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WED 25 OCT // 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Primary Content Focus: Clinical Practice (assessment, diagnosis, treatment, knowledge translation/EBP, implementation science, program development)

Secondary Content Focus: Quality Improvement and Implementation Science

Skills in strategic planning and administration are extremely important when seeking to develop and maintain rehabilitation programs; however, education in these concepts is often lacking in training. This half-day course will provide education in several areas that are critically important for successful programmatic development: assessing your program’s gaps and identifying barriers to success, implementing continuous improvement and judiciously applying new technologies and therapy techniques, successfully navigating business and financial issues, promoting a positive culture and obtaining and retaining staff, and effectively preparing for certification surveys. Participants will engage in planning and brainstorm ideas with help from the panel between lectures.


  1. Identify important components of a rehabilitation program and set achievable goals to improve services provided to individuals with disabilities
  2. Develop a strategy to implement continuous improvement in patient safety and rehabilitation care within an organizational framework
  3. Identify the benefits of available certification options within rehabilitation and create an effective plan to prepare for certification surveys


Andrew C. Dennison, MD
Shepherd Center

Brad Kurowski, MD, MS
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Susan Johnson, MA, CCC-SLP, CCM
Shepherd Center

Christine M. MacDonell, FACRM
CARF International

Susannah B. Kidwell, MS, CCC-SLP
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta


Andrew Dennison

Andrew C. Dennison, MD, is the medical director of acquired brain injury services at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA. He received an MD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004 and went on to complete an intern year in internal medicine at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia and subsequently a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Baylor/UT-Houston PM&R alliance in Houston, TX. He subsequently completed a year’s fellowship in brain injury rehabilitation at Carolinas Rehabilitation in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Dennison has recently served as both the Vice Chair and Treasurer of the Georgia Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Trust Fund Commission having been initially appointed to the commission in 2010 by Governor Sonny Purdue. Dr. Dennison also is active as a founding member and co-chair of the Physician and Clinicians networking group at the ACRM. Dr. Dennison’s interests include the acute rehabilitation phase of severe acquired brain injury, paroxysmal sympathetic hyperactivity, spastic dystonia and upper motor neuron syndrome, ethical issues in severe brain injury, and neuropharmacology.


Brad Kurowski

Brad Kurowski, MD, MS, received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and his medical degree from Case Western Reserve, University School of Medicine. Subsequently, Dr. Kurowski completed residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and fellowship training in pediatric rehabilitation medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) and clinical research at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Dr. Kurowski has expertise in brain injury medicine and pediatric rehabilitation medicine. His clinical and research pursuits have focused on developing better precision management approaches for pediatric acquired brain injury, specifically pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI). His research has focused on two broad areas: 1) better understanding individual, injury-related, and socio-environmental factors associated with recovery after brain injury and 2) understanding the influence of medical and rehabilitation treatments on the physiology of neurorecovery and clinical outcomes. As a rehabilitation physician, he is interested in how medical, behavioral, physical therapy, and other interventions, individually and in combination, can be used to facilitate recovery after brain injury. Dr. Kurowski also participated as a questionnaire developer for the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Brain Injury Medicine examination and was the lead medical writer for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) report to congress on management of pediatric brain injury. Currently, Dr. Kurowski is an associate professor and director of brain injury rehabilitation programs in the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.


Susan Johnson, MA, CCC-SLP, CCM is the Director of Brain Injury Services at Shepherd Center, one of the top 10 Rehabilitation Hospitals in the country. She manages the full continuum of services from Acute, DOC, rehabilitation services for inpatient, day, residential and outpatients. She also manages the Share Military Initiative for TBI/PTSD. Susan is a Speech/Language Pathologist by profession where she received her undergraduate degree at the University of Florida and her graduate degree at the University of Tennessee. She has over 35 years in brain injury programing and has spoken regionally and nationally. Susan has been a strong advocate both at the state and federal level for people with brain injuries and their families.


Christine M. MacDonell, FACRM, is the Managing Director, Medical Rehabilitation and International Medical Rehabilitation and Aging Services of CARF. Chris began her varied career in the health care industry as an occupational therapist after graduating from the University of Southern California. While in California, she became an administrator of a full rehabilitation continuum of care. Chris came to CARF in 1991. She has served as the Managing Director of Medical Rehabilitation and International Medical Rehabilitation and Aging Services during her time with CARF. Chris is a Fellow of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Chris has represented CARF at international, national, regional and local meetings to promote and interpret standards and the use of accreditation as a quality business and clinical strategy throughout the continuum of care.


Susannah Kidwell, MS, CCC-SLP, is a Speech Language Pathologist and the Director of Rehabilitation Services at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where she has worked for the past 17 years. Ms. Kidwell has worked in the field of brain injury rehabilitation for more than 25 years. Ms. Kidwell received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology from Florida State University. She is a Commissioner for the Georgia Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Trust Fund Commission.


ACRM Annual ConferenceProgress in Rehabilitation Research (PIRR#2017)

REGISTER ONLINE HERE or Register by Phone: +1.703.435.5335
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*For the latest programming info, schedule, session and faculty details, and room locations, please see the Searchable Online Program & Scheduler and/or the ACRM App.  Although significant changes are not anticipated, the schedules, sessions, and presenters posted on this website are subject to change.