Dr. Moh Malek becomes first Health Care Sciences faculty member awarded Outstanding Graduate Mentor by Wayne State

WSU Applebaum Professor of Physical Therapy Moh Malek recently received the 2023 Outstanding Graduate Mentor award from the Wayne State University Graduate School, becoming the first faculty member in the Department of Health Care Sciences to earn this recognition. Along with WSU Applebaum Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice Kyle Burghardt, who received a Career Development Chair award, Malek was honored at the university's Academic Recognition Ceremony on April 27.

Dr. Moh H. Malek (right) with Health Care Science Chair Diane Adamo  at Wayne State's Academic Recognition Ceremony.
Dr. Moh H. Malek (right) with Health Care Sciences Chair Diane Adamo at the WSU Academic Recognition Ceremony.

Since 1994, the Outstanding Graduate Mentor award has been presented to graduate faculty recognized by their department and graduate students as excellent graduate mentors. Up to four awards are granted annually in four discipline categories: Natural Sciences and Engineering; Health Sciences; Social Sciences, Education and Business; and Arts and Humanities. Honorees must demonstrate abilities to advise, support, sponsor and inspire graduate students in making progress toward completion of their degrees and becoming members of a larger professional community.

"Dr. Malek's mentorship style has served as an excellent model to integrate the goals of our DPT program to provide firsthand research experience to our students while establishing a productive research line for him," said Heatlh Care Sciences Chair Diane Adamo. "He has earned and deserves this prestigious recognition for mentoring our graduate students."

Malek has been a faculty member of the WSU Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences since 2010 and is known for his mentorship of students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. As part of the curriculum, students in the DPT program are required to select a faculty mentor and conduct a research project, which is then presented at WSU Applebaum's College Research Day in their last semester of the program.

"As the faculty mentor, I am cognizant of my students' time, since they are in a clinically intensive program rather than a PhD program. Nevertheless, I have students involved in all aspects of research from developing the research question to collecting/analyzing the data to writing the manuscript," Malek said. "This immersion on a focused research question allows our DPT students to take ownership of the project rather than collecting data on a predetermined faculty project."

Indeed, this mentorship model was echoed by Malek's past and present research groups, who nominated him for this award. In their letters, Malek's students described how he would help guide them through the various aspects of research design so that they could anticipate any potential issues that would arise during the project.

"The questions I would ask them were specific to developing their critical thinking skills which not only helps in research but will serve them well as physical therapists," Malek said.

Many of his DPT students have become clinical directors or owners of physical therapy clinics and have indicated that his mentorship style formed the foundation of how they interact with their staff.

A sample of the breadth and depth of research Malek's groups have conducted:

Determining the efficacy of caffeine supplementation

Determining the role of placebo-effect

Examining the role of fast-tempo music on neuromuscular fatigue

Examining the role of preferred versus non-preferred music pre-task

Comparing neuromuscular responses to exercise between elite runners and healthy controls

Validating a model to determine the neuromuscular fatigue threshold

Differences in limb dominance

Using different mathematical models to describe neuromuscular fatigue outcome variables

The role of cognitive fatigue on muscle recruitment during exercise

The role of previous exercise on priming the neuromuscular response

Intersession reliability of the electromyographic signal during incremental cycle ergometry

Physical therapists are dynamic health professionals who develop, coordinate and utilize select knowledge, skills and techniques in planning, organizing and directing programs for the care of individuals whose ability to function is impaired or threatened by disease or injury. The goal of PT is to enhance a person's quality of life and their ability to participate in activities. The Doctor of Physical Therapy program application process opens July 1 and the deadline is Oct. 15. WSU Applebaum information meetings for prospective students take place at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month.

An anchor in urban health care

The Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is built on more than 100 years of tradition and innovation in the heart of Detroit. We have grown deep roots in our city, harnessing its powerhouse hospital systems and community service organizations as vibrant, real-world training grounds for students, with an ongoing focus on social justice in health care. And our research at all levels - from undergraduates to veteran faculty members - translates into creative solutions for healthier communities.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering approximately 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 24,000 students.

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