Physical Therapy

Faculty News

LIRA Exercise Program: The University of Massachusetts Lowell Physical Therapy Department offered to Learning in Retirement Association (LIRA) members the opportunity to participate in a supervised, group exercise program. Six LIRA members were instructed by UMass Lowell faculty and students in a 10 week program that started on October 18, 2011 and met at in Chelmsford, MA on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

UMass Lowell Fitness Center for Neurologic Dysfunction: The new UMass Lowell Fitness Center for Neurologic Dysfunction provides rehabilitation services to individuals with neurologic diseases.  The program was developed by two UMass Lowell physical therapy faculty members; Connie Seymour and Gerry Dybel and has been funded by a private grant from the Travelli fund.  The program provides much needed exercise maintenance care to individuals with chronic neurologic diseases which is not reimbursed by traditional insurance.  An additional benefit to the program is the opportunity for exercise physiology and physical therapist students to experience hands-on application of clinical skills during the early phase of their professional education.  Students are supervised by faculty who are licensed physical therapists from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. 

HELP: The Healthy Elder Living Program (HELP) has been in existence for over 8 years and provides community dwelling elders from D'Youville Community Living Center in Lowell an opportunity to participate in traditional and video gaming (Wii) exercise as well as health literacy education.   HELP was developed by a UMass Lowell physical therapy faculty member (Connie Seymour) and a transitional Doctorate of Physical Therapy student (Stephen Cannon) whose research on frail elders identified a need for professional "coaching" to address healthy behaviors.  Initial programming consisted of an intervention for at risk homebound elders identified as needing assistance with health behaviors.  Students from various departments in the School of Health and Environment participated in the program as "coaches" for the elderly clients.  Currently the program provides two classes taught by UMass Lowell exercise physiology students.  Additionally one exercise physiology intern is assisting with the classes and developing new strategies to enhance elder participation in the program.

A community based social networking intervention to increase walking in dog owners:  Principal Investigator: Kristin Schneider (UMass Medical School) Co-Principal Investigators: Stephanie Lemon (UMass Medical School), Cynthia Ferrara (UMass Lowell), Deirdra Murphy (UMass Lowell) The research study aims to develop and initially test a community dog walking intervention that addresses individual, interpersonal and community factors associated with dog walking. The project will demonstrate initial efficacy for the dog walking intervention, which will provide pilot data for a study examining the dissemination of the intervention and the impact of the intervention on policies and changes in the walkability and dog-friendliness of the community.  The study will be conducted in two cities, Worcester and Lowell, as a collaboration between investigators from UMass Medical School and UMass Lowell.  The study is funded by The Clinical and Translational Science Award (UMASS CTSA) Pilot Award Project.  The UMASS CTSA award NIH grant fund # ULIRRO31982 with an award amount of $175,000 over two years.