Visit the Synapse Education Center

Neurology Awards & Accolades 2008

Service to the Section Excellence in Research
Clinical Excellence Golden Synapse
Student President's Award

Service to the Section

Purpose: To acknowledge and honor a member of the Neurology Section whose contributions to the Section have been of exceptional value.

Recipient: Vanina Dal Bello-Haas, PT, PhD

Dr. Vanina Dal Bello-Haas received her Ph.D. in Learning and Development from Cleveland State University in 2002 and presently is an associate professor in the School of Physical Therapy at the University of Saskatchewan. She is considered an expert on physical therapy management of patients with ALS. She is also an accomplished researcher with a record of research funding and publication of many articles and book chapters. As the recipient of the APTA Neurology Section Service Award, Dr. Dal Bello-Haas is being recognized for her longstanding contributions to the Neurology Section. She was one of the founding members of the Degenerative Diseases Special Interest Group, serves as an abstract reviewer and contributor to the Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy, and regularly contributes to APTA Annual and CSM conference programming.

As the first Secretary to the DDSIG, she assisted with the development of the web page and the addition of a provider directory. Dr. Dal Bello-Haas was elected Chair in 2002. The DDSIG continued to thrive under her strong and effective leadership. She invested a considerable amount of time to re-develop the web page for the effective dissemination of information and resources, including evidence-based practice. Dr. Dal Bello-Haas was tireless in her goal to enhance the relationship between practice, research and education for the neurodegenerative diseases. She developed mechanisms for contributions to Hooked on Evidence, facilitated DDSIG executive participation in Topics of the Month, and assisted with the publication of newsletters.

Dr. Dal Bello-Haas' service extends beyond her direct service to the DDSIG. Two articles published in the JNPT Degenerative Diseases special issue, a CSM 2008 presentation on Exercise Prescription in Neurodegenerative Diseases, and a Concentrated Educational Session on Neurodegenerative Diseases for APTA 2008 Annual conference are examples of her significant contributions to the Neurology Section. The Neurology Section is honored to recognize Dr. Dal Bello-Haas as the recipient of the Service to Section Award.

For a list of past award recipients, please click here.

Clinical Excellence

Purpose: To acknowledge and honor a member of the Neurology Section whose major professional involvement is currently with the practice of neurologic physical therapy.

Recipient: M Kay Wing, PT, DPT, GCS, NCS

Can you imagine how many thousands of lives a clinician with over 30 years of experience has touched - Kay Wing can imagine. As a physical therapist, manager, college instructor, national speaker, and patient advocate, Kay Wing has touched countless lives. As owner of SWAN Rehab in Arizona, a private practice servicing those with stroke and brain injury, an NCS and a GCS, Kay personifies clinical excellence in Neurology. Kay is not one to rely on her master clinician laurels, however, after nearly 30 years of practice, she sought the highest level of clinical achievement, her DPT in 2002- and this is just the beginning of her long list of accomplishments. For example, Kay received an Outstanding Service Award from the Section on Administration and was named Arizona Outstanding Therapist of the Year.

Kay holds or held numerous professional hats as well. She is the current president of the Arizona PT Association, a delegate to the APTA House of Delegates, past 1st Vice Chairman of the Arizona PT Association, Key contact for Senator Jon Kyle for the APTA, Publication Committee Chair and Publication Committee member for the Section on Administration. She has held almost every position in the Phoenix PT Directors including chairman, co-chairman, treasurer and secretary and she is also a faculty member of Northern Arizona University. In the past five years, Kay has presented professionally in the areas of Locomotion, Constraint Induced Movement Therapy, Neuroplasticity Motor Learning, and PNF). She is a published author as well as a volunteer for the American Stroke Association and created a “Stroke Camp”. While maintaining all of these professional responsibilities Kay remains “humble”, “approachable”, and “caring”.

But, as her nominators have expressed, these professional accomplishments don’t even begin to fully describe Dr. Wing’s contribution to the profession of Neurological PT. One nominator expressed that her presence seems to make you a better person, ….her passion makes you want to be a better clinician. For these, and many more reasons, it is our pleasure to give Kay Wing the 2007 Award for Clinical Excellence in Neurology

For a list of past award recipients, please click here.

Excellence in Research

Purpose: To acknowledge and honor a member of the Neurology Section who has demonstrated continuing excellence in research related to neurologic physical therapy science, theory, practice, or education.

Recipient: John A. Buford, PT, PhD

Dr. John A. Buford is an associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Buford has published over 19 peer reviewed papers and 9 book chapters that relate to preparatory movement coordination. His area of research relates to reticulospinal control of reaching using a primate model. Dr. Buford has received an R01 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke plus has been successful with a renewal of his grant. Having a grant renewed at the NIH recently is a remarkable accomplishment. Some of the journals that have accepted Dr. Buford’s work include the Journal of Neuroscience, the Journal of Neurophysiology, the Journal of Orthopedic Research, and Experimental Brain Research.

Dr. Buford previously received a doctoral award from the Foundation for Physical Therapy and is serving as a member of the Research Committee of the Neurology Section. He guides students at his University and is helping to develop the next generation of physical therapist clinician-scientists. Dr. Buford’s most recent work focuses on the neural mechanisms that underlie impaired reaching plus the potential for recovery of reaching after stroke. His contributions are substantial and will hopefully result in long term benefits to persons who have experienced a stroke. It is with great pride that the Neurology Section announces Dr. Buford as the most recent Excellence in Research Award recipient.

For a list of past award recipients, please click here.

Golden Synapse Award


The award recognizes the most outstanding article published each year. The decision is made by Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy Reviewers and is based on the article's conceptualization, execution, presentation and contribution to physical therapy practice.

For the first time the Golden Synapse was awarded to two articles. The 2008 award winning articles are:

Counting Repetitions: An Observational Study of Outpatient Therapy for People with Hemiparesis Post-Stroke authored by Catherine Lang, PT, PhD, Jillian MacDonald and Christopher Gnip, DPT

Randomized Control Trial of Effects of a 10-Week Inspiratory Muscle Training Program on Measures of Pulmonary Function on Persons with Multiple Sclerosis authored by Donna K. Fry, PT, PhD, Lucinda A. Pfalzer, PT, PhD, FACSM, Anang R. Chokshi, DPT, Michelle T. Wagner, DPT, and Emily Jackson, DPT

The authors were recognized and awarded a plaque at the Neurology Section’s Business Meeting in Nashville, TN. The article related commentary and podcasts (in the authors own voice) can found at

For a list of past award recipients, please click here.

Student Awards

Each year the Neurology Section Research Committee recognizes outstanding abstracts submitted for the Combined Sections Meeting by students at the post-professional and professional levels.

The winners of the 2008 post-professional student award were:

Margie Roos, for "Systematic increases in walking speed have varied effects on post-stroke walking patterns." Additional authors include: Katherine Rudolph, Trisha Kesar, Darcy Reisman.

Mark G. Bowden for "Validation of a Speed-based Classification System Using Quantitative Measures of Walking Performance Post-Stroke." Additional authors include: Chitralakshmi K. Balasubramanian, Andrea L. Behrman, Steven A. Kautz

The winners of the 2008 professional student award were Margaret Reising, Robert Kennedy, Sonia S. Palmer, Monika Pawar for, "Rapid release of step initiation by acoustic startle in people with Parkinson's Disease". The student advisers were Colum D. MacKinnon, Katherine M. Martinez, Tanya Simuni, Yunhui Zhang, Mark W. Rogers.

President's Award

Recipients:  Janice Ford and Robert Wellmon

The President's Award is a determined at the descretion of the Section President to individuals that have provided service to the Section, above and beyond their typical duties, that have had high impact to advance the Vision and Mission of the Neurology Section. The recipients of this year's special award are Dr Bob Wellmon, Chair of the Telecommunications Committee and Ms Janice Ford, Executive Officer, APTA Component Services. These individuals spearheaded the process that culminated in the launch of the Section's new Webpage  in November 2007. We greatly appreciate their leadership, creativity, attention to detail, and excellence in the development of one of the Section's most important means to communicate with its members.

For a list of past award recipients, please click here.

Client Logo
Client Logo
Client Logo
Client Logo
Client Logo
Client Logo
Client Logo
Client Logo