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The Department of Physical (PT) and Occupational (OT) Therapy actively participates in research at Boston Children’s Hospital by leading or collaborating on clinical trials and disseminating knowledge through teaching, publications, and presentations. Our therapists are either principal investigators of studies or participate as clinical evaluators in collaborative research with other departments.

Research performed includes multi-center, multi-phase studies as well as pilot studies and single-case or case-series. In the past, therapists have presented posters and platform-talks at national and international conferences. Some studies are contained within the department, while others are conducted in conjunction with other departments.

The department has established ‘top 10’ research priorities and these are periodically revised. In no specific order: (1) early mobility in the ICU, (2) dosing and timing of therapeutic interventions, (3) transition planning into adulthood (parental concerns and compliance), (4) identification of outcomes measures for best practice, (5) natural history of the ICF (International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health) domains related to therapy and selected populations, (6) rehabilitation of children with chronic pain disorders, (7) use of technology in pediatric rehabilitation, (8) management of the developing child with prolonged hospitalization, (9) inter-professional models of care, (10) effectiveness of knowledge translation on clinical practice.

Our therapists have access to research funds for intra-departmental pilot grants. These grants are established to further the research of PT and OT and facilitate the development of clinical trials that utilize the findings generated through this funding mechanism. This in turn may lead to external funding for larger research projects related to the area of study.

Our therapists regularly participate in and present at regional, national, and international conferences. Research studies have been published in or submitted for publication in journals of science, neurology, pain, psychology, and other specific professions.

Recent publications

Mirek, E., Logan, D., Boullard, K., Hall, A. M., Staffa, S. J., & Sethna, N. (2019). Physical Therapy Outcome Measures for Assessment of Lower Extremity Chronic Pain-Related Function in Pediatrics. Pediatric Physical Therapy, 31(2), 200–207.