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The function of the OPTA Research Fund is to promote and support research studies relative to clinical practice, education or administration which will enhance the profession of physical therapy. This is provided through grants for approved activities.


The OPTA Research Committee offers funding opportunities for research projects of interest to the PT/PTA community. Projects with substantial collaboration among clinical and academic researchers will receive priority consideration during the review process.

Our small grant program typically funds smaller budget projects or partially funds larger projects. The range of requested funds in recent years has been $500 - $2800, with the highest scored projects receiving the amount of funding requested until all available money is awarded.

Want to learn more about how the Research Committee is raising funds to provide more research grants for the physical therapy profession? Watch our crowdfunding video here.


  • Grant applications are no longer being accepted for the 2019-2020 cycle.
  • The application and review form for the 2020-2021 cycle will be available on this page starting June 1, 2020.
  • Recipients of grants for the 2019-2020 cycle were announced at OPTimize MOVEment on Sept. 27 (see below).

QUESTIONS? Contact Research Committee at



One of the goals of OPTA Research Committee is to promote research collaboration among clinicians and academicians who have similar research interests. If you are interested in engaging in collaborative research, please open the Google Sheet document (linked here) and select either Researcher or Clinician and populate the required information. Changes are automatically saved. 

2019 Research Grant Award Recipients

The OPTA Research Committee would like to recognize and congratulate the following researchers, along with their respective team members, as the 2019 OPTA Research Grant recipients. This year's winning projects were chosen from exceptional applications and will receive funds to support clinical site fees, equipment costs, and participant support costs. 


PROJECT: "The Effects of Bilateral Knee Pain & Dry Needling on Laterality Recognition, Movement & Function"

  • Principal Investigator: Cody Mansfield, PT, DPT, AT, OCS, FAAOMPT
  • Co-Investigators: Matt Briggs, PT, DPT, PhD, SCS, AT; Jimmy Onate, PhD, AT, ATC, FNATA; Laura Boucher, PhD, AT, ATC



PROJECT: "An Investigation of Child-Caregiver Interactions in the Motor Behaviors of Children with Cerebral Palsy"

  • Principal Investigator:  Sarah Schwab, PT, DPT
  • Co-Investigators: Paula Silva, PhD; Michael Riley, PhD


PROJECT: "Influence of Sensory System Constraints on Brain Activity During Postural Control Task Performance"

  • Principal Investigator:  David Sherman, PT, DPT, ATC
  • Co-Investigators: Grant Norte, PhD, ATC, CSCS; Jochen Baumeister, PhD

OPTimize 2019 Best Platform Presentation

PROJECT: "Initiation of Physical Therapy in Pediatric Patients with Lateral Ankle Pain: A Retrospective Therapy"

  • Investigators: from Sports and Orthopedic Physical Therapy, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus

    · Megan Cass, PT, DPT

    · Mitchell Selhorst, PT, DPT, OCS

OPTimize 2019 Best Poster Presentation

PROJECT: "The Effects of Therapeutic Riding of Social Skills and Sensory Functioning in Children with Autism"

  • Investigators: from the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Dayton

    · Betsy Donahoe-Filmore, PT, PhD

    · Students: Jenna Behnfeldt, SPT; Jordan Bevins, SPT; Cristin Carter, SPT; Stephanie Dailey, SPT; Kelsey Haynes, SPT; Christy Lee, SPT; Sarah Soboslay, SPT and Allison Richard, SPT


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