health literacy, which is a person’s ability to access health care, understand medical information, and successfully manage their care. Specifically, I am interested in understanding the impact of the health literacy levels of both EI practitioners and caregivers on the health outcomes of the children receiving rehabilitation services in EI. 

What publications or external presentations have you produced that are based on the research you have done while in the program?
Leslie, C. &
Smith, D. (2018, April). What is the Health Literacy Skill Level of Practitioners Working with Families and Children in Early Intervention? A Systematic Review. Poster session presented at the AOTA Annual Conference & Expo, Salt Lake City, UT.

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
When I was working in early intervention, I  worked on interprofessional teams with PTs, SLPs, social workers, nurses, and teachers, and I really believe in that model of care. The PhD in RS program at IHP completely embraces this way of learning and researching with rehabilitation professionals from all disciplines. It is effective and reflects current trends in health care. Being in class with students and professors from other disciplines has really expanded my thinking about research collaborations to improve rehabilitation outcomes for patients.  

Why did you choose to come to this program rather than a doctoral research program in your specific profession?
Occupational therapy offers an OTD, which is focused on clinical skill building and expertise. I really wanted to switch my viewpoint to research and outcomes improvement related to the system of early intervention care. To do that and be effective, I felt strongly that I needed a PhD rather than an OTD.

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
I have taught as an adjunct at a few colleges and really enjoyed being on a college campus, so I originally thought that I would pursue a teaching position in a program where I could also do research. As I continue to research my topic of health literacy and network with people in healthcare and government in Boston, I am starting to see other opportunities and options in research, public health, and government, as well as teaching. I am definitely keeping my options wide open for now. 


 

Katie Marks

Katherine Marks, MS, CCC-SLP

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2017

 

 

 

 

What are your prior degrees and at which institutions?
BS, Speech, Georgia State University
MS, Speech-Language Pathology, MGH Institute of Health Professions

What is your current research setting, mentor's name, and name of lab?
Mentor: Daryush D. Mehta, PhD
, Director, and Robert E. Hillman, PhD, CCC-SLP, Co-Director/Director of Research
Lab: MGH Voice Center

What is your current research focused on?
My research is focused on aerodynamics of voice using accelerometer-based voice monitoring. Specifically, I am interested in studying underlying physiology of perceptual estimates of vocal effort. I am also interested in studying voice response to environmental noise (Lombard effect).

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
Everything we learn in class is highly applicable to our lab work. Not only that, but each week we are inspired by researchers from a variety of fields, so we can learn from other professions and potentially apply ideas from other disciplines to our own work.

Why did you choose to come to this program rather than a doctoral research program in your specific profession?
I was lucky enough to have gone to the MGH Institute for my master's program, where I learned the value of interprofessional collaboration. As a voice therapist, I worked interdisciplinarily and saw the value of communicating and co-treating with other disciplines, so it felt natural to choose a program that is interprofessional.

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
I hope to combine my research and clinical skills to be a translational researcher and clinician.


 

Danny Nunn

Danny Nunn, MS, CCC-SLP

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2013

 

 

 

 

What are your prior degrees and at which institutions?
BS, Speech-Language Pathology, Catholic  University, 1993
Certified Clinical Competence in Speech Language Pathology in Mental Health, Psychiatric Department of the School of Medicine, São Paulo University, São Paulo, Brazil, 1993
Certified Clinical Competence in Speech Language Pathology in Hospital Settings, Hospital das Clinicas of the School of Medicine, São Paulo University, São Paulo, Brazil, 1994
MS, Speech-Language Pathology, MGH Institute of Health Professions, 2000

What is your current research setting, mentor's name, and name of lab?
Mentor: Felipe Fregni, MD, PhD, MPH, 
Director of the Laboratory of Neuromodulation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Harvard Medical School
LabLaboratory of Neuromodulation and Center for Clinical Research Learning at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

What is your current research focused on?
Dysphagia or swallowing problems is a common and devastating deficit. Most of the swallowing techniques used to manage dysphagia are compensatory strategies and  there is little evidence to support its effectiveness in promoting recovery. My research is aimed to understand  the role of  strengthening swallow exercise and use of non-invasive brain stimulation to the recovery of swallow function . Brain stimulation allows to alter the brain activity and can help people re-learn skills lost after stroke. I am trying to identify how those techniques influence  brain plasticity and how they can assist  swallowing recovery. By understanding its impact and role we can implement evidence based  therapies to enhance  rehabilitation of  swallowing.

List any publications or external presentations you have produced that are based on the research you have done while in the program.
D'Angelo OM1, Diaz-Gil D, Nunn D, Simons JC, Gianatasio C, Mueller N, Meyer MJ, Pierce E, Rosow C, Eikermann M. Anesthesia and increased hypercarbic drive impair the coordination between breathing and swallowing, Anesthesiology 2014 Dec;121(6):1175-83. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25275368https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25275368.

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
The interdisciplinary environment. Opportunities at state-of-the-art academic, medical, and rehabilitation facilities.
 


 

Hannah Rowe

 

Hannah Rowe, MA, CCC-SLP

 

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2018

 

 

What are your prior degrees and with which institutions?
BA, Psychology, Minor in Linguistics, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
MA, Speech-Language Pathology, George Washington University, Washington, DC

What is your current research focused on?
My current research focuses on investigating disordered speech in patients with ALS. I am looking specifically at comparing perceptual ratings from clinical tests to physiological measurements in order to develop more valid and reliable assessment tools for motor-impaired populations.

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
I think the enormous network of universities and hospitals surrounding IHP is incomparable to other institutions. Being a part of such a community is an exciting opportunity for clinician-researchers who want to contribute to clinically relevant, cutting-edge research.

Why did you choose to come to this program rather than a doctoral research program in your specific profession?
I was drawn to this program to work with Dr. Jordan Green, as he is an expert in the field of speech motor control and provides his students with quantitative tools to address motor control across domains. I am also excited about the interdisciplinary nature of this program because working with students from different sectors of rehabilitation sciences fosters invaluable learning opportunities and the potential for innovative research. This program encourages us as students to undertake our research and clinical work with a broader, more adaptable perspective.

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
I hope to one day become a professor and independent clinical investigator at a research university. Throughout my career, I hope to maintain an open mind and approach my research questions using neuroimaging, kinematic techniques, computational modeling, neural stimulation, and any new methods that arise over the years. My ultimate goal is to develop advanced assessments and treatments for patients with motor speech impairments.

 


 

Megan Schliep

Megan Schliep, MA, CCC-SLP, MPH

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2016

 

 

 

 

What are your prior degrees and at which institutions?
BA, English, Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, MN, 2004
MA, Communication Sciences & Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 2006
MPH, Northwestern University, 2016

What is your current research setting?
Mentor: Sofia Vallila-Rohter, PhD, CCC-SLP
, Co-Director
Lab: Cognitive Neuroscience Group, MGH Institute of Health Professions

On what is your current research focused?
I am interested in language recovery and neuroplasticity in aphasia, with a specific focus on the standardized assessment of language and cognitive skills across the care continuum and the role of this information in predicting patient outcomes. 

List any publications or external presentations you have produced that are based on the research you have done while in the program.

Vallila-Rohter S, Kasparian L, Kaminski O, Schliep M & Koymen S (2018): "Implementing a Standardized Assessment Battery for Aphasia in Acute Care." Seminars in Speech and Language.

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
I was drawn to the interdisciplinary structure of the program and am consistently impressed by the high-level of collaboration between my learning colleagues and mentors across disciplines. Being part of the Partners HealthCare System also offers multiple opportunities for clinical research: I currently work part-time as a Speech-Language Pathologist at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, which has given me an opportunity to continue my clinical role and collaborate with a great team, while also exploring clinically relevant research questions.

Why did you choose to come to this program rather than a doctoral research program in your specific profession?
I have always been interested in how our work as clinicians fits into the “bigger picture” of health care, which led me to pursue my MPH prior to my arrival at the IHP. This program allows me to merge my interests in clinical care and patient health outcomes.

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
Upon graduation from the MGH Institute, I hope to continue my clinical, research, and teaching interests with a joint academic/clinical appointment, as well as to further develop my skills in pragmatic research. 


 

Julie Shulman

 

Julie Shulman, PhD(c), PT, DPT, PCS

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2016

 

 

 

What are your prior degrees and with which institutions?
BS, Health Science, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, 2005
BS, Biology, Duquesne University, 2005
DPT, Duquesne University, 2007

What is your current research setting(s), mentor’s name and name of lab?
I work with several mentors and Harvard Faculty at the Mayo Family Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center (PPRC) at Boston Children’s Hospital in Waltham. Navil Sethna, MBchB, Clinical Director of the PPRC, Boston Children's Hospital, is my primary research mentor. 

What is your current research focused on?
My current research focuses on pain management in children with chronic pain disorders. I am investigating a new test to determine if it can distinguish between children with and without chronic pain disorders.  This test may help determine if children with chronic pain disorders have a sensitized nervous system.  I am also researching physical and occupational performance outcomes in children with chronic headaches treated with intensive interdisciplinary rehabilitation. 

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
The faculty at IHP is welcoming and supportive. Additionally, working with other students and faculty of varying disciplines provides unique insights and perspectives into my own work. 

Why did you choose to come to this program rather than a doctoral research program in your specific profession?
I was already working at Boston Children’s Hospital with children with chronic pain and did not want to leave my job to pursue my education. 

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
I hope to obtain a position as a researcher in the department of Physical and Occupational Therapy at Boston Children’s Hospital and continue to  investigate chronic pain in children and the effects of physical therapy interventions with my colleagues.


 

Photo of Paul Simeone

 

Paul Simeone, MA, CCC-SLP

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2018

 

 

 

What are your prior degrees and with what institutions? 
MA, Speech and Language Pathology, CUNY Lehman College, W. Bronx, NY

What is your current research setting, mentor’s name and name of lab?
Mentor: Ralf W. Schlosser, PhD, Alice Schillingsburg, PhD
Research Setting: May Institute

What is your current research focused on?
Collaborative communication interventions in interdisciplinary settings for children with autism spectrum disorder.

List any publications or external presentations you have since starting the program?
You Say Mand, I Say Request—Let's Call the Whole Thing Communication: Interprofessional AAC Intervention, ASH National Nnual Convention, November 2018


Kaila Stipancic

 

Kaila Stipancic, MA, CCC-SLP

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2016

 

 

 

What are your prior degrees and with which institutions?
BA, Speech and Language Sciences & Child and Youth Studies, Brock University, Ontario, Canada
MA, Communicative Disorders and Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

What is your current research setting(s), mentor’s name and name of lab?
Mentor: Jordan Green, PhD, CCC-SLP,
Director
Lab: Speech and Feeding Disorders Lab, MGH Institute of Health Professions

What is your current research focused on?
My research interests are in motor control of speech and swallowing in adults with neurologic diseases. My doctoral work to date has examined the measurement of intelligibility deficits in persons with ALS and factors contributing to reduced speech intelligibility in this population. My upcoming work will focus neuroplastic changes in sensorimotor cortex as a result of oromotor functions.

What publications or external presentations have you produced that are based on the research you have done while in the program?

Green JR, Connaghan K, Yunusova Y, Stipancic K, Gutz S '20 & Berry J: "Vocal Changes Across Disease Progression in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)." Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

Rong P, Stipancic K & Green JR: "Predicting Disease-Related Changes in Jaw Contribution to Tongue Movement in ALS Based on a Diadochokinetic Task." 2018 Motor Speech Conference, Savanah, GA.

Stipancic K, Yunusova Y & Green JR: "Minimally Detectable Change and Minimal Clinically Important Difference of Speech Intelligibility and Speaking Rate for Individuals With ALS." 2018 Motor Speech Conference, Savanah, GA.

Pattee GL, Plowman EK, Brooks BR, Berry JD, Atassi N, Chapin JL, Garand K, Yunusova Y, Mcilduff CE, Young E, Costello JM, Macklin EA, Locatelli ER, Silani V, Heitzman D, Wymer J, Goutman SA, Gelinas DF, Smith R, Perry B, Nalipinski P, Stipancic K, O'Brien M, Sullivan SL & Green JR: "Best Practices Protocol for the Evaluation of Bulbar Dysfunction: Summary Recommendations from the Neals Bulbar Subcommittee Symposium." Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration.

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
The clinical focus is a unique aspect of the doctoral program in Rehabilitation Sciences here at IHP. It is such an advantage that all the students have clinical backgrounds and can bring the experiences and challenges from our clinical training/work to our classes and research. I think our work as clinicians has brought all of us to a greater awareness of the need for passionate researchers in our respective fields.

Why did you choose to come to this program rather than a doctoral research program in your specific profession?
I choose to come to this program rather than a doctoral research program in my specific profession, first, to work with my mentor Dr. Green. Additionally, I found the interdisciplinary aspect of the program to be unique and extremely valuable. The affiliations that the institute and its faculty have to other facilities and professionals are impressive and were certainly a draw to move to the Boston area.

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
After I graduate, I hope to find a faculty position at a university. I look forward to beginning a research career and training future SLPs and researchers, just like so many amazing mentors who have been, and continue to be, invested in training me. I would love to maintain some level of connection to the clinical world as well and therefore, securing a position at an institution with an academically affiliated hospital would be ideal. 


 

Paulo Teixiera

 

 

Paulo E. P. Teixeira, PT, MS

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2017

 

 

 

What are your prior degrees and with which institutions?
BA, Physical Therapy, Ribeirão Preto University, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil, 2004
Orthopedic and Muscle-Skeleton PT Specialist, COHEN Institute of Orthopedics, Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine, São Paulo and São Marcos University, São Paulo, Brazil, 2006
MS, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences with a concentration in PT, University of Pittsburgh, 2008

What is your current research setting, mentor’s name and name of lab?
Mentor: Felipe Fregni, MD, PhD, MPH, 
Director of the Laboratory of Neuromodulation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Harvard Medical School
LabLaboratory of Neuromodulation and Center for Clinical Research Learning at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
I believe the professional diversity that supports the program makes the PhD experience at the MGH Institute unique. Having different rehabilitation specialists together during classes and seminar discussions, consequently shows us different perspectives on every topic, which I believe it enriches our learning experience.  The individual attention of the faculty to our concerns and directions also are a positive aspect of this program. Not to mention that being in Boston and the MGH Institute, the amount of networking and potential opportunities to develop our academic careers are endless. 

Why did you choose to come to this program rather than a doctoral research program in your specific profession?
I believe that working in an interdisciplinary setting, either in academics or clinical, is ultimately the setting that has the greater potential to thrive. Different backgrounds, different professions, when working together for the same ideal, can achieve greater success. The PhD program at the MGH Institute has the interdisciplinary characteristic that I always believed in. 

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
I hope to work in an academic setting that I can fully develop my potential and I hope to contribute to rehabilitation science and the education of rehabilitation specialists in a meaningful way.

 


 

Victoria Bolowsky

 

Victoria Tilton-Bolowsky, MS, CCC-SLP

 

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2018

 

 

What are your prior degrees and with which institutions?
BA in Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology, Loyola University, Baltimore, MD
MS in Speech-Language Pathology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, 2014

What is your current research setting?
Lab: Cognitive Neuroscience Group, MGH Institute of Health Professions
Mentor: Sofia Vallila-Rohter, PhD, CCC-SLP

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
The opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration sets this program apart and provides an environment in which these disciplines no longer operate in silos; rather, one discipline’s findings may have profound implications for the others. Working closely with occupational therapists, physical therapists, and nurses over the past three years has allowed me to gain a well-rounded understanding of the processes of recovery and rehabilitation. Additionally, the program has affiliations with some of the best medical and rehabilitation facilities in the country (e.g., Spaulding Rehabilitation) which offer challenging and unique learning opportunities, undoubtedly yielding an enriching experience. 

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
Ultimately, my goal is to obtain a position that allows me to continue practicing clinically in some capacity, provide clinical/academic instruction to future Speech-Language Pathologists, and conduct research.

 


 

Laura Toles

 

Laura Toles, MS, CCC-SLP

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2017

 

 

 

What are your prior degrees and with which institutions?
BA, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Vocal Performance minor, University of North Texas
MS, Speech-Language Pathology, University of North Texas

What is your current research setting, mentor’s name and name of lab?
Mentors: Robert E Hillman, PhD, CCC-SLP
, Co-Director/Director of Research, and Jarrad H. Van Stan, PhD, CCC-SLP, Senior Clinical Research Coordinator
LabCenter for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice RehabilitationMassachusetts General Hospital Department of Surgery

What is your current research focused on?
I am currently working on ambulatory monitoring of vocal function in patients with hyperfunctional voice disorders.  My work particularly focuses on how stress and arousal levels directly impact vocal function in daily life.

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
The interdisciplinary model to the Rehabilitation Sciences program brings a new perspective and a spirit of connection between various professions that I otherwise would not have considered in my research.  The variety of topics and approaches to research that are presented are inspiring.

Why did you choose to come to this program rather than a doctoral research program in your specific profession?
I chose to pursue doctoral studies at the MGH Institute because of the PhD faculty and my specific mentors.  I feel fortunate to be able to work with innovative leaders in my field.

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
I hope to find a clinical research position in a voice center within an academic institution.  I would like to deliver practical research that is directly applicable to treating clinicians and their patients.  

 


 

Jasmine Urquhart

 

Jasmine Urquhart, MS, CCC-SLP

 

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2014

 

 

 

What are your prior degrees and with which institutions?
BS, Communication Disorders, Boston University
MS, Speech-Language Pathology, Boston University

What is your mentor's name?
Mentor: Ruth Grossman, PhD
, Associate Professor, Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, Emerson College

What is your current research focused on?
I’m interested in studying the efficacy and effectiveness of data collection in pediatric speech and language therapy.  I would like to refine how pediatric SLPs track client performance to improve treatment outcomes.  In my clinical practice, I’ve developed a web-based data collection and analysis platform for clinicians to input data and analyze trends in progress in real-time.   My research will explore its effectiveness in clinical practice. 

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
This program is uniquely positioned in the great chasm between exceptional clinical practice and cutting-edge research. The courses are designed to bridge the gap between these two worlds by equipping practicing clinicians with the tools needed to become clinical researchers. For a clinician with a passion for practice, this program offered the best of both worlds; I am able to actively pursue a PhD without abandoning my enthusiasm for treating children with speech and language disorders. There is no expectation at the start of the program that you should already have strong research background.  Unique to the MGH Institute, your clinical experience is recognized and valued as a solid foundation from which clinically relevant research questions can be cultivated.  Working across discipline lines reflects the landscape of authentic, day-to-day clinical practice. The program provides a platform for interdisciplinary learning, which has given me a broader perspective of rehabilitation.  

Why did you choose to come to this program rather than a doctoral research program in your specific profession?
Since I run a pediatric speech-language pathology practice in Boston, the flexibility offered in clinical practice opportunities and coursework provided a great balance. Also, the program provides access to many of Boston’s top rehabilitation researchers.  From the start of the program, we (as students) regularly interact with world-class scientists and clinical professionals from diverse, multi-disciplinary backgrounds in a small group setting.  The opportunity to learn from such prominent members of the clinical and academic communities is invaluable.   

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
I hope to actively research in order to contribute high quality outcomes data to the field of pediatric speech language pathology.  I’d like to teach.  I plan to continue to practice as a pediatric SLP!  

 


 

Julie Wolfman

 

Julie Wolfman, OTD

 

Doctoral Student

What year did you start the program? 2018

 

 

What are your prior degrees and with which institutions?
BA, Global Studies, University of Vermont
Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD), MGH Institute of Health Professions

What is your current research focused on?
My capstone for my OTD focused on low vision, or vision impairment that cannot be corrected by standard glasses, medicine, or surgery, and improving access to low vision rehabilitation (LVR) services globally. Moving forward, I hope to expand on this focus, blending my interests in globalization and LVR. Specifically, my interests are in cross-cultural practice patterns in LVR and using participation in culturally relevant activities as a means of measuring health outcomes.

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute?
I was drawn to this program specifically because of its interdisciplinary nature and the opportunity to have a clinical correlate. The PhD in RS program here at the IHP not only welcomes clinicians from multiple backgrounds, but it provides an opportunity for us to be exposed to many different clinical experiences and perspectives within the world of rehabilitation sciences as we begin and continue research in our own fields.

Why did you choose to come to this program rather than a doctoral research program in your specific profession?
After pursuing a clinical doctorate at the IHP, I chose to pursue a PhD in RS to advance the research skills I knew I needed to be able to answer the many questions that developed while working in the field. The community, connections, and environment at the IHP create unique opportunities to foster these skills both here at the Institute and worldwide.  

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
I was originally drawn to occupational therapy with the understanding that there are many opportunities within the field. I hope to use the skills I gain in this program to continue a clinical position with a new perspective, and one day bringing a blend of clinical and research experience to an academic setting.