Soon to be Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy

Posts Tagged ‘Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy’


Transforming the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy: Reflections from New Editor-in-Chief Cynthia Chiarello (Part 2)

Posted on: July 25th, 2017 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

Evolution is a natural part of all publications, especially those dedicated to sharing the latest research. As the Section on Women’s Health celebrates its 40th anniversary, change is underway for SOWH’s popular Journal for Women’s Health Physical Therapy.

Leading an effort to update the journal’s long-term strategy is new Editor-in-Chief Cynthia Chiarello, PT, Ph.D., MS, an assistant professor of clinical rehabilitation and regenerative medicine at Columbia University Medical Center Program in Physical Therapy. She is supported in this work by an impressive team of four women’s men’s, and pelvic health physical therapists who are generously volunteering as associate editors.

Here, Chiarello talks about the transformation process and the status of evidence-based research in this specialized area of physical therapy.

SOWH: What are some of the challenges for PT researchers today?

Chiarello: The biggest barriers to PT research are the interrelated issues of funding, time and qualified researchers. There is a tremendous need for greater funding of the type of projects needed to advance the profession of physical therapy.

Many physical therapists pursue research in addition to a full academic workload or a full clinical schedule. Accomplishing meaningful research requires the dedicated efforts of qualified researchers with the necessary amount of time and personnel to achieve the goals of the project.

As an academic at a prestigious university, you help prepare the next generation of physical therapists by arming them with the latest knowledge to care for their patients’ diverse needs. What trends or special areas of emphasis do you see emerging from America’s PT schools? Are they adjusting course content and skill competencies to reflect changing demographics, higher numbers of complex cases, a volatile health care system, etc.?

I am continually amazed at the transformation of PT students from their entry into the curriculum to graduation as they become capable, independent clinicians we are proud to have as colleagues.

All entry-level PT curricula are jam-packed with courses for basic and clinical science, as well as professional socialization and clinical education. With our packed curricula, not much room is available for additional fields of study or extras.

With the demanding accreditation requirements of physical therapist education, it is remarkable that each program is able to place its own special signature on its graduates. I do see increasing attention to intra-professional education and service learning, and greater emphasis on clinical reasoning.

Why did you become involved in women’s and men’s health physical therapy?

As an orthopedic clinician and researcher, I have always been interested in low back pain and lumbo-pelvic dysfunction. Pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy and post-partum has been delineated as a specific classification facilitating diagnosis and research investigation.

Once it was known I was researching perinatal back pain, some of my graduate students brought issues of diastasis rectus abdominis to my attention. We then began a series of studies on this interesting musculoskeletal impairment.

Chiarello welcomes all submissions for the Journal for Women’s Health Physical Therapy, and author guidelines are here[LINK TO X] Also needed are manuscript reviewers. If you are interested, please email [email protected].

AUTHOR: Cynthia Chiarello, PT, PhD, MS, is assistant professor of clinical rehabilitation & regenerative medicine at Columbia University Medical Center Program in Physical Therapy.







New JWHPT Statistician Identifies Two Statistical Skills Most Needed by Physical Therapists (Part 2)

Posted on: July 11th, 2017 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

Physical therapists need several key statistical skills to bolster the quality of their patient care, according to Mark Bishop, PT, PhD, the new statistician of the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy.

In this second of a two-part conversation with Bishop, the University of Florida associate professor notes that he was attracted to the statistical field because “this is where answers to the questions I have about rehabilitation are located. What I mean is, once our team has the idea or theory to test, statistical theory provides both the design of the experiment we will need to effectively test the idea and the analysis of the final data to get the answer. Matching the design of the experiment to the question asked makes the analysis much simpler.”

Although some PTs may not share Bishop’s passion for statistics, they still need to develop several skills he considers “integral for PTs to be reflective practitioners who provide excellent care for great value.

“First, I don’t think everybody needs to understand distribution theory to be an effective practitioner collecting clinical data to examine and reflect on their own practice,” says Bishop, “but I do believe everyone needs to be able to ask a testable question when they have one. Reflective practice is based on clinical observation. The next step is to ask a question that you can answer.

“Second, PTs need to identify and consume other literature, whether that is recent findings related to their area of practice, or any previous work written about a question they have.

“There are some specific aspects to doing this well: What designs answer which questions? Which designs provide the strongest evidence for the question? Was the study well-conducted, and could any rival plausible hypotheses explain the findings? Some of this may not interest all PTs, and for them, clinical practice guidelines and reviews may fill this gap.”

Bishop is well-aware of the issues that could result from publication of faulty statistics. “The primary risk would be that conclusions drawn from a paper published in the journal could be inaccurate,” he says. “This would be most problematic if the study reports a benefit (or risk) so important that it becomes incorporated into practice by readers.”

To help avoid that, read Part 1 of SOWH’s conversation with Bishop.

To submit a manuscript to JWHPT, please review the author guidelines[LINK TO]. Journal staff are especially seeking manuscripts on urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, chronic pain, pregnancy-related pain, lymphedema, osteoporosis, menopause, and other women’s, men’s, and pelvic health physical therapy issues.

Anyone interested in volunteering as a peer reviewer is encouraged to email [email protected]







Transforming the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy: Reflections from New Editor-in-Chief Cynthia Chiarello (Part 1)

Posted on: June 27th, 2017 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments


A new team of leaders in women’s, men’s, and pelvic health physical therapy has united to strengthen and innovate the top-rated membership benefit of the Section on Women’s Health: the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy.

Helming the revamp is freshly minted Editor-in-Chief Cynthia Chiarello, PT, PhD, of Columbia University. Here, she talks with Interel-AMG Account Executive Kristin Clarke, who consults to SOWH, about the transformation process and the status of evidence-based research in this specialized area of physical therapy.

SOWH: Where do you see the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy going in the next two to three years?

Chiarello: I am honored to be in the company of the talented group of individuals who make up the current editorial board for the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy. As the scientific voice for the Section on Women’s Health, we are dedicated to enhancing the dissemination of scholarship and providing high-quality evidence for practice.

We are working together for the first time and will be meeting this summer for our first strategic planning meeting for the journal. We have much to discuss as we plan directions while maintaining the JWHPT‘s standards of research excellence.

When SOWH was born 40 years ago, the earliest members noted that little to no research was being conducted in the areas of pelvic and abdominal physical therapy. It was a milestone for SOWH when enough evidence-based information was available to allow the Section newsletter to evolve into a peer-reviewed journal. How would you describe the state of physical therapy research today, particularly in our specialty field, and what forces or trends do you think are influencing it? 

Despite the fact that it has been 20 years since research funding by the National Institutes of Health was required to include women, there is a still a large gender gap in biomedical research. Women remain underrepresented in all domains of health-related research impacting societal concerns and health care policy.

Viewing physical therapy research in this larger context, it is vital to maintain high standards of quality research regarding the health care needs of women. JWHPT is an enthusiastic proponent of advancing the science of women’s and men’s health, and we encourage authors to submit their research to the journal in accordance with this mission.

What can SOWH members do to accelerate and support progress in pelvic and abdominal PT research?

Physical therapists who would like a career in research may want to consider an advanced research degree such as a PhD or EdD to acquire the suitable training to conduct research. Clinicians interested in participating in research might want to consider partnering with experienced researchers who can mentor them through the research process.

To volunteer as a manuscript reviewer for JWHPT, email [email protected]. Look for Part 2 of this interview later this summer.

AUTHOR: Cynthia Chiarello, PT, PhD, MS, is assistant professor of clinical rehabilitation & regenerative medicine at Columbia University Medical Center Program in Physical Therapy. Kristin Clarke, CAE, is an Interel-AMG account executive consulting to SOWH. The association management firm manages all operations for SOWH.






3 Ways to Ensure Your Research Data Add Up Right: Tips from the New JWHPT Statistician (Part 1)

Posted on: June 9th, 2017 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

In 2016, members of the Section on Women’s Health rated the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy as their most used and valued benefit. Their allegiance to the peer-reviewed publication prompted the SOWH Board of Directors to invest in a major upgrade, including development of a revamped strategic plan, now underway.

Key to the process has been engaging fresh volunteers and contracting with top physical therapy research professionals. Newest to the editorial team, led by Editor-in-Chief Cynthia Chiarello, PT, PhD, of Columbia University, is Mark Bishop, PT, PhD. An associate professor at the University of Florida Department of Physical Therapy, Bishop had not worked with a publisher before he started as statistician for JWHPT. He had, however, performed experimental design and statistical analyses for both funded and unfunded projects.

In this conversation with SOWH, Bishop advises researchers how best to ensure their evidence-based manuscripts pass the rigor of at least one aspect of peer review—his close inspection of their data.

SOWH: Your role as the new JWHPT statistician should further strengthen the data integrity presented in the journal’s articles. What will you be looking for when a manuscript arrives for your review?

Bishop: “Once a paper is submitted for review, my primary focus the first read-through is to ensure that (1) the primary question or purpose matches the design (including the outcomes chosen), (2) the analysis presented matches the design of the study and form of the data, and (3) the conclusions presented match the results of the analysis.”

What are the most common errors you spot?

“There are a few common slips that can happen. Probably the most important of these is overreaching on the conclusions, especially about causation; for example, the analysis tests association using correlations and the discussion talks of relationship of one predicting the other.

“A second example is attempting to draw broad conclusions from a case study or case series, and a third example is that the analysis performed doesn’t match the question being asked. Many papers include tests of differences in means (t-tests, F-tests, etc.) when the question might be much broader about general differences between or among groups rather than specifically about mean differences–or maybe the question is about specific ordering or if the frequency of an event occurring differs from the expected frequency. Related to the last example, sometimes the analysis doesn’t match the form of data as well as it could, particularly when the samples are small.”

What are the top three actions an author can take to ensure his or her statistical data hold up to careful scrutiny? 

“I think the important first step relates to the issues mentioned above. For example, check that the design and analysis match. For investigators working deductively, this should be done before beginning–that is, start with the question, then design the data collection and analysis to answer that question.

“Of course, this is not always the case, and sometimes questions arise after data are collected. In that case, this should be clearly stated.

“Second, investigators should make sure they have used the correct test for the type of data they have collected. Involving a biostatistician or someone with experience in experimental design to assist in developing the experiment can really help if there are questions about this.

“And third, check that the conclusions can be supported by the results.”

Watch for Part 2 of this interview in July, when Bishop identifies the two key statistical skills needed by PTs today.







Columbia Professor Chosen as New Editor-in-Chief of Journal on Women’s Health Physical Therapy

Posted on: October 17th, 2016 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

New Editor-in-Chief Cindy ChiarelloFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 6, 2016

CONTACTS: Meryl Alappattu, SOWH Director of Research, [email protected]

Kristin Clarke, CAE, Executive Director, [email protected], 571-344-5422

Columbia Professor Chosen as New Editor-in-Chief of Journal on Women’s Health Physical Therapy

McLean, VA: The Section on Women’s Health’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the Cynthia Chiarello, PT, Ph.D., of Columbia University will be the new editor-in-chief of the Journal for Women’s Health Physical Therapy.

Dr. Chiarello is a past recipient of the SOWH Research Award, as well as its  Research Grant. She has been a respected reviewer for JWHPT and several other journals. Dr. Chiarello is an assistant professor of rehabilitation and regenerative medicine at Columbia University’s Program in Physical Therapy, where she teaches and conducts clinical research on spinal instability, diastasis rectus abdominis, and lumbopelvic dysfunction during the child-bearing year. She received her master’s degree in physical therapy from Duke University and her doctorate in pathokinesiology from New York University.

“Dr. Chiarello is a frequently published researcher and well-respected instructor who knows our membership well, so we are very pleased that she will be helming JWHPT at this critical time in our profession,” says SOWH Director of Research Meryl Alappattu, PT, DPT, Ph.D. “She enters at a time of great change for the journal and will be able to use her decades of experience and her wide professional network to help transform the journal and ensure its continued relevance and integrity.”

“I am thrilled to accept the position of editor-in-chief for the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy,” says Dr. Chiarello. “I have watched as the journal has grown to establish the Section’s expertise, scholarship, and professional authority on women’s and men’s health. I look forward to working with the wonderful Section members to further advance the journal’s scholarly excellence.”

SOWH publishes the journal three times a year for institutional subscribers and its nearly 3,000 member physical therapists specializing in pelvic and abdominal physical therapy and other related men’s and women’s health conditions. JWHPT is a peer-reviewed publication whose evidence-based research content is accessed by facilities, higher education organizations, and professionals in 45 countries.

The Section on Women’s Health-American Physical Therapy Association is a professional organization of nearly 3,000 physical therapists who serve patients across the life span and around the globe. SOWH has focused on education, networking, and research since its founding in 1977. For information, go to






A History of the Journal of the Section on Women’s Health

Posted on: July 5th, 2016 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

As we count down to the 40th anniversary of the Section on Women’s Health in 2017, we are starting to share some of the rich history and memories of the organization’s evolution and influence on women’s and men’s health physical therapy. Here, we asked outgoing journal editor-in-chief Nancy Donovan, Ph.D., PT to share her own journey over a dozen-plus years helming our publication.

By Nancy Donovan, Ph.D., PT, Editor-In-Chief

The earliest copy of the journal I could find from my collection is from 1997 when it was named Journal of the Section on Women’s Health. For that issue, the guest editor was Jane Frahm, and the editorial staff included Elaine Pomerantz (Features) , Ann Dunbar (Clinical Practice), Andi Beth Mincer (Literature Review), Mary Delaney (Book Review), and Beth Shelly (Advertising).

At that time the journal was published by the Orthopedic Section, and content included a reprinted manuscript authored by Jane Frahm about the role of physical therapy in incontinence that had been originally published in Ostomy/Wound Management. A second entry was a case study by Susan Clarke about pelvic floor intervention for a patient sent to PT for work conditioning.

Nancy Donovan, outgoing SOWH journal editor-in-chief

Nancy Donovan, outgoing SOWH journal editor-in-chief

Dr. Patricia King was appointed journal editor in 1998 and remained until 2006. It was Dr. King that turned our journal into a credible peer-reviewed journal.

I was elected as the Section’s director of research in 2000 and had the great fortune to work with Patricia in advancing the journal’s mission. During that time we made excellent strides toward increasing the rigor of scientific peer-review.

Thoroughly committed to bridging the gap between clinician and researcher, we worked countless hours coaching authors to ensure their research was written in a way that was relevant to clinicians. With Patricia at the helm, the publication name changed to the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy, and its operations were professionalized by increasing the staff to a senior editor, associate editors, and a statistician.

In 2006 I began my tenure as editor-in-chief of the JWHPT with a commitment to continue providing SOWH members with information that had been subjected to review by individuals with knowledge of the scientific process. In the spring 2006 issue, I wrote, “When manuscripts are peer-reviewed according to rigorous standards, the discipline of Women’s Health Physical Therapy stands to benefit from increased credibility from members of other medical professions. More importantly, our patients can be ensured that they are receiving care based not on guesswork, but care that includes interventions that have been shown to have the best chance of being effective.”

The next director of research, Dr. Ann Marie Flores, and I continued the shared goal of advancing the quality of evidence-based information in the JWHPT in preparation for successful Medline Indexing – an arduous and time consuming task. The application for Medline Indexing is not a simple process. Several journal copies must be submitted for scrutiny of content by a team of experts.

I had the opportunity to meet with the secretary of the team that decides which journals have successfully met the rigorous standards. Approximately 100 journals apply each year; only 15% are successful. For those that are not, a two-year wait period is required before another application can be submitted.

The stewardship of Ann Marie was demonstrated in her careful development of a publishing contract with Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, one of the nation’s oldest and most experienced publishers of scientific journals in health care. This also allowed us to streamline journal management by taking advantage of the newest online technologies, thus allowing us to monitor the peer review process from submission to publication and enabling us to track its progress toward our strategic goals.

One of the best decisions I made was to invite Dr. Diane Borello-France to be senior editor of the journal. Dr. Borello-France’s commitment to advancing the quality of information published in the journal has been exemplary and is demonstrated by the countless hours she spends to ensure that the review process results in well-supported, well-written manuscripts.

I also expanded the number of associate editors to include Dr. Karen Abraham and Dr. Elaine Wilder and our first international associate editor, Darija Scepanovic from Slovenia. In addition, we appointed a Ph.D. biostatistician, Dr. Wenting Wu of Mayo Clinic–Rochester, who shares an interest in women’s health. The work the editorial staff has done for JWHPT also could not be accomplished without the volunteered hours from those who serve the membership as manuscript reviewers.

We continued to have support for the goals established by Diane and I and the associate editors from the next director of research, Secili DeStefano. She gave us academic freedom to continue our work of advancing the quality of the journal, acting not just as our liaison, but also as our champion on the Section’s Board of Directors. Steadfast in her support of our vision, she trusted our professional judgements as we worked toward our shared goals.

With Secili’s support, Diane and I met for a strategizing retreat at my home in Maine. Our collective energies have always been to work toward the goal of becoming Medline Indexed so that manuscripts would be available on the database PubMed. However, prior to the Combined Sections Meeting this year, Diane and I decided to resign from our longtime positions as senior editor and editor-in-chief of the JWHPT.

It is our greatest hope that any future leadership team for the journal will have the respect, trust, and support from the Board of Directors as they continue to work to produce an eminent and potentially Medline-indexed journal that will publish important, scientifically sound women’s health physical therapy science.

Diane and I have been energized by the many positive comments we received from SOWH members each year regarding the progressive increase in the quality of the journal.  Our red editing pens are now set aside, and we are taking breaths and looking forward to new adventures in each of our lives.

The license plate on my car is “Litenup.”  I think that is an excellent philosophy (even though the spelling is incorrect).

Author: Nancy Donovan, Ph.D., PT, is editor-in-chief of the Journal for Women’s Health Physical Therapy until January 31, 2017.





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