Early Career

Early Career Networking Group


We are excited to share the news that ACRM is now forming an Early Career Networking Group (ECNG)! The objective is to provide on-going support for early career professionals interested in expanding their networking opportunities and receiving guidance for career development and advancement.

In addition to early career members, we are  seeking senior professionals who would like to assist with this invaluable effort.

Early Career professionals image Early Career Reception image Early Career Reception image


ACRM is committed to supporting rehabilitation professionals at every career stage by disseminating the latest rehabilitation research and evidence-based practices, and providing a platform for critical interdisciplinary exchange. There is no better way to fully experience these benefits than by attending the ACRM Annual Conference. That’s why ACRM offers such amazing price incentives to new professionals entering the field.

Check out this Advance Rate pricing:

Core Conference Registration (7 — 11 October)

  • Student/Resident/Fellow and Early Career Members: ONLY $295 (regular members $595)
  • Student/Resident/Fellow and Early Career Nonmembers: ONLY $395 (regular nonmembers $795)


Best Deal EVER!

Students/Residents/Fellows can join ACRM and receive the best deal ever when they immediately put their member discount to work for registration to the annual conference.

$85 ACRM 1 year Membership (regular membership: $350)
$295 Member Conference registration (nonmember student/resident/fellow: $395)
TOTAL: $380 (SAVINGS: $365!)

Register Now button image OR purchase by PHONE call +1.703.574.5845


All up-and-coming rehabilitation professionals are encouraged to attend this year’s Early Career pre-conference at the ACRM 91st Annual Conference, Wednesday, 8 October 2014.

REGISTER EARLY for as little as $95!

This year’s course, Charting, Navigating, or Staying Your Career Course: Identifying and solidifying your role on a team, will focus on developing and maintaining the essential skills to succeed in a team science environment.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Steve WolfWe are excited to open the course with keynote speaker, Steven L. Wolf, PhD, PT, FAPTA, a world-renowned researcher, educator, author, and lecturer presenting, Conducting Team Science: Finding, Participating, and Solidifying Your Role on the Team. Participants will learn to identify barriers preventing clinician participation and collaboration within clinical studies, promote dissemination efforts, and anticipate how clinical interface activities might influence the tenure and promotion review process.

Dr. Wolf is a professor of Rehabilitation Medicine, Geriatrics, and Cell Biology at Emory University; and senior research scientist at the Atlanta VA Center of Excellence in Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation.

The keynote speech will be followed by an interactive panel of experts, sharing tips and tricks on leadership styles and team building. Our morning will conclude with a networking lunch designed to continue the conversations started within the earlier sessions in a more relaxed atmosphere.

The afternoon will kick off with quick back-to-back “news you can use” presentations from leading funding agency representatives followed by an open question and answer panel for attendees to ask our guests the funding questions most important to you. The afternoon will continue with a panel of successful Early Career Awardees who will share their experiences obtaining funding in this competitive funding climate.

The day will culminate with two 60 minute breakout sessions, led by leaders in the field, offering multiple course options including:

  • Developing Clinical/Research Teams
  • Conducting Team Science
  • Approaches to Team Writing
  • Building a Mentorship Team
  • Creating International Collaborations
  • Leading/Managing a Team: What to look for when hiring

“Not only is there a broad range of professionals/academicians/researchers you can learn from and talk to, but the break outs are set up such that you are in a more intimate environment in which you can ask real, specific, pressing questions. … Having attended the Early Career Development Course, I have access to any of the individuals who presented – everyone is willing and open to help support your career as much as they can.”  

—Dr. Valerie Hill, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Southern California


Cocktail Reception

Course attendees will be invited to wrap up the day with the “now famous” Early Career Reception where you will have a chance to network informally with the speakers from the course, the breakout facilitators, the heads of all of the ACRM Special Interest and Networking Groups, and leading journal editors and ACRM leadership. It will truly be an event not to be missed!

Register Now button image OR purchase by PHONE call +1.703.574.5845




This new networking group will help with many challenging aspects of career development, such as:

  • Preparing for job interviews, negotiating faculty positions or preparing for promotion and tenure
  • Improving your grant writing skills, learning about grant mechanisms for new investigators, and how to get published
  • Networking with renowned leaders in the field, or finding collaborative opportunities within a variety of rehabilitation disciplines
  • How to become a more active and recognized member within ACRM

The Early Career Networking Group seeks to provide assistance with all of these common career development challenges. Networking group members will work together to share relevant announcements, resources, professional contacts, mentorship support, and informative discussions.


The mission of the Early Career Networking Group (ECNG) is to foster the development and advancement of early career professionals in the field of rehabilitation. We work together to tackle many of the common career development challenges.  Our supportive network of peers provides the necessary resources and networking opportunities to promote successful career growth for rehabilitation researchers and clinicians.


Now is the perfect time to join this important networking group and help shape its growth. Participate in one of our existing task forces or suggest a new one!

  • Early Career Development Course Task Force
  • Communications Task Force
  • Physicians Task Force

It is cliché, but true that as an early career professional, you are the future of rehabilitation and ACRM. Getting involved with the ECNG now is a worthwhile investment in that future – whether you are early or late in your career.

Contact the Early Career Networking Group Chair, Dawn Neumann, PhD, for more information about joining this group as a general member or to become more specifically involved in a task force.

Early Career Networking Group Flyer


In October 2014, the position of ECNG chair-elect will be open and we are soliciting nominations NOW. Chair-elect is one of three positions on our executive committee. Chair-elect is responsible for assisting the ECNG Chair with any activities and functions carried out by the executive committee. This primarily includes active participation in teleconference calls every two months.

The aim of these bi-monthly calls is to:

  • Ensure that the three ECNG task forces (Communications Task Force; Early Career Development Course Task Force; and the Physicians Task Force) are upholding the mission of the networking group and ACRM as a whole
  • Discuss ideas for new activities and ways to accomplish our mission
  • Increase communication between the different task forces so each task force is aware of what the others are doing

The position of chair-elect is for two years, after which time the chair-elect will become the chair of the ECNG. In order to hold an executive position, one must be an ACRM member. Although it is not required, it is strongly encouraged that the person who will hold the chair-elect position, is or becomes, an active member on at least one of the ECNG task forces. Also not a requirement, but strongly encouraged, this person should be willing/able to attend ACRM Annual Conferences.

How to Submit a Nomination

Self-nominations are welcome. All nominations must be submitted to the ECNG Secretary, Chari Hirshson, PhD. Nominations are due 1 August 2014. With the nomination, please include a short bio paragraph about yourself, including where you work, your job title, how long you have been an ACRM member, what ISIG and networking groups you are a member of, and why you would like to be the chair-elect of the ECNG.

After 1 August, we will present all candidates to our ECNG members for a vote to fill the position. The new chair-elect will take office at the ACRM Annual Conference in October 2014, in Toronto during the ECNG Business Meeting on Friday, 10 October from 7:00 AM – 8:30 AM.


One of the great benefits of joining the ECNG is the eblast of early career resources and information distributed to members each month.  Here’s a sample table of contents to whet your appetite.  ECNG Membership is FREE! Click the Join Now button to get involved and start receiving the information you need to advance your rehabilitation research career.

  • Seeking nominations for the position of ECNG Chair Elect
  • ACRM Annual Meeting, Toronto 2014 – Important info
  • Various Career Development Resources
  • Grant Opportunities and Advice for New Investigators: Did you Know??
  • Fellowship and Job Opportunity Resources
  • Contribute to our list of resources for early career development
  • ECNG seeks mid- and late-career professionals to join our network
  • Other ACRM ISIGs and networking groups seeking early career members



Deborah Wilkerson

Deborah L. Wilkerson

The Deborah L. Wilkerson Early Career Award is an award given by ACRM to Early Career Professionals who are making significant contributions in the field of rehabilitation. Recipients receive a plaque, monetary award, travel stipend, complimentary registration, and an opportunity to present at the ACRM Annual Conference. Learn more.

Brad KurowskiCONGRATULATIONS to the 2014 Deborah L. Wilkerson Early Career Award winner, Brad Kurowski, MD, MS. He will present the award lecture on Friday, 10 October at 1:30 PM.

“Receiving the Deborah L. Wilkerson Early Career Award is a great honor. I highly value the scientific and clinical community within the Congress, and receiving recognition from this esteemed group of scientists and professionals is humbling and rewarding.”

Beth Skidmore image

Award presentation to Beth Skidmore (center) by then ACRM President, Tamara Bushnik and Awards Committee Chair, Wayne Gordon

–Elizabeth Skidmore, PhD, OTR/L, Associate Professor School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh
2012 Honoree

“Receiving the Deborah L. Wilkerson Early Career Award was the most cherished honor that I have had in my career. This is because it was awarded by people in the field of rehabilitation that I truly respect and admire. I know that the Wilkerson awardees are carefully chosen to represent the spirit of Deb Wilkerson, who was a role model in providing holistic rehabilitation services and conducting meaningful research. Receipt of this award meant that my research was perceived as making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities, which is the greatest honor one can receive.”

Angelle Sander, PhD, Assistant Professor
Baylor College of Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
2011 Honoree


Dawn Neumann imageChair: Dawn Neumann, PhD
Indiana University
Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana
Indianapolis, IN
Megan Damcott imageChair-Elect: Megan Mitchell, PhD
Biomedical Engineer
Kansas City, KS
Chari Hirshson imageSecretary: Chari I. Hirshson, PhD
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Central Park Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
New York, NY



Early Career Networking Group image

From left to right, Stephanie Kolakowsky-Hayner, Dawn Neumann, Brad Kurowski, Andrew Dennison

All task forces conduct regular monthly or bi-monthly meetings via conference calls. Please contact Dawn Neumann or a designated task force chair for more information about meeting times and getting involved.

Early Career Development Course Task Force
Chair: Stephanie A. Kolakowsky-Hayner PhD, CBIST

This task force plans the full-day Early Career Development Course held each fall at the ACRM Annual Conference. Last year, the course focused on grantsmanship, with particular emphasis on career development and pilot /small project funding mechanisms.

Communications Task Force
Chair: Dawn Neumann, PhD

This task force gathers important announcements and information relevant to career development in the rehabilitation field and disseminates them through social media, eblasts, ACRM newsletters and the website. This includes information on grant resources and grant writing, job interviewing tips, work/ life balance, tips for promotion and tenure, getting started with research, initiating collaborations, finding good mentors and more. This task force also develops communications to help promote the ECNG and recruit members.

Physicians Task Force
Chair: Brad Kurowski, MD, MS

The mission of the ECNG Physicians Task Force is to cultivate collaboration among multiple rehabilitation medicine disciplines with a focus on improving the implementation of research, knowledge translation, and program development.


ACRM membership includes affiliation with any ACRM community forum. Members may participate in any group, including Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, and Stroke Interdisciplinary Special Interest Groups; Early Career, Healthcare Policy, International, and Outcomes Measurement Networking Groups; as well as groups now forming for Geriatric Rehabilitation, Pain, Neurodegenerative Diseases, and Pediatric Rehabilitation. Nonmembers are welcome and encouraged to participate in any networking or  forming group. Please contact Terri Compos, ACRM Community Relations Manager, for details.