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Lisa Chiarello

Contact Information

  • 267.359.5532
  • 267.359.5576 F
  • Health Sciences Building, Room 11W39

Lisa Chiarello


Interim Chair, Professor, Director of DHSc program in Rehabilitation Sciences

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Department

Lisa Chiarello, PhD, is a tenured professor and director of the DHSc Program in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences. She received a PhD in physical therapy from Hahnemann University. Her research focuses on family-centered care, early intervention and school-based practice, child and family engagement in therapy and participation of children in their home, school and community life. She is interested in comprehensive rehabilitation research designs, appreciating the complex interactions between the person and the environment in determining outcomes.

Chiarello is currently co-investigator (CI) for the Engagement in Pediatric Rehabilitation project, a multi-phased study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. She has been principal investigator (PI), Co-PI, or CI for several multi-site longitudinal grants for children with motor disabilities, funded by hospital, federal and international agencies. Chiarello is a recognized national and international speaker to health professionals, educators and families. She is dedicated to promoting knowledge translation and supporting therapists in implementing evidence-informed practice.

Academic Distinctions

Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions Faculty Teaching Innovation Award, 2005

Faculty Fellowships

American Physical Therapy Association, Catherine Worthingham Fellow

Professional Society

American Physical Therapy Association: Chiarello has served the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy as the chair of the early intervention special interest group, nominating committee, and practice committees as well as Region IV director.

CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability: Associate member

Early Childhood Personnel Center: Interdisciplinary Personnel Standards Council

Selected Publications

  • Chiarello, L. A., Palisano, R., Avery, L., Hanna, S., On Track Study Team. (2020). Longitudinal trajectories and reference percentiles for participation in family and recreational activities of children with cerebral palsy. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, Early online May.
  • Chiarello, L. A., Effgen, S., Jeffries, L., McCoy, S. W., Tezanos, A. G. V. (2020). Relationship of School-based Physical Therapy Services to Student Goal Achievement. Pediatric Physical Therapy, 32(1), 26-33.
  • King, G., Chiarello, L. A., Ideishi, R., D’Arrigo, R., Smart, E., Ziviani, J., Pinto, M. (2020). The nature, value, and experience of engagement in pediatric rehabilitation: Perspectives of youth, caregivers, and service providers. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 23(1), 18-30.
  • Chiarello, L., Bartlett, D., Palisano, R., McCoy, S., Jeffries, L., Fiss, A., Wilk, P. (2019). Determinants of playfulness of young children with cerebral palsy. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 22(4), 240-249.
  • Chiarello, L. (2017). Excellence in promoting participation: Striving for the 10 Cs. Pediatric Physical Therapy, 29, S16-22.

Grant participation:

  • Chiarello L, Palisano R. Preparing Children with Cerebral Palsy for Successful Community Participation: A Pilot Study on the Feasibility and Effectiveness of Participation-based Outpatient Tele-Rehabilitation. CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, Co-Principal Investigator, 2017-2018.
  • King G, Wright V, Ziviani J, Chiarello L, Poulsen A, Schwellnus H, Ideishi R. Engagement in the Pediatric Rehabilitation Intervention Process: Its Nature, Measurement, and Role in the Determination of Outcomes. Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Co-investigator, 2014-2020.
  • McCoy SW, Bartlett D, Palisano R, Chiarello L, Jeffries L, LaForme Fiss A, Hanna S, Bjornson K. Developmental Trajectories of Impairments, Health, and Participation of Children with Cerebral Palsy. Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Co-investigator, 2013-2016.
  • Bartlett D, McCoy S, Chiarello L, Jeffries L, Fiss A, Palisano R, Hanna S, Gorter J. Developmental Trajectories of Impairments, Associated Health Conditions, and Participation of Young Children with Cerebral Palsy. Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Co-Investigator, 2012-2017.
  • Effgen S, McCoy S, Chiarello L, Jeffries L. Relationship of Student Outcomes to School-Based Physical Therapy Services”. Institute of Education Sciences, Co-Principal Investigator, 2011-2014.
  • Bartlett D, Chiarello L, McCoy S, Jeffries L, Fiss A. Collaboration with Parents and Therapists to Develop Dissemination Products from the Move and PLAY Study. Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Co-Investigator, 2010-2011.
  • Chiarello L, Bartlett D, Palisano R, McCoy S, & Rosenbaum P. Understanding the Determinants of Motor Abilities, Self-Care, and Play in Young Children with Cerebral Palsy. National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Grant # H133G060254 Principal Investigator, 11/06-10/09.
  • Bartlett D, Chiarello L, Palisano R, McCoy S, & Rosenbaum P. Understanding the Determinants of Motor Abilities, Self-Care, and Play in Young Children with Cerebral Palsy. Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Co-Investigator, 10/06-9/09.
  • Palisano R, Chiarello L, Orlin M, McCarthy J, Mulcahey MJ, Sanders J, Vogel L, Anderson C, & Smith B. Activity and Participation of Children with Cerebral Palsy. Shriners Clinical Outcomes Program, $850,000, Co-Investigator, 2006-2008.

Editorial review board membership:

Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, associate editor, 2016-present; editorial board member, 2006-present

Research Interests

Research and areas of expertise include early intervention and school-based therapy; family-centered care and engagement of children and families in therapy; and participation of children with disabilities in home, school, and community life.

View Research Profile


Pediatric physical therapy

  • Hahnemann University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, PhD, May 1993
    Pediatric Physical Therapy, Cognate Area: Family Therapy
    Dissertation: “Influence of Physical Therapy on the Motor and Interactive Behaviors of Mothers and their Children with Motor Delay during Play"
  • Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York, BS, Summa Cum Laude, May 1983
    Major: Physical Therapy; Minor: Psychology