• early-career
  • Early Career

    The Early Career Networking Group (ECNG) 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 ECNG 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.

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


    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.

    How to Participate

    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.


    Early Career networking at its best: Largest interdisciplinary rehabilitation research event in the worldEarly Career Opportunities at the ACRM Annual Conference

    Join us at the 2016 ACRM Annual Conference, Progress in Rehabilitation Research in Chicago this fall for cutting-edge research translated to clinical practice. Plus, dive deep into intensive Pre-Conference Instructional Courses on a wide variety of topics or the Early Career Development Course for new researchers.

    Up to 42.5 hours of CE available.

    Learn More >>



    “How does ACRM Help You?"

    Douglas Katz, MD, FACRM, FAAN
    Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital


    How to Join the ECNG

    One of the most valuable benefits of ACRM membership is the opportunity to participate in the many interdisciplinary special interest groups (ISIG) and networking groups.

    Click the JOIN NOW button to learn more or contact Member Services at +1.703.435.5335 for personal assistance.


    Contact the Early Career Networking Group Chair, Megan Mitchell, PhD to learn more about this group or to become more specifically involved in a task force.

    Early Career Networking Group Flyer

    ECNG Executive Committee

    Megan Damcott image  
    Chair: Megan Mitchell, PhD
    Biomedical Engineer
    Kansas City, KS
    Dawn Neumann Past Chair: Dawn Neumann, PhD
    Indiana University
    Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana
    Indianapolis, IN
    LinkedIn Profile
    Chair-Elect: OPEN POSITION
    Contact Megan Mitchell with inquiries.
    Chari Hirshson image
    Secretary: Chari I. Hirshson, PhD
    Licensed Clinical Psychologist
    Mount Sinai School of Medicine
    New York, NY
    LinkedIn Profile

    ECNG Resources & Information Newsletter

    One of the great benefits of joining the ECNG is the quarterly newsletter of early career resources and information.  Check out the current issue and join the ECNG Membership to get involved and start receiving the information you need to advance your rehabilitation research career.

    Read the Current Issue >>>

    2016 Issues

    2015 Issues

    Deborah L. Wilkerson Early Career Award Supported by CARF International

    Deborah Wilkerson

    Deborah L. Wilkerson

    The Deborah L. Wilkerson Early Career Award Supported by CARF International 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.

    Tatyana Mollayeva, MD, PhD

    Tatyana Mollayeva, MD, PhD

    CONGRATULATIONS to the 2015 Deborah L. Wilkerson Early Career Award winner, Tatyana Mollayeva, MD, PhD  who presented the award lecture, Insomnia in Workers With Delayed Recovery From Mild Traumatic Brain Injury #4891 during the Annual Conference in Dallas.

    Beth Skidmore image

    Beth Skidmore (center); Tamara Bushnik, ACRM President; and Wayne Gordon, Awards Committee Chair

    “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.”

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


    image: Angelle Sander

    Angelle Sander

    “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, FACRM, Assistant Professor, Baylor College of Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

    “Building Leaders in Rehabilitation Research"

    Stephanie Kolakowsky-Hayner, PhD, CBIST, FACRM
    Brain Trauma Foundation

    Early Career Development Course

    The Early Career Development Course is a perennial favorite developed by the ACRM Early Career Networking Group. It provides an ideal venue for connecting with seasoned professionals who can answer your questions and guide you on your path to success.

    With particular focus on career development issues relevant to early career researchers, this full-day program preceding the ACRM Annual Conference, comprises didactic presentation, panel discussion, one-on-one networking, and small group discussions. All up-and-coming rehabilitation research professionals are encouraged to attend.

    2016 THEME

    The 2016 program theme, Team Science, will focus on helping attendees develop their research identity while forming collaborative relationships and teams, enhancing team communication, preventing conflicts, giving and sharing credit in publications and grants, balancing individual and team pursuits for tenure and promotion and increasing productivity.


    Michael Boninger

    Michael Boninger

    Edelle Field-Fote

    Edelle Field-Fote

    Michael Boninger, MD and Edelle Field-Fote, PhD, PT,  will kick-off the course with Perils, Pitfalls and Possibilities: What to Look Out for in Your Early Career.


    Dr. Boninger is director of the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute and author of five US patents. He is renowned for his extensive research on spinal cord injury, assistive technology, and overuse injuries, particularly those associated with manual wheelchair propulsion.

    Dr. Field-Fote is a leading neuroscientist and director of spinal cord injury research at Shepherd Center. She is internationally renowned for her work in motor recovery after spinal cord injury.

    Learn More about the 2016 Early Career Development Course >>


    Early Career Development Course Testimonial by Valerie Hill


    Get Involved in Exciting Task Forces!


    Early Career Networking Group image

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

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


    Monique Pappadis

    Monique R. Pappadis, MEd, PhD

    Early Career Development Course Task Force

    Chair: Monique Renae Pappadis, MEd, PhD
    University of Texas Medical Branch, Houston, TX
    LinkedIn Profile

    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.


    Dawn Neumann

    Dawn Neumann, PhD

    Communications Task Force

    Co-Chair: Dawn Neumann, PhD
    Indiana University, Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, Indianapolis, IN
    LinkedIn Profile

    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.


    Alison Cogan

    Alison Cogan, MA, PhD (candidate), OTR/L


    Co-Chair: Alison Cogan, MA, PhD (candidate), OTR/L
    University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
    LinkedIn Profile


    Brad Kurowski, MD, MS

    Brad Kurowski, MD, MS

    Physicians Task Force

    Chair: Brad Kurowski, MD, MS
    Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH
    LinkedIn Profile

    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.

    Brooks Wingo

    Brooks Wingo, PhD

    Mentoring / Advising Task Force

    Chair:  Brooks Wingo, PhD
    University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

    The mission of this task force is to facilitate the development of mentoring relationships among rehabilitation professionals at varying stages in their career development through research, educational, and clinical collaborative opportunities. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please contact the co-chairs.