JOIN US IN DALLAS:  2 OCT // 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

EVERYONE IS WELCOME! Save the date and plan to attend the Early Career Networking Group Meeting at the ACRM 2018 Conference in Dallas. It’s a great opportunity to network with colleagues from all disciplines, meet your next mentor, collaborator, employer, or funder and learn how to participate in ACRM. Are you registered yet?




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.


The ACRM Annual Conference is the LARGEST interdisciplinary conference in the world for rehabilitation research.

Early Career Programming Highlights

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Programming for Early Career Attendees

As Chair of the Early Career Networking Group, I’m excited about the ACRM 2018 Annual Conference coming to Dallas, Texas in September and wanted to share with you just a sample of the outstanding programming relevant to Early Career attendees. Be sure to explore the searchable Online Program for additional topics in your specific areas of interest.

Brooks WingoSee you in Dallas!

Brooks Wingo, PhD
Chair, ACRM Early Career Networking Group
University of Alabama at Birmingham




Early Career Development Course

30 SEP 2018 // 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Pearls, Possibilities & Pitfalls: Writing Successful Grants & Manuscript Submissions

The Early Career Development Course is a perennial favorite at ACRM that connects early career rehabilitation researchers with seasoned professionals who serve as mentors to answer specific questions regarding career development opportunities as mentees work towards a path to success with grant writing and scholarly publishing.

This year’s course will focus on how to write a successful manuscript and grant submissions. The course will provide opportunities to learn from journal editors, funding agency representatives, and distinguished scientists. Through didactic presentations, panel discussions, one-on-one networking, and small group discussions, the attendees will learn how to confront career development challenges with a specific focus on the pearls, possibilities, and pitfalls of writing successful grants and manuscripts.




Early Career Development Course Testimonial by Valerie Hill


Early Career Development Course Highlights



Brooks Wingo CHAIR: Brooks Wingo, PhD
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL
CHAIR-ELECT: Open position


Megan Mitchell PAST CHAIR: Megan Mitchell, PhD
Biomedical Engineer
Kansas City, KS
Monique Pappadis
SECRETARY: Monique R. Pappadis, MEd, PhD
University of Texas Medical Branch
LinkedIn Profile



Are you interested in a leadership role with the Early Career Networking Group? The ECNG Executive Committee is looking for interested members to fill three positions. This is a great opportunity to take on a leadership role and build your professional network. Guidance and support will be provided by the current and past chairs. The committee will accept nominations through 15 July 2018. Please direct questions and nominations with CV to Early Career Networking Group Chair, Brooks Wingo.

The following leadership opportunities are open to all ACRM members in good standing. Those who serve a two-year Chair-Elect term will assume the role of Chair for two years, followed by Past-Chair for two years. Volunteer yourself or nominate great ACRM members you respect to help lead our esteemed organization.

ECNG Chair-Elect responsibilities include:

  • Participate and help the chair with the bi-monthly executive committee meetings
  • Support and help the ECNG chair with the ECNG organization and activities
  • Help with the collaborations and communications between other ACRM networking groups, leadership, and staff
  • Assist the chair in the planning of the business meeting at the ACRM Annual Meeting

Early Career Development Course Task Force Chair-Elect responsibilities include:

  • Participate and help the chair with the bi-monthly executive committee meetings
  • Participate and help the chair with planning the annual Early Career Development Course
  • Support the ECNG and its related activities
  • Attend and participate in the Early Career Development Course during the annual conference
  • Act as a liaison to connect potential and existing ACRM early career and/or new attendees or members to ACRM community groups

 Mentoring Task Force Chair-Elect responsibilities include:

  • Participate and assist chair with executive committee meetings
  • Assist with coordination of quarterly Ask the Mentor column in the ECNG quarterly e-newsletter
  • Assist with coordination of mentors for the mentoring lunch during the Early Career Development Course at ACRM’s annual conference
  • Assist the chair in developing the foundation of the ACRM mentoring program and in the recruitment and matching of mentors/mentees
  • Assist the chair to develop and coordinate a mentoring training course at the annual conference and mid-year meeting.



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.

Reza Ehsanian

Early Career Development Course Task Force

CHAIR: Reza Ehsanian, MD, PhD
Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
LinkedIn Profile

CHAIR-ELECT: Open Position
PAST CHAIR: Monique Pappadis, MEd, PhD

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.


Alison Cogan

Communications Task Force

CHAIR: Alison Cogan, PhD, OTR/L
Washington DC VA Medical Center
LinkedIn Profile

CHAIR-ELECT: Ekaterina Dobryakova, PhD
PAST 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.


Megan Mitchell

Mentoring Task Force

CHAIR: Megan Mitchell, PhD
Biomedical Engineer
LinkedIn Profile

CHAIR-ELECT: Open position
PAST CHAIR: Brooks Wingo, PhD

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.



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, Brooks Wingo, PhD to learn more about this group or to become more specifically involved in a task force.



Early Career Networking Group image

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

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
  • Mentoring 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.

The 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
  • Building strong leadership and team science skills
  • Mentorship

The ECNG seeks to provide assistance with all of these common career development challenges and help you build a professional network to support your early career exploration and direction. Networking group members will work together to share relevant announcements, resources, professional contacts, mentorship support, and informative discussions.



Contact ECNG Chair, Brooks Wingo, PhD, to learn about the responsibilities and opportunities of serving in one of the following open positions in the ECNG leadership.

  • ECNG Chair-Elect
  • Early Career Development Course Task Force Chair-Elect
  • Mentoring Task Force Chair-Elect




Meeting & mentoring is nonstop at ACRM

ACRM = NONSTOP mentoring & networking. Click for picts from 2016 ACRM Conference



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




Career Development Task Force Opportunity

  • Build your CV
  • Make a meaningful difference
  • You are warmly invited to join us…

WHO? early career and mid-career members

WHAT?  Join the Early Career Development Course Task Force and actively participate in the planning of the 2018 Early Career Development Course. This course qualifies for continuing education credit (CME/CEUs).

HOW? Please contact Terri Compos, ACRM Community Relations Manager, for access to the monthly teleconference meetings and learn how to get involved.

LEARN MORE about the Early Career Development Course >>



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 >>>

2018 Issues

2017 Issues

2016 Issues

2015 Issues



“How Does ACRM Help You?”

Douglas Katz, MD, FACRM, FAAN
Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital



ECNG Chair: Brooks Wingo

Membership Assistance: or +1.703.435.5335


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“Building Leaders in Rehabilitation Research”

Stephanie Kolakowsky-Hayner, PhD, CBIST, FACRM
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai



Early Career Outstanding Mentor Award

Early Career Mentor Award recipient, Stephanie Kolakowsky-Hayner

The Early Career Outstanding Mentor Award was established in 2016 to honor those who have significantly contributed through mentorship to the development of early career rehabilitation professionals, the Early Career Development Course and the Early Career Networking Group’s Mentoring Task Force.

2018 Awardee

The Early Career Networking Group is pleased to recognize Stephanie Kolakowsky-Hayner, PhD, CBIST, FACRM, with the 2018 Early Career Outstanding Mentor Award.

Stephanie Kolakowsky-Hayner has made many significant contributions to mentoring within the Early Career Networking Group and ACRM. As an established researcher in traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and neurological disorders in rehabilitation, she has provided guidance and mentoring across the ECNG.

As a past chair of the Early Career Development Course Task Force, Dr. Hayner has been instrumental in building the course to its present program. Dr. Hayner incorporated many new ideas within the ECDC that have been very well received, allowing attendees of the course to network and discuss relevant topics within rehabilitation with some of the top mentors in the field.

Dr. Hayner has served on the ECNG Executive Committee from the group’s initiation and has not only provided mentorship to the leadership within the ECNG, but continuously pushes initiatives for mentoring within the ECNG and as a member of ACRM’s Board of Governors. She remains active in the ECNG, continuously mentoring Early Career individuals across all the task forces, providing guidance and mentorship to our leaders and serving the interests of our Early Career members.

The award will be presented to Dr. Hayner at the ACRM Annual Conference in Dallas, during the Early Career and First Time Attendee Welcome on 30 September.

Past Recipients

2017: Theresa Pape, DrPH, MA, CCC-SLP/L, FACRM

2016: Ralph Nitkin, PhD


Deborah L. Wilkerson Early Career Award

Supported by CARF International

Early Career Award recipient, John Ross Rizzo


Congratulations to the 2018 Awardee

In 2018, ACRM recognized John Ross Rizzo, MD, MSCI for contributions to the field made during his early career work. Dr. Rizzo is an Assistant Professor at Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Medical Center. He will present the Deborah L. Wilkerson Award Lecture during the ACRM 2018 Annual Conference in Dallas.

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


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