WSU Applebaum's Dr. Nora Fritz earns APTA Eugene Michels New Investigator Award

Wayne State University Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Associate Professor of Physical Therapy and Neurology Nora Fritz was recently awarded the 2023 Eugene Michels New Investigator Award from the American Physical Therapy Association.

Dr. Nora Fritz
Associate Professor of Physical Therapy and Neurology Nora Fritz, PT, DPT, PhD

“This is a major honor from a professional organization that represents 100,000 PTs, PT assistants and PT students across the country,” said Associate Dean for Health Sciences Sara Maher. “We are incredibly proud of Nora’s ongoing research accomplishments and grateful that she’s a valued member of our Doctor of Physical Therapy program team.”

The Eugene Michels New Investigator Award recognizes licensed physical therapists who have engaged in independent or collaborative research efforts within 10 years of completing their most recent physical therapy professional degree, postprofessional doctoral degree (other than a transition DPT degree) or postprofessional doctoral fellowship. Qualifying nominees may work in any aspect of physical therapy including but not limited to research, education, clinical practice and consultation.

“It is an honor just to be nominated for this award,” said Fritz, who serves as director of research for WSU Applebaum’s Health Care Sciences department and heads the Neuroimaging and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory (NNL). “When I was notified that I was one of two winners this year, it was a thrill to be recognized for the hard work our lab has been doing, and to join the prestigious list previous award winners. I am so grateful for the support of the supportive environment and leadership at WSU Applebaum and for the nomination from my collaborators.”

One such collaborator is Dr. Lori Quinn, professor of movement sciences and kinesiology at Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York, who said, “Dr. Fritz’s research achievements in just seven years at Wayne State University are remarkable. She has two active NIH grants; an NMSS Research Grant; an NMSS Mentored Postdoctoral Fellowship in Rehabilitation Research; and multiple internal, foundation and industry sponsored grants. While Dr. Fritz has proven to be a successful researcher by any standards, most importantly I believe her research is having and will continue to have an impact on the profession of physical therapy.”

Another nomination came from Dr. Tara L. McIsaac, professor of physical therapy at the Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions in Phoenix, who said, “Nora’s work has influenced how we work with individuals with neurodegenerative diseases in clinical practice, and in how we teach DPT students and residents of neurologic physical therapy programs. Nora is on a steep upward trajectory with no signs of slowing.”

Pictured at top

Members of the NNL research lab team, from left: Zade Abou-Rass (undergraduate student), Michael VanNostrand (postdoctoral fellow), Dr. Nora Fritz, Alexis Chargo (PhD student in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, mentored by Dr. Ana Daugherty), Taylor Takla (PhD student in translational neuroscience) and Patrick Monaghan (postdoctoral fellow).

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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