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Palisano Recognized as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)

Philadelphia, PA, May 23, 2011

Robert J. Palisano, PT, ScD, Professor, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Nursing and Health Professions, at Drexel University will be formally recognized as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the association's highest accolade, at its national conference in Baltimore, in June.  The fellowship is named for Catherine Worthingham, PT, PhD, a widely respected leader in the discipline for more than 50 years. Palisano is among an elite group.  The fellowship category was established in 1980.  He is among 135 of the association's 77,000 members who serve as Worthingham Fellows.  The Worthingham Fellows meet annually to provide comments to the APTA's Board of Directors on a variety of issues within the field.  

Robert J. PalisanoSusan Smith, PT, PhD, Associate Dean for Research and Health Professions Graduate Education, and Department Chair, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Department, nominated Palisano for the honor.  She explains, "Palisano is being recognized for his ongoing, sustained contributions in research, education, and practice.  His landmark classification system for children with cerebral palsy has fundamentally changed the way pediatric physical therapy is delivered worldwide. His evidence-based service delivery models are now part of best-practice standards in pediatrics."
Over a distinguished career of 35 years, Palisano has become world-renowned as a leader in pediatric physical therapy clinical research and education. He has been an investigator on research grants funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Shriners Hospitals for Children, the Foundation for Physical Therapy, and the Section on Pediatrics, APTA. His research on development of the Gross Motor Function Classification System, motor development curves for children and youth with cerebral palsy, determinants of participation of children and youth with cerebral palsy, and the influence of environmental factors on methods of mobility of children and youth with cerebral palsy have made a major interdisciplinary impact on clinical practice and research involving children with physical disabilities worldwide. Palisano has advised or served on the advisory committee for thesis and dissertation research of over 50 physical therapists. He is associate editor for the textbook Physical Therapy for Children that is in a 4th edition. His position as Co-Editor of Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics and service as manuscript reviewer for several journals and grants allows him to elevate, focus, and shape interdisciplinary pediatric literature.

With a professional reputation built on his excellence in research and subsequent translation into practice, Palisano has never lost the insight of being a practitioner or what families and children need. He includes families and therapists in the development of his research projects and works as a consultant to a number of programs in helping with development and research to support program needs. 
With APTA, Palisano has been involved with the sections on Pediatrics, Neurology, and Research and the Foundation for Physical Therapy. He is a member of the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Development Medicine, and the Drexel University Chapter of Alpha Eta Society.

In addition to Drexel, Palisano serves as associate professor at McMaster University, Ontario, Canada, and an investigator for the university’s CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research.  He has been on the scientific staff at Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia and a research consultant for Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD. 

Palisano received a BS in Physical Therapy from the State University of New York at Buffalo, an MS in Physical Therapy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a ScD in Therapeutic Studies from Boston University. He received a post-doctoral Career Scientist Award from the Ontario Ministry of Health.