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Please note, we are not currently recruiting for the RRCD Program.


The Rehabilitation Research Career Development (RRCD) Program educates and trains future rehabilitation scientists. The program is funded by the National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (K12 HD055929).

UTMB Ashbel Smith BuildingUniversity of Texas Medical Branch

UF TowerUniversity of Florida

USC Bovard HallUniversity of Southern California

The RRCD program is geared towards rehabilitation scholars who are occupational and physical therapists, and builds on the extensive rehabilitation research infrastructure of the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB Health), the University of Florida (UF), and the University of Southern California (USC), along with a network of NCMRR Research Infrastructure Cores, VA Centers of Excellence, rehabilitation research institutes, and physical and occupational therapy departments nationwide.

Physical and occupational therapy scholars from across the nation are recruited and trained to become future leaders and mentors in rehabilitation. Scholars acquire extensive research experience, generate, analyze, present and publish research data, and become equipped to compete for independent external research funding. The program takes advantage of its extensive rehabilitation research network to negotiate faculty positions in research supportive academic environments.

News and Announcements

Program Update

The RRCD Program is fully operational from remote locations. Please be patient as we work through this new process.



Every year, the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) bestows awards and honors to individuals that contribute time, energy, and support to the fulfillment of the AOTF mission- advancing the science of occupational therapy. The awards are presented annually at the AOTA/AOTF Awards Ceremony. Congratulations to the following RRCD Scholars being honored at this year's event.

  • ACADEMY OF RESEARCH - Shawn C. Roll, PhD, OTR/L, RMSKS, FAOTA, FAIUM, University of Southern California Los Angeles, California
  • AOTF EARLY CAREER RESEARCH EXCELLENCE AWARD - Chih-Ying "Cynthia" Li, PhD, OTR/L, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston,
  • AOTF A. JEAN AYRES AWARD - Leah Stein Duker, PhD, OTR/L, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
photo of woman RRCD Scholar MJ Lee, PhD, BSOT has been awarded $87,327 from the Department of Veterans Affairs for her one year project, "Identifying Risk Factors for Rural Veteran Institutionalization Using Artificial Intelligence," with Co-PI Gail Castaneda.
Amber Angell, PhD, OTR/L RRCD Scholar Amber Angell, PhD, OTR/L received a 2020 American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) Health Services Research Grant, "Health Services Utilization of Autistic Youth - Are Therapeutic Services Associated with Reduced Acute Psychiatric Care?"
Dr. Angell  "As a RRCD K12 Scholar, I have had numerous opportunities – for mentorship, training, coursework, travel, collaboration, and scholarship – that I would not otherwise have," says Dr. Angell.

"The support of the K12 award enables me to devote time to getting my research lab up and running; to travel to NIH-funded labs across the country to learn about innovative and groundbreaking research being carried out by leaders in the field; and to present my work at national research conferences, with opportunities for constructive feedback from other scientists." Read more from Dr. Angell about the RRCD Program.
graphic A new scientific journal article has been published, Data Science in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Opportunities and Challenges, by Division Director Ken Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR and colleagues James Graham, PhD, DC, Professor of Occupational Therapy and Director of the Center for Community Partnerships (CCP) from Colorado State University and Steve Fisher, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at UTMB.

Key points

  • Data science represents a new approach to developing knowledge in biomedical research.
  • Data science is producing innovative ways to acquire, store, analyze, and interpret large amounts of diverse medical and health-related information.
  • The implementation of data science will enhance the ability of physical medicine and rehabilitation to reduce disability and improve health care services and outcomes.

Emily J. Fox, PT, DPT, PhD, received a $2.36M grant from the DoD Congressional Directed Medical Research Program (DOD CDMRP).  The 2-year project will study Acute Intermittent Hypoxia and Respiratory Strength Training to Improve Breathing Function after [Spinal Cord Injury] (SCI) at the University of Florida.

LiewSookLei The dataset, known as Anatomical Tracings of Lesion After Stroke (ATLAS), is now available for download; researchers around the world already are using the scans to develop and test algorithms that can automatically process MRI images from stroke patients.

“One of our goals is to meta-analyze thousands of stroke MRIs from around the world to understand how the lesions impact recovery,” said Sook-Lei Liew, PhD, OTR/L lead author of the study and assistant professor with joint appointments at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Read full article...

This article is also published here:
LiewSookLei Sook-Lei Liew was awarded a Mentored Research Scientist Development (K01) Award from the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research in the NICHD (grant# K01 HD091283) beginning April, 2017.
AddieMiddleton J. Addie Middleton accepted a faculty position at the Medical University of South Carolina in July, 2017. In addition, she was the recipient of a faculty fellowship from the Center on Health Services Training and Research in June, 2017.
NICHD-vertical-2-color graphic The RRCD program is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (K12HD055929). It has been renewed for an additional five years, through August, 2022.
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Contact Us: The RRCD is supported by the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences at UTMB
Phone 409.747.1637 | Email | Follow us on Twitter: @UTMB_RehabSci