The MGH Institute’s research efforts, which continue to grow at an unprecedented pace, was celebrated at the recent Research and Scholarship Day.

A total of 62 posters by faculty from the IHP’s academic programs (48) and students in the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program (14) were presented during the January 10 event, held in 1 Constitution Wharf.  

“Look at the amount of research activity the IHP is now producing,” said Dr. Nara Gavini, associate provost for research, gesturing to the rows of posters in which researchers were discussing their findings with fellow researchers and others in attendance. “This is a celebration of the IHP’s 10 years of operating a full-time research enterprise.” 

When Dr. Jordan Green and Dr. Tiffany Hogan were hired in 2013 as the IHP’s first full-time research scientists, the school’s total grant portfolio sat at a modest $750,000. While some faculty did focus on research, the school lacked a comprehensive research program – something school leaders knew needed to be addressed to help take it to a new level of prestige. 

Green, director of the Speech and Feeding Disorders Lab who is now the school’s chief scientific advisor, and Hogan, director of the Speech and Language Literacy (SAiL) Lab, jumpstarted an initiative that has grown exponentially. Several new full-time researchers have been added, along with a mentorship program to bring along early-career researchers who can become the next generation of scientists. And within the next year, the school expects to open a 17,000-square foot, state-of-the-art research center that will support even more growth. 

In just the past year, the school has set new records in several categories. The total value of active grants jumped 40% to $35.9 million, the number of active grants rose 30% to 60, the number of dedicated research centers and labs for grant-funded scholars surged 87% to 15, and the number of faculty publications increased 68% to 168.

woman points to giant bulletin board with poster on it while another woman looks on
PT Professor Prue Plummer discusses her poster, one of 62 presented during Research and Scholarship Day.

The event kicked off with the keynote address by Dr. John Guttag, the Dugald C. Jackson Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Guttag, a former IHP Trustee who led an advisory panel that recommended launching a full-time research initiative, presented “AI and Healthcare: Hype and Reality.” He was introduced by Dr. Robert Hillman, co-director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation, a former long-time faculty member in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, director of the IHP’s research programs in 2008-2018, and a member of the Guttag-led advisory panel. 

Guttag was followed by two faculty presentations. Dr. Joanna Christodoulou, director of the BEAM Lab and an associate professor of communication sciences and disorders, presented “Innovations in Understanding and Supporting Struggling Readers.” Dr. Keshrie Naidoo, director of curriculum, coordinator of the clinical residency in orthopaedic physical therapy, and an assistant professor of PT, presented “Using Improvement Science to Promote Minoritized Students in Higher Education.” 

In addition, Green and Hogan each received a Decade of IHP Research Excellence award, while three students in the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program – which was started as part of the research initiative 10 years ago – received poster awards. They were Matthew Picard-Fraser, Carla Tierney-Hendricks, and Isha Vora