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James S. Thomas, P.T., Ph.D., and Brian C. Clark, Ph.D., are working on a five year, $2.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that funds “The RELIEF Study” which is looking at the mechanisms and effectiveness of three different non-surgical interventions used to treat chronic low back pain. It will determine both the physiological effects and clinical effectiveness of the treatments at reducing pain and disability. Thomas is a professor of physical therapy in the Division of Physical Therapy, and Clark is a professor of physiology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and director of the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute (OMNI) at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM). 


James S. Thomas, PT, PhD and Christopher France, PhD recently received a 2 year NIH R21 grant to study a novel approach that manipulates movement feedback in a gaming environment to improve spinal motion and decrease expectation of pain and harm in participants with chronic low back pain and high kinesiophobia. The use of a gaming environment is an innovative approach to address fear of movement and reduced lumbar motion in chronic low back pain patients with kinesiophobia, and this proof-of-concept study represents the critical first step to evaluate a promising new approach for chronic back pain and will provide the data necessary to assess power for a full-scale randomized clinical trial. France is a professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Janice Howman, Clinical Assistant Professor, was awarded the Lee Cibrowski Faculty Advising and Mentorship Award in April 2014.  The award acknowledges the “faculty adviser with the highest levels of commitment and mentorship to the students.” This is an annual award that was started in 2010 in honor of Lee Cibrowski, former associate dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP) who retired in 2008, after nearly 20 years of service to Ohio University.


Gary Chleboun, PT, PhD was elected to a 2 year term on the Board of Directors of the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT). ACAPT is a component of the APTA that was approved as APTA’s first council during the 2013 House of Delegates. The purpose of ACAPT is to advance the enterprise of academic physical therapy (all aspects of physical therapist education including clinical education, and post-professional education) by promoting the highest standards of excellence.


Ohio Physical Therapy Association student involvement. OUPT has several students on the OPTA student SIG board. The student SIG provides students a way to promote the interests of student members, the OPTA, and the APTA. It keeps PT and PTA students updated about current event and issues affecting the profession.

PT Co-Chair: Megan Graver
Vice Chair / Treasurer: Eric Horton
Website Coordinator: Corey Block
APTA Student Assembly Rep: Jacob Swart

Trotta, Haste and Schulman Physical Therapy Scholarship: Steve Trotta, a member of the inaugural OUPT class that started in 1984, has created and named a new scholarship in honor of his wife Jennifer, his parents Louis and Janet Trotta, his aunt Patricia Haste, and Chuck Schulman, his freshman year roommate. Trotta’s goal for this gift is to allow students to devote more time to becoming the best clinician that they can without worrying about the financial stress of paying for a DPT education.

The Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) focuses on programming designed by all 18 of APTA's specialty sections. This year CSM was held on February 3-6 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Many of the OU faculty and students attended the conference. Several students had the opportunity to present their research they completed as part of their Capstone experience.



OPTA Student challenge - Ohio University PT students were victorious at the OPTA student challenge in March 2012 in Columbus, Ohio, at the student symposium/OPTA meeting. The student challenge is a jeopardy-type game based on everything Physical Therapy.

Student Enhancement Award– Physical Therapy students Chris Wall and Seth Oberst (Class of 2013) received the Student Enhancement Award for $5421.60 for their research proposal titled "How does a History of Low Back Pain Influence Activation of the Trunk Flexors in a Fatigue Task?" Student Enhancement Awards are competitive grants to support undergraduate, graduate, and medical student research, scholarship, and creative activities.