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Dana McCarty, assistant professor in the Division of Physical Therapy within the UNC School of Medicine’s Department of Allied Health Sciences, recently received a P.E.O. Scholar Award.

P.E.O. Scholar Awards are merit-based and reserved for women pursuing doctoral degrees to support their studies and research.

McCarty is currently a PhD student in the Maternal and Child Health program at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, where her focus lies on determining the public health impact of physical therapy interventions in neonatal intensive care settings. She combines her clinical physical therapy experience in the NICU with asking important questions about how socio-demographic factors may affect physical therapy interventions in the hospital, especially considering how support of the parents and overall family unit can positively impact the patient’s progress.

“I am grateful to P.E.O. Chapel Hill, Chapter CN, for nominating me for this national award and recognizing the potential for my scholarly work,” said McCarty. “I am excited to continue my education and research and hope to give back through the mentorship of women who will become leaders in the fields of public health and physical therapy.”

McCarty was one of 100 women who received the national award of $20,000 for the 2022-2023 academic year. 775 women were nominated for P.E.O. Scholar Awards this year.

P.E.O. Chapter CN’s Scholar Award committee received interest forms from women in all areas of graduate studies. Students sent their CV, research interest and a personal statement outlining their goals after graduation. After interviewing the students, Chapter CN recommended those that they felt had the greatest potential to make a significant contribution to society and their chosen fields.

“In 2022, P.E.O. Chapter CN was fortunate to have sponsored two women from UNC for this competitive, merit-based award,” said Carolyn McCain, president of P.E.O. Chapter CN, and chair of the Scholar Awards committee. “Dana McCarty’s incredible academic record, publications, and student mentoring, in addition her research to help support parents of preterm infants, made her an exceptional candidate for this award.”

The Department of Allied Health Sciences is located within the UNC School of Medicine and is home to seven divisions and various programs, units and centers. The Division of Physical Therapy offers three degree programs, three residency programs, research opportunities, clinical service and continuing education opportunities. Its Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is ranked #9 in the country according to U.S. News & World Report.

P.E.O., with chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada, is a women’s philanthropic organization that promotes education for women. The Chapel Hill-Durham area has nine local chapters that work on projects to assist women achieve their educational goals.