Early in her career as an occupational therapist, Anne Zachry, PhD, OTR/L, was involved in treating a 3-year-old patient who sustained a traumatic brain injury that resulted in the child having upper extremity weakness and persistent tremors, making even the most basic daily tasks difficult.
Dr. Zachry, now chair of the Occupational Therapy Department in the College of Health Professions at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, said at the time, she searched for evidence-based treatment approaches. “There was a paucity of available research to draw upon when designing OT interventions to use in practice,” she said. “Still I knew every time I worked with my patient that I would never give up.”
By the time the young girl was discharged, she could feed herself independently.
The experience with this case ultimately motivated Dr. Zachry to pursue advanced degrees, including earning her research doctorate, and most recently completing the Harvard Medical School Global Clinical Scholars Research Training program.
The one-year, post-graduate training program enrolls three cohorts and provides clinicians and scientists progressive training in the methods and implementation of clinical research, with an emphasis on team-based learning. Training is offered online and onsite through coursework and training sessions. Participants are selected from a pool of medical professionals from around the world, who have prior clinical research experience and whose work has appeared in one or more publications.
Completing the program’s clinical trials concentration will allow Dr. Zachry to continue her research in OT interventions.
“I hope to carry out translational research, with a focus on implementing programs that will directly impact health disparities,” Dr. Zachry said. “The scholars program allowed me to work in teams, network, and learn from researchers all over the world, and it was a true honor to work with professionals with a variety of experiences from such diverse backgrounds.”