Faculty from UNC’s Physical Therapy (PT) division and the Department of Exercise and Sports Science met in early November on the UNC campus with fellow PT faculty from the School of Health Sciences at Winston-Salem State University to brainstorm ideas for future collaboration. As the group of 20 shared current research, they realized avenues of common interests. In breakout groups, the investigators brain
stormed ideas in the areas of falls prevention, health disparities and interprofessional education. The group also generated ideas around creating research opportunities for doctoral students.
The idea to join in research endeavors came after UNC PT researchers Debbie Thorpe, PT, PhD, and Vicki Mercer, PT, PhD, noted overlaps in the research interests of faculty at the two institutions in the areas of multiple sclerosis, stroke, biomechanical research, and health equity and disparities. Some PTs had already formed research relationships, including Sara Migliarese (WSSU) and Prue Plummer, PhD, PT (UNC), as well as Judy Foxworth, a former UNC doctoral student who now is on faculty at WSSU, and UNC’s Brian Pietrosimone, PhD, ATC. The interest in collaboration also stems from one of the strategic initiatives of the DAHS Research Advisory Committee: namely, to reduce health disparities through connections with minority-serving universities, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The two groups plan to meet again in the spring – this time at WSSU’s campus – as the research wheels continue to turn among meeting participants.