Past Recipients of the New Investigator Award

The New Investigator Award honors an Institute faculty member who has achieved distinction in the early stages of a research career. It is presented in the fall at the Faculty Convocation. The award was first given in 2016.

In 2021, Rawan AlHeresh and Shweta Gore received the 2021 New Investigator Award. Dr. AlHeresh, an associate professor of occupational therapy, was recognized for improving patient-reported outcomes for people with arthritis, her work in creating the “Toward an All-Inclusive Jordan” initiative, an academic-community partnership model serving as a platform for education, clinical training, and advocacy for the rights of people with disabilities living in refugee camps in her native country, receiving two Durant Fellowships from the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Global Health to health care professionals serving refugee populations and victims of complex humanitarian disasters.

Dr. Gore, an associate professor of physical therapy, was recognized for her research in physical activity assessments in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and for receiving a Learning Health Systems Rehabilitation Research Network grant in which she is working with investigators from John Hopkins and Boston Medical Center to implement and evaluate an activity and mobility program in acute care. In 2019, she was awarded a $10,000 IHP internal grant that she used for a $500,000 NIH R15 grant that is expected to be awarded this fall. 

In 2020, Kimberly Erler, an assistant professor of occupational therapy, received the New Investigator Award. Her research interests include stroke recovery, traumatic brain injury, and caregiver wellness. Her record of publications is increasing rapidly. 

In 2019, Sofia Vallila Rohter, an assistant professor of speech-language pathology and co-director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Group (CNG), received the New Investigator Award. Dr. Valilla Rohter, who also is a faculty member in the Speech Hearing & Biosciences and Technology program at Harvard University, a research associate at Spaulding Rehab, Boston University, and MIT, received the award for her efforts in using event-related potentials, neuroimaging, and behavioral methods to investigate learning in people with and without aphasia.

Photo of Sofia with two students in a lab


  • 2018: Yael Arbel, PhD, CCC-SLP, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Co-Director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Group.
  • 2017: Andrea Fairman, PhD, OTR/L, CPRP​, Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy,  for her research in the use of mobile digital devices to improve the medical management of patients with chronic conditions and disabilities.
  • 2016: Joanna Christodoulou, EdD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Director of the BEAM Team.