Laurie King, PT, PhD
(Photo courtesty of OHSU)

The Foundation for Physical Therapy, Alexandria, Va, has awarded its largest funding opportunity since 2002, the $300,000 Clagett Family Research Grant given to Laurie King, PT, PhD, of Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU), for her project titled Effectiveness of Physical Therapy in Chronic Neurologic Disease; The Role of Co-morbidities and Delivery of Physical Therapy Services.

The 2-year research grant will focus on older adults living with Parkinson’s Disease and other comorbidities associated with aging.

King’s project aims to investigate the most beneficial mode of exercise intervention: individual therapy in a clinical setting, a home exercise program, or a group class. For each group, she will characterize the impact of other common comorbidities associated with both Parkinson’s disease and aging on the success of the intervention.

“There is no surgery or medication currently available to help mobility, but exercise intervention has received an increase in recognition as an effective treatment for enhancing mobility," said King. "We want to determine if the delivery of the intervention affects outcomes in patients, and how comorbidities play into these outcomes.

"Although there is a move to provide community, group, and home exercise programs for elderly people with mobility disability, it is very important to determine when and if a group setting versus individual therapy is appropriate, given the complex nature and chronic disease," she added. "It’s easier to focus on patients with only one chronic condition, but this study can apply to more general clinical settings rather than a specific population.”

King received her physical therapy training at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, and her PhD at Medical College of Virginia. She is a post-doctoral fellow at OHSU, where she has served as a coinvestigator on other grants under the mentorship of Fay Horak, PhD. The Clagett Family Research Grant will be her first grant where she serves as a principal investigator. The research project will also be conducted in collaboration with the Portland VA Medical Center in Portland, Ore.

The Clagett Family Research Grant was established by the Foundation to investigate exercise interventions for older adults living with multiple chronic conditions. The grant was made possible by the bequest of late couple Lansdale and Gladys Clagett, in gratitude for the physical therapy Lansdale received, enabling him to walk on his own again after living in a wheelchair for nearly 30 years.

The Foundation for Physical Therapy is a national, independent nonprofit organization that aims to improve the quality and delivery of physical therapy care by providing support for scientifically-based and clinically-relevant physical therapy research and doctoral scholarships and fellowships.

[Source: Foundation for Physical Therapy]