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Letter from the Director

Jill Whitall, PhD

Program Director

Jill Whitall, PhD

Dear Prospective PhD and DPT-PhD students,

Thank you for visiting our website, where I hope you will gain some sense of the excitement and opportunity that characterize our Physical Rehabilitation Science PhD program. The field of rehabilitation science is, by definition, one that embraces interdisciplinary collaborations to understand and treat the complex and multi-faceted nature of functional impairments and disabilities that affect the lives of so many individuals. The flood of scientific discovery in areas such as neuroscience, aging, mathematical modeling, robotics, machine learning, remote sensing technologies, and home-based telemedicine all point toward a “brave new world” in modern rehabilitation approaches. Our PhD program is designed to train a new generation of rehabilitation scientists who will be grounded in the latest advances in basic science and technology, along with a clinical perspective needed to implement translational research: from bench to bedside to community. This fits our mission of helping to generate the fundamental scientific evidence needed to design and test best clinical practices for restoring movement function. For those who seek a career as clinician-scientists, we also offer a dual DPT-PhD (Doctor of Physical Therapy-Doctor of Philosophy) degree that combines research training during and after entry-level clinical preparation.

Our formal program of interdisciplinary training is supported by our core faculty of internationally recognized researchers, who are also closely linked to other basic science and clinical departments across the School of Medicine. Our location in Baltimore affords opportunities to connect with other nearby campuses in the University of Maryland System, the National Institutes of Health, and other regional research institutions, including the VA Maryland Health Care System. Within this rich environment, our program is geared for students to focus on critical areas of rehabilitation research, to determine the mechanisms that promote or impede functional recovery, and to evolve those understandings into state-of-the-art interventions for dissemination into the clinic.

I hope that you find our website helpful during your search for a graduate program. After you have a chance to look around our site, please feel free to contact us to answer any questions you may have. You may also wish to contact potential supervisors and their graduate students in the research area in which you wish to study.

With best regards,

Jill Whitall, PhD
Director, Graduate Program in Physical Rehabilitation Science
Professor, Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science
University of Maryland School of Medicine