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PT Students in Patient Lab

May 18, 2020 

University of Pittsburgh Physical Therapy Professor Janet Freburger and Assistant Professor Joel Stevans will help create and lead the Learning Health Systems Rehabilitation Research Network (LeaRRn), a national resource network to advance rehabilitation learning health systems (LHS) research. LeaRRn will be funded through a $5.5 million grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health.  

LeaRRn is a collaborative effort of Brown University, the University of Pittsburgh and Boston University. Health system partners include the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, BAYADA Home Health Care, Boston Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic, Intermountain Healthcare, Johns Hopkins Medicine, naviHealth and UPMC. 

LHS research is scientific inquiry that is embedded in real-world health care systems with the goal of informing actions and decision-making to improve the quality and outcomes of health care. LeaRRn plans to transform the delivery, quality and outcomes of rehabilitation care by:  

1) creating an LHS Innovation Hub that partners researchers with health care systems and engages stakeholders, including patients, providers, administrators, payers and policymakers to develop rehabilitation-focused LHS research questions  
2) providing funding and methodological/technical support for LHS scholars and pilot study awardees to transform research ideas into full-scale studies conducted in real-world practice 
3) developing a knowledge repository, tailoring LHS resources for rehabilitation and disseminating materials to advance best practices in rehabilitation LHS research.  

LeaRRn’s principal investigator (PI) is Dr. Linda Resnik, Department of Health Services, Policy and Practice, Brown University. Dr. Freburger, Department of Physical Therapy, is the site PI for the University of Pittsburgh. Boston University’s site PI is Dr. Mary Slavin, Department of Health Law, Policy and Management.  

Dr. Freburger will direct the LHS Innovation Hub and will lead the Collaborative Opportunities Component of LeaRRn jointly with Rosa Baier MPH from Brown University School of Public Health. Dr. Joel Stevans, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Pittsburgh, will lead the Techniques Development Component of LeaRRn.  

The University of Pittsburgh's entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program, housed in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS), is currently ranked first in the nation based on the most recent surveys of Best Graduate Schools by U.S. News & World Report. No other program ranks higher in the state of Pennsylvania. The Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh is one of the oldest physical therapist educational programs in the United States, having started in 1927.  

Other programs offered through SHRS include Audiology/Speech-Language Pathology, Athletic Training/Sports Medicine/Sports Science, Counseling, Emergency Medicine, Health Information Management, Nutrition Science/Nutrition and Dietetics, Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, Prosthetics and Orthotics, Rehabilitation Science (undergraduate program) and Rehabilitation Technology. 

Media Contact:

Amerigo Allegretto
Communications Specialist
University of Pittsburgh
O: 412-624-6128
C: 814-512-8930


Department of Physical Therapy


Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Science
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Doctor of Physical Therapy/Doctor of Philosophy in Bioengineering
Post Professional Program in Physical Therapy
Undergraduate Program in Rehabilitation Science