Grant to provide training for physical, occupational therapists

The Program in Physical Therapy has been awarded a five-year, $4.6 million grant to establish an interdisciplinary postgraduate training program for physical and occupational therapists.

Michael J. Mueller, Ph.D., associate professor of physical therapy, is the principal investigator.

Michael Mueller

Funded by the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the grant is one of only two K12 grants awarded for physical and occupational therapists. The National Institutes of Health’s K12 grants fund career development programs.

The Washington University-based multi-center project, called the Comprehensive Opportunities for Rehabilitation Research Training (CORRT), will fund 15-20 scholars over the five-year grant period. It is modeled after a similar career development grant received in 2005 by Victoria J. Fraser, M.D., the J. William Campbell Professor of Medicine and co-director of the School of Medicine’s infectious diseases division.

The grant provides an interdisciplinary approach to bring other sciences into the field of physical rehabilitation, Mueller said, and will allow scholars to train at one of seven institutions: Washington University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Delaware, Johns Hopkins University, Emory University, University of Miami and University of Iowa.

“There is a tremendous array of more than 60 mentors and laboratories where the scholars can do clinical research to improve the lives of people with chronic physical disabilities,” Mueller said.

Each scholar will work with at least two mentors: one a physical therapist or occupational therapist and another from a different discipline. Twenty WUSTL faculty from diverse research areas have agreed to serve as mentors for the scholars in the CORRT project.

M. Carolyn Baum, Ph.D., Elias Michael director and professor of occupational therapy, is on the executive committee representing occupational therapy for the CORRT program and will serve on the admissions committee.

Mueller already has received substantial interest in the program from potential scholars and plans to start taking applications this month for training that begins Jan. 1.

“It’s exciting to think about the different research collaborations that will develop from this program in the coming years,” he said.

For more information or to apply, contact Alisa Cooperstein at or Mueller at