Alexandra Parra, PT, DPT, Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH)/ George Washington University (GW) pediatric physical therapy (PT) resident, along with JHH colleague Meghan Moore, PT, DPT, NCS, STAR/C, received a $15,000 grant from the Thomas Wilson Sanitarium for Children of Baltimore City (the Foundation) to develop more effective procedures to diagnose Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) acquired weaknesses with the ultimate goal of enhancing patient treatment plans.
Parra recalls the idea for submitting a grant proposal came about during a routine residency training meeting, “Part of our residency program requires we meet biweekly for a didactic session, and a mentor brought up [how] physical therapists did not have good diagnostic procedures for PICU acquired weakness,”says Parra. Parra followed up with a discussion with her colleagues on how the team might improve its diagnostic capabilities. Sapna Kudchadkar, director of the PICU Clinical Research Program at JHH, encouraged Parra and Moore to develop a pilot program to improve diagnostic procedures and submit a proposal to the Foundation.
Founded in 1875, the Foundation funds medical initiatives aimed at improving the health and welfare of children in Baltimore. Parra felt the Foundation would be an excellent organization to submit her team’s proposal. Over the next several months, Parra and her JHH colleagues drafted a grant proposal. Before submitting the proposal to the Foundation, however, Parra thought it would be a good idea to obtain additional feedback and an outside perspective. Thanks to her dual role as a resident at JHH and GW, she was able to present her team’s grant proposal to GW PT faculty for additional feedback. “I presented our grant proposal to the faculty at GW for a brainstorming session and their feedback prompted us to revise our grant before final submission. I really would like to thank the entire faculty for their time and thoughts,” said Parra.
The grant will fund a one-year pilot study, with the goal of reducing the number of days children spend in the hospital. Regarding her residency experience, Parra says she “learned so much from this residency, more than I expected to learn, and it has made a world of difference in my professional career.”