In a recent news release, the Foundation for Physical Therapy reports that its Board of Trustees has announced a grant to Brown University. The $2.5 million grant is intended to support the establishment of the Center on Health Services Training and Research (CoHSTAR) during the next 5 years.

The release notes that the CoHSTAR will specifically offer the multi-institutional research and training program in conjunction with Boston University and the University of Pittsburgh. Brown is slated to provide leadership and administration, while all three universities will work together with a three-part focus on analysis of large data sets, rehabilitation outcomes measurement, and implementation science and quality assurance.

Additionally, CoHSTAR will provide postdoctoral fellowships, host visiting scientists, and provide special summer training sessions. The release states that each trainee will be matched to a highly experienced mentoring team from one or more of the institutions. They will then participate in immersive research experiences and have access to other training activities and courses from 26 pertinent graduate programs at the three institutions, says Brown University’s Linda Resnik, PT, PhD, associate professor of health services, policy, and practice and CoHSTAR investigator and director. The release notes that CoHSTAR will also fund several high-quality promising pilot studies each year from investigators within and outside the center. Brown University anticipates CoHSTAR’s launch in June.

Barbara Connolly, PT, DPT, EdD, FAPTA, Foundation Board of Trustees president, designates the establishment of CoHSTAR as a “tremendous step” forward for the physical therapist profession, “and we couldn’t have come this far without our generous donors. We are facing the expanded health care world head-on by jump-starting the number of physical therapist researchers involved in health services research and integrating physical therapist research and practice into mainstream medicine.”

The release notes that funding for CoHSTAR, formerly known as the Center of Excellence, came from a $1 million gift from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and gifts from 50 APTA components and physical therapists, foundations, and corporations throughout the country.

Resnik adds, “Because of the paucity of physical therapy health services research, we lack evidence about effectiveness, comparative effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of physical therapy. CoHSTAR will develop a cadre of physical therapy scientists who can conduct health services and health policy research to address our gaps in knowledge in these and other important areas. Ultimately, our research will demonstrate—with empirical data—the impact physical therapy has on patient outcomes and will be useful for informing practice and policy.”

Resnik goes on to estimate that CoHSTAR will train up to nine postdoctoral fellows and five to six visiting scientists, while exposing more researchers and faculty members to health services research methods through the center’s health services research summer institutes during the 5 years of funding. The release says that faculty participants will assist in developing health services research curricular materials for use in physical therapy and rehabilitation graduate programs.

[Source: Foundation for Physical Therapy]