Jennifer Stevens-Lapsley Recognized as Catherine Worthingham FellowCU Physical Therapy May 21, 2020
Congratulations to Professor Jennifer Stevens-Lapsley, PT, PhD, FAPTA on being recognized as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow. The FAPTA designation is the highest honor among APTA’s membership categories.
Dr. Stevens-Lapsley is an outstanding scientist who has made a significant contribution to the scientific basis of physical therapy for over two decades.
Former Program Director Margaret Schenkman, PT, PhD, FAPTA, noted, “Jennifer is an exceptional scientist, who is motivated to make an impact within the physical therapy profession, with a vision for advancing the profession through her own work and a deep commitment to inspire physical therapists and physical therapy students to attain the high level of professional excellence and impact on the profession.”
She came to the University of Colorado Physical Therapy Program in 2006, after obtaining a PhD in Biomechanics at the University of Delaware and completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Florida. In addition to her faculty role, Dr. Stevens-Lapsley is the Director of the Rehabilitation Science PhD Program and a Health Scientist with the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center at the VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System.
“Dr. Stevens-Lapsley is a highly respected investigator at the Anschutz Medical Campus and broadly within the physical therapy profession,” said current Program Director Michael Harris-Love, PT, DSc, FGSA.
During her time at the University of Delaware, she began work that she continues to this day related to interventions for those who have undergone joint arthroplasty. Over the past decade, she has further expanded her research to focus on progressive interventions for medically complex patients in post-acute settings. She has successfully developed collaborative relationships with a number of excellent nursing care facilities and home health agencies to implement programs designed to increase the intensity of intervention, while tailoring rehabilitation to the physiological capacity of each patient. She has also focused on developing high quality, interactive, online educational resources to bring the latest evidence-based practice to clinicians treating these medically complex patient populations.
Dr. Stevens-Lapsley’s research has been continuously and substantially funded for over two decades. She is currently principal investigator on five R01 grants, and co-investigator on another four NIH grants. As noted by several colleagues, this level of funding clearly places her among the most elite of physical therapist researchers. In addition to her research efforts, she has published over 140 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and is first or senior author of over half. She, her PhD students, and other mentees and collaborators have presented nearly 100 platform and poster presentations in the past five years alone at national conferences including the APTA CSM and at conferences of other professions such as the Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Hip Society, and the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons. Dr. Stevens-Lapsley has been invited to speak nationally and internationally.
“Dr. Stevens-Lapsley’s recognition as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow is fitting given the scope of her contributions,” said Harris-Love. “Her work with medically complex patients has implications for how we care for our patients, how we educate our students, and how we advocate for access to physical therapy.”
In 2019, she was awarded both the APTA Marian Williams Research Award and the Dorothy Briggs Memorial Scientific Inquiry Award.
She has served as primary mentor to 11 doctoral students since 2008, five postdoctoral fellows, and committee member for 12 additional doctoral students at the University of Colorado and elsewhere. Jennifer has distinguished herself as a remarkable mentor; the quality of her mentorship is evidenced by the Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring Award that she received from the University of Colorado in 2016.
In 2017, she was appointed to serve on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) NCMRR National Advisory Board on Medical Rehabilitation for a 3-year term. Dr. Stevens-Lapsley also influences the profession through her membership on the Editorial Board of PTJ, which she joined in 2019.
Catherine Worthingham, PT, PhD, FAPTA, was a change agent who was effective, respectful, and honest, and motivated others to make an impact within the physical therapy profession. She was also a visionary who demonstrated leadership across the domains of advocacy, education, practice, and research.
The purpose of the Catherine Worthingham Fellow designation (FAPTA) is to honor Dr. Worthingham and inspire all physical therapists to attain the high level of professional excellence and impact in terms of advancing the profession she exemplified.