Two University of Alabama at Birmingham departments have joined forces to create a new doctoral program. The Department of Occupational Therapy and Department of Physical Therapy in the School of Health Professions is offering a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science this fall.
“This is a relatively new field and we want to be on the cutting edge of this discipline,” said Jan Rowe, Dr. OT, interim chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy. “People with disabilities have secondary conditions now such as shoulder problems and carpal tunnel syndrome because they are living longer than they did 15 years ago. Researchers could look at this from a health maintenance or health promotions focus to prevent or minimize the secondary conditions.”
The program is geared toward undergraduate or graduate degree in occupational or physical therapy, engineering, computer science, exercise science, nursing, speech pathology, psychology or other health related professions.
“The students will learn all about rehabilitation from multi-disciplines,” said Sharon Shaw, PT, DrPH, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy. “But the research will be tailored for that individual.”
Students could develop new devices for patients, create an environment in a workplace for employees with disabilities by using low light or audio feedback, generate research in wet lab and cellular research, build documentation systems and even work with people or organizations.
Four to six candidates are being accepted in the first year. As a four-year commitment, students will receive a fellowship, tuition and fees paid for and a research match. For more information on the Rehabilitation Science program, visit www.uab.edu/rsphd.