K12 Rehabilitation Research Career Development Program

Program Overview

The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB)The University of Southern California (USC), and The University of Florida (UF) have developed a Rehabilitation Research Career Development (RRCD) program in collaboration with a network of NCMRR Research Infrastructure Cores, VA Centers of Excellence, rehabilitation research institutes, and physical and occupational therapy departments nationwide.

K12 Rehabilitation Research Career Development ProgramThe RRCD Program will recruit and train rehabilitation scientists who are occupational and physical therapists. Program activities will provide trainees with the skills necessary to become independent investigators and future leaders and mentors in rehabilitation. UTMB, USC, and UF will function as a consortium to provide an integrated research and educational infrastructure to assure the success of the proposed program. The RRCD program will take advantage of existing resources at UTMB, USC, and UF including K30 Clinical Research Curriculum Awards, General Clinical Research Centers, and Older American Independence (Pepper) Centers (P30). The career development opportunities associated with these centers and grants will be integrated into the RRCD program.

The RRCD program will provide up to three years of NIH support for physical and occupational therapists and is comprised of two phases:Phase 1 (Years 1-3) is designed to provide scholars with the foundation needed for a productive career in rehabilitation oriented research. A Lead Mentor will be chosen and an individualized career development plan will be developed based on the scholar’s past training and experience. The individualized plan will consist of:

  • A  structured didactic program focused on research methodology
  • Specialized courses and seminars
  • Mentored grant writing experiences

In Phase 1, scholars will commit 75-100% time to research career development activities.Phase 2 (Years 4-5), is the period of transition for RRCD scholars to move into independent researcher positions and will no longer be directly supported by K12 funding. Scholars will remain associated with the RRCD program and will continue to receive mentorship from the Lead Mentor, and research team. The RRCD program will take advantage of its extensive rehabilitation research network to negotiate faculty positions in research supportive environments.


Program Administration

The Rehabilitation Research Career Development (RRCD) Program will educate and train future rehabilitation scientists.

The NIH National Center Medical Rehabilitation Research (NICHD) and the National Institute Neurological Disorders and Stroke (K12 HD055929) award at the University of Texas Medical Branch, the University of Southern California, and The University of Florida is under the direction of Principal Investigator Kenneth Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR, Professor & Director, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences, UTMB, and Co-Deputy Directors Krista Vandenborne, PhD, PT, Professor & Chair, Department of Physical Therapy, UF, and James Gordon, EdD, PT, Associate Dean and Chair, Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, USC.

William Mann, PhD, OTR, Professor & Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy, UF,  Florence Clark, Ph.D., OTR/L, Professor & Chair, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, USC, and Elizabeth Protas, PhD, PT, Professor & Dean, School of Health Professions, UTMB, serve as Associate Program Directors.  Sergio Romero, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, UF serves as Program Evaluation Coordinator.

The Principal Investigator and Deputy Director are assisted by a large group of Faculty Mentors and an External Advisory Board consisting of senior rehabilitation scientists, center directors and physical and occupational therapy leaders from other academic institutions. The Advisory Board will review the RRCD Program annually and will play a prominent role in the recruitment of scholars and identifying/negotiation of academic positions nationwide in Phase 2.

The RRCD Program Administration is housed in the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences, UTMB and is coordinated by Beth Cammarn, Administrative Specialist, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences, UTMB.  Laura Quintana, Coordinator of Academic Support Services, Department of Physical Therapy, UF, and Jennifer Bandich, Director of Research, Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, USC, serve as RRCD Program Coordinators.


Faculty Mentors

A total of 49 Lead Mentors, additional Support Faculty and Mentoring Teams will lead the RRCD Program.
Read more about the UTMB, USC, and UF faculty mentors here.

Who is eligible to apply for a position on the career development grant?

All individuals supported by this grant mechanism must be US citizens or non-citizen nationals (permanent residents). Applicants must be licensed physical or occupational therapists with a research doctorate. Applicants may not have been a principal investigator on any major NIH research project.

What are the criteria for acceptance into the program?

  •  At least one year postdoctoral research experience is preferred, but no more than five years. This experience includes a traditional fellowship, research institute or center, or a faculty position with minimum teaching and service responsibility.
  • Applicants must identify a Lead Mentor.

What are the expectations of the Scholars?

Scholars must be willing to train for at least two years at one of the consortium institutions, University of Texas Medical Branch, University of Southern California, or University of Florida. Scholars will have the opportunity to become future leaders and mentors in rehabilitation. Scholars will acquire extensive research experience, generate, analyze, present and publish research data, and become equipped to compete for independent external research funding. The RRCD program will take advantage of its extensive rehabilitation research network to negotiate faculty positions in research supportive academic environments. The ultimate goal of the program is to increase the number of rigorously trained, extramurally competitive, and scientifically competent rehabilitation scientists who will conduct translational investigations, lead clinical research teams, and eventually mentor the next generation of occupational and physical therapy investigators.

Contact Info

Mailing Address
Division of Rehabilitation Sciences
RRCD Program
301 University Boulevard
Galveston, TX 77555-1137

Phone: (409) 747-1637
Fax: (409) 747-1638
Email: rehab.info@utmb.edu

UTMB Program Director UF Program Director UTMB Program Coordinator USC Program Coordinator UF Program Coordinator
Kenneth Ottenbacher Krista Vandenborne Beth Cammarn Jennifer Bandich Laura Quintana
Professor & Director Professor & Chair Administrative Specialist Director of Research Coordinator, Academic Support Services
Rehabilitation Sciences Department of Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Sciences Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy Department of Physical Therapy
409-747-1637 352-273-6085 409-747-1637 323-442-2899 352-273-6106
kottenba@utmb.edu kvandenb@phhp.ufl.edu rehab.info@utmb.edu bandich@usc.edu lauraq@phhp.ufl.edu