Stroke ISIG Brochure

Click to View Stroke ISIG Brochure

Stroke remains one of the world’s leading causes of disability. What are you doing to promote best treatment and assessment for stroke?

The mission of the STROKE ISIG is to be a leader in interdisciplinary stroke rehabilitation—both in clinical practice and research—by promoting high standards of rehabilitation practice, education, and research among professionals with common interests in stroke.

See Stroke ISIG Brochure >>



  • Review and recommend research directions and priorities to the ACRM Board of Governors
  • Advocate for stroke rehabilitation within ACRM and other relevant organizations, as well as funding agencies
  • Disseminate research information
  • Contribute the Stroke ISIG Annual presentation:  Hot Topics in Stroke
  • Make recommendations to the Board regarding official endorsements on behalf of ACRM
  • Attend the Mid-Year Meeting annually


2018 ACRM Call for Proposals

CLICK to See Call for Proposals Guidelines & SUBMIT

The Program Committee invites proposals focused on research evidence and its translation into clinical practice for presentation at the ACRM 2018 Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. To propose stroke rehab topics or lead a presentation team, please contact the Stroke ISIG Chair, Pamela Roberts.

See Guidelines & Submit >>


Chair: Pamela Roberts, PhD, OTR/L, SCFES, FAOTA, CPHQ, FNAP, FACRM
Chair-Elect: Mark Kovic, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Past Chair: Stephen Page, PhD, MS, OTR/L, FAHA, FACRM
Advisor: Phil Morse, PhD, FACRM
Secretary: Jaclyn Schwartz, PhD, OTR/L
Membership Officer: Maria Cecilia Alpasan
Communications Officer: Susan Burns
Early Career Officer:
Carmen Enid Capo-Lugo, PT, PhD
Member-at-Large: Marlene Vega, PsyD
Member-at-Large: Kristen L. Mauk, PhD, DNP, RN, CRRN, GCNS-BC, GNP-BC, FAAN
International Networking Group Liaison (Ex-Officio): Katharina Sunnerhagen, MD, PHD
ACRM Staff Liaison: Terri Compos


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This semi-annual newsletter of the ACRM STROKE-ISIG, reports the news, updates, progress, and opportunities that spring from the group's many task forces and dedicated members.



“Internationally, the Stroke ISIG offers a venue unlike any other Chris MacDonellin the world. It brings together leaders in stroke rehabilitation and research in a collegial, collaborative, and interdisciplinary manner where exchanging ideas brings tremendous value to all who attend. This is an opportunity not to miss!”

Chris MacDonell, FACRM
Managing Director of Medical Rehabilitation
CARF International



Heather Tanksley, MOT, OTR/L, interviewed clinician colleagues who participated in educational sessions at past ACRM conferences to share insights about their experiences. You might be surprised by their answers!

Marjorie Nicholas

Marjorie Nicholas

Respondent:  ACRM Presenter, Marjorie Nicholas, PhD, CCC-SLP, MGH, Institute of Health Professionals

Q: What did you enjoy most about presenting at the ACRM conference this year?

A: It was refreshing to present as an SLP to a wider range of professionals than we usually get to interact with. The questions people had were more interesting as a result.

> Read More >>>





Congratulations to Newly Elected Leaders

Mark KovicCHAIR-ELECT:  Mark Kovic, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Associate Director & Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Department, College of Health Sciences
Midwestern University

Mark has worked as an occupational therapy clinician and educator for 21 years. His breadth and depth of experience includes sub-acute and day rehabilitation settings with a primary focus upon working with individuals who have sustained a CVA. He has been involved with stroke research across a wide range of areas including robotics and community participation. He received his post-professional occupational therapy doctorate in 2008 where he studied the effectiveness of community resources and related education for persons with strokes and brain injuries with their caregivers and healthcare providers.

Mark currently is the Associate Director and an Associate Professor in the Occupational Therapy Department at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Illinois. He has been in these roles since 2009.

Mark has a robust record of service leadership including:

  • Accreditation Council of Occupational Therapy Education member
  • American Occupational Therapy Association Evidence Exchange Co-Chairperson
  • Founding Chairman of the Board for Synapse House Brain Injury Clubhouse
  • International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics Scientific Advisory Board Member
  • American Occupational Therapy Association Certification Examination Preparation Board Member
  • Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools International Occupational Therapy Professional Standards Committee Chairperson

Mark has been honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015 and the American Occupational Therapy Association Roster of Fellows in 2016.

Mark currently serves as the ACRM Stroke ISIG Membership Chairperson. In this role, amongst other efforts, he has expanded novel strategies to provide resources for the membership through online webinars. He is committed to collaborative efforts in order to maximize benefits for members.

American Heart Association Strategically Focused Research Network, WISSDOM Center Postdoctoral Fellow
Medical University of South Carolina

Suzanne is an occupational therapist that specializes in stroke rehabilitation. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics and Master of Occupational Therapy from the University of New Mexico. She also received her PhD in Occupational Therapy at Texas Woman’s University in Dallas, Texas.

Suzanne is a postdoctoral fellow at the Medical University of South Carolina through the American Heart Association (AHA) Strategically Focused Research Network (SFRN) Wide Spectrum Investigation of Stroke Outcome Disparities on Multiple Levels (WISSDOM) Center. Suzanne currently serves as co-chair on the Health and Wellness Task Force for the ACRM Stroke ISIG.

Maria Cecilia AlpasanMEMBERSHIP OFFICER: Maria Cecilia Alpasan, MA, OTR/L, CPHQ
Quality and Education Coordinator, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Cecille has over 25 years of experience in rehabilitation across the continuum of care as a practicing occupational therapist. The last 10 years have been devoted to responsibilities in the areas of quality and education as it relates to rehabilitation. Cecille brings with her a strong sense of the importance of collaboration and creativity which helps with her duties. Her priorities include activities related to regulatory, patient safety, utilization review, performance improvement, as well as educational initiatives such as staff development and  post-professional programs across all therapy disciplines. She is also active in community education, and specifically in the CSMC stroke support groups. Cecille is passionate about health literacy and the use of technology in all aspects of patient education.

She is a member of the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)’s Roster of Fellowship Reviewers and the Fellowship Program Review Committee. She is on her first term as a member of the California Hospital Association’s Post-Acute Care Advisory Board. She has been part of the ACRM’s Program Planning Committee for the past 2 years.

Cecille has a Master of Arts degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California, and is also a graduate of the University of the Philippines. She is currently working towards her doctorate in Health Sciences Administration.



It's new, it's fun, it's informative — Join us!

Virtual Happy Hours are webinars held on WebEx featuring expert speakers in all areas of stroke rehabilitation. This is an opportunity to learn from and interact with the best in our field!

Join us on the third Thursday of each month from 5:00 - 6:00 PM ET.


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Follow the Stroke ISIG on twitter @ACRMStroke for more details and reminders about this exciting event!



  1. ATTEND the ACRM Conference — with the MOST STROKE rehab programming in the WORLD
  2. Join STROKE ISIG meetings at the conference
  3. Participate in the STROKE ISIG task forces (easiest to do at the ACRM Conference)

The work of the STROKE ISIG is accomplished through its task forces and the ACRM Annual Conference events.

Participation in four very active task forces is open to all members of the STROKE ISIG and new members are welcome.

All ACRM members and others thinking about joining the STROKE ISIG for the first time should contact any of the executive committee members or task force chairs (listed below) to make a meaningful difference in the field of Stroke rehabilitation. Membership is growing – don’t be left behind!


  • Participation in STROKE ISIG task forces
  • Receive STROKE MATTERS semi-annual newsletter
  • Opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Grow your professional network of colleagues, mentors, and funders
  • Gain recognition for your contributions to the field and to ACRM
  • Boost your CV with opportunities to take leadership roles in ACRM
  • Continuing education opportunities
  • Opportunity to plan educational courses for the ACRM Annual Conference
  • Collaborative research opportunities
  • Networking and engaging with STROKE rehabilitation colleagues who share your passion and challenges
  • Increase opportunities to publish your work
  • Meet pioneers in the field, mentors, and potential research collaborators
  • Advance the field by helping to translate and disseminate cutting-edge research into clinical guidelines and practice
  • Experience outstanding peer-to-peer learning
  • Advance evidence-based clinical practices for improved outcomes



ACRM / National Stroke Association Award for Excellence in Post-Acute ACRM / National Stroke Association Award for Excellence in Post-Acute Stroke

Stroke Award

Co-sponsored by ACRM and the National Stroke Association, the Excellence in Post Acute Stroke Award is the only one of its kind in the field. Read More >

The 2017 award recognizes the outstanding work of Leora R. Cherney, PhD, BC-ANCDS, CCC-SLP.

Leora Cherney (center)

Leora Cherney (center), 2018 Excellence in Post Acute Stroke Award recipient

Dr. Cherney will present an award lecture at the ACRM 2017 Annual Conference in Atlanta on her current research focus on innovative treatment approaches for aphasia. Dr. Cherney is professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine and a senior research scientist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. She is also founder and director of the Center for Aphasia Research and Treatment at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Award NSA / ACRM Young Investigator Award in Post-Acute Stroke Rehabilitation

National Stroke Association/ACRM Young Investigator Award in Post-Acute Stroke Rehabilitation

The NSA/ACRM Young Investigator Award recognizes an individual professional and ACRM member who demonstrates drive and commitment to furthering rehabilitation research in the area of post-stroke care, measurement, and/or stroke patient outcomes. Learn More >>

John Ross Rizzo (center)

John Ross Rizzo (center) received the 2018 Young Investigator Award in Post-Acute Stroke Rehabilitation

The inaugural National Stroke Association/ACRM Young Investigator Award in Post-Acute Stroke Rehabilitation recognizes the early career work of John-Ross (JR) Rizzo, MD, MSCI.

Dr. Rizzo is a physician-scientist at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Rusk Rehabilitation, where he is an Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation with a cross-appointment in the Department of Neurology and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (NYU-Tandon School of Engineering). He leads the Visuomotor Integration Laboratory (VMIL), where his team focuses on eye-hand coordination, as it relates to acquired brain injury (ABI).

Dr. Rizzo presented the award lecture, Eye Control Deficits Coupled to Hand Control Deficits: Eye-Hand Incoordination in Chronic Stroke, during the ACRM Annual Conference at the Atlanta Hilton on 28 October.

2017 Poster Awards for Stroke

Congratulations to the following winners of the 2017 STROKE ISIG poster awards. These posters were presented at the ACRM 94th Annual Conference in Atlanta.


Presented at the Poster Grand Rounds
Treatment Expectancy Predicts Clients’ Engagement During Inpatient Rehabilitation After Stroke
First Author: Emily Kringle



A Couples-Based Intervention Improves Depressive Symptoms in Stroke Survivors and Care-Partners
First Author: Alexandra Terrill



Self-Awareness Improves Over Time
First Author: Jessica Kersey


“How does ACRM Help the Stroke Community?"

Philip Morse, PhD, FACRM
ABI Rehabilitation New Zealand


  • Strengthen task forces with at least 1 - 2 products per task force
  • Prepare proposals to present submissons for 2017 Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Virtual Happy Hour


One of the most valuable benefits of ACRM membership is the opportunity to participate in the many interdisciplinary special interest groups and networking groups. Not sure ACRM membership is right for you? Consider an ISIG Only membership.


Print an ISIG ONLY Membership Application


The work of the STROKE ISIG is carried out by its task forces. Collaboration among task force members is accomplished throughout the year with regular conference calls and two face-to-face meetings per year. These are held during the ACRM Mid-Year Meeting in the spring and the ACRM Annual Conference in the fall.

All of the task forces have made impressive strides in the past two years in preparing and publishing papers. Read on to learn about the specific projects undertaken by each group.


CO-CHAIR: Marsha Neville, PhD, OT

The Movement Interventions Task Force is a dynamic group of neurorehabilitation researchers and clinicians representing a variety of disciplines from across the United States and Canada. A common interest among all members and the theme of this task force is movement after stroke.

Movement-related deficits are the most common impairments exhibited after stroke, and in many cases, the most disabling. Yet, there remain few therapies that effectively target stroke motor impairments. Moreover, the therapeutic ingredients that most impact motor changes after stroke, and the ways in which movement-related variables change after stroke (i.e. speed, precision, strength, pacing), each remain poorly understood.

We are a product-oriented group focusing on developing new knowledge about movement after stroke through development of presentations, papers, and other educational materials for patients, care partners, and professionals.


  1. Recruit and engage new members who represent the various disciplines within rehabilitation
    • Recruited several new members after the ACRM conference last fall – Active members who regularly engage in planning and producing products numbers at about 10 persons.
    • Task force is represented by occupational and physical therapy, and psychology.
  2. Recruit a new co-chair for a 3-year position
    • Susan Lin became the co-chair in fall 2015, and will serve with Marsha Neville until 2017
  3. Explore mechanisms for task force members to engage in research discussions and/or form collaborations outside of business meetings
    • After hosting the first "Virtual Happy Hour“ on April 7, 2015, we hosted another one May 17, 2016 with Janice Eng, BSR (PT/OT), MSc, PhD. She presented and discussed the research on the GRASP program.
    • Starting a group in LinkedIn for discussion/networking
    • Created a shared folder in Dropbox for project management
  4. Prepare and submit products on behalf of the task force
    • Symposia – Speakers: Lin, Langan, Bosch, Fasoli, & Rowe presenting on survey as product of task force.
    • Products in process:
      • 2 papers
      • 1 IEP


  • Submit at least 1 conference proposal
  • Present at least one session/poster for conference
  • Submit one article and one IEP for publication
  • Build comprehensive roster of task force members
  • Host one Virtual Happy Hour
  • Continue to collaborate with other Stroke ISIG Task Forces to identify potential collaborative opportunities
  • Discuss best times and meeting formats with members; Use online resources to stimulate discussion and support project management.


  • A recent publication suggesting appropriate operational definitions for intensity, duration, and frequency of stroke rehabilitation (Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 2012;93:1395-9).
  • Another manuscript is being drafted to provide clinicians with current evidence and guidelines for use of neuroprosthetic walking devices.
  • The group is preparing a conference symposium for the 2013 ACRM Annual Conference that will emphasize the importance of using standardized clinical assessments and assist clinicians in putting such tools to use in their settings.
  • Other planned products include fact sheets on post-stroke complementary and alternative medicine and secondary stroke prevention.

For more information about the Movement Interventions Task Force contact Marsha Neville.



CO-CHAIR: John Ross Rizzo, MD
CO-CHAIR: Kimberly Hreha, EdD, MS, OTR/L

The visual system is one of our most important senses. It enables us to gather and process information and determines how we will interact with our dynamic environment. Neurological diseases or insults can leave patients with some degree of visual, perceptual, and/or cognitive dysfunction. A neglected component in therapies to improve function is a clear understanding of eye-hand coordination even though harmonization between eye and hand movement is required for all functional activities.

The mission of this task force is to understand how vision, visual motor, and visual perceptual training can be generalized to limb training to improve coordination and functional performance and develop the field of functional vision rehabilitation. Further, our task force will investigate the role of eye movements in eye-hand coordination and in the recovery of motor control in patients with stroke. We hope to stimulate research that will build a logical foundation to integrate the principles of eye-hand coordination into clinical practice to improve functional ability.

The Vision Task Force is a group comprised of clinicians and researchers who are dedicated to elucidating these serious concerns. Aside from the development of functional vision rehabilitation for ocular ailments, our secondary goals involve promulgating information regarding the importance of visual deficits and the clinical situations where they may be prevalent, in addition to advocating for public policy to take a stronger stance on assisting those with vision impediments and allocating healthcare resources appropriately.


  1. Finish our second paper
    • Reviewed the information that was completed prior to this year for the paper, in Completed  new draft of paper, up to results section.
  2. Continue to work on editing the Conceptual Model Paper
    • Pending publication Sept/Oct 2016.
  3. Prepare and submit products on behalf of the task force
    • Kimberly Hreha gave the July "Virtual Happy Hour." She presented and discussed her dissertation research  project on prism treatment for stroke survivors with multiple strokes, spatial neglect and motor dysfunction.
    • will be publishing online a review that was completed on the Kessler Foundation Neglect Assessment Process.
    • At ACRM a few of our members are presenting (e.g., JR Rizzo, Pam Roberts)
    • AOTA Accepted oral presentation for Vision Conceptual Model for March/April 2017

PLANS for CY 2017:

  • Submit at least 1 conference proposal
  • Present at least one session/poster for conference
  • Present Vision Conceptual Model at AOTA Annual conference in March/April 2017
  • Submit one article for publication
  • Recruit and engage at least 2 new members


One of the first projects that the Vision Task Force has focused on is developing a conceptual framework for vision. Colenbrander (2009) distinguishes between visual function and functional vision. The task force has taken these two concepts and built a conceptual framework for vision-centric healthcare. As our field progresses within the domains of ophthalmology, optometry, rehabilitation medicine, neurology, and neurosurgery, it behooves us to combine this burgeoning field of evidence-based medicine into reliable and valid diagnostic and treatment algorithms that can be utilized across clinical specialties.


CO-CHAIR: Jacklyn Schwartz, PhD, OTR/L
CO-CHAIR: Suzanne Perea Burns, PhD, OTR/L

Health management and maintenance is an important instrumental activity of daily living following stroke. Survivors must learn how to manage their condition and actively prevent future stroke or other disease. The goal of this group is to engage in activities promoting the health and wellbeing of persons after stroke. Topics of interest include, nutrition, physical activity, adherence, medication management, and mental health.


  1. Engagement of members to participate in task force activities
    • Active participation in multiple papers and annual conference
  2. Instructional course at on interdisciplinary evaluation and treatment of persons with mild stroke
    • Instructional course at annual conference-Oct 2016
  3. Development of 3 white papers on the treatment of mild stroke in regards to participation, health, and cognition
    • In process
  4. Development of 1 paper regarding the definition of mild stroke
    • In process


  • Goal: Identify new targeted area of contribution (e.g.. mild stroke)
  • Goal: Submission of one presentation for ACRM conference
  • Goal: Submission of one peer-reviewed paper
  • Goal: Host one virtual happy hour


For the 2016 ACRM Annual Conference, the Health and Wellness Task Force is submitting an instructional course on rehabilitation for persons with mild stroke. Many people do not receive rehabilitation after mild stroke, but the literature demonstrates that people in this population do experience deficits upon returning to the community, particularly in complex instrumental activities of daily living. The purpose of this instructional course is to describe best practices for persons with mild stroke in the areas of cognitive function, nutrition, physical activity, medication adherence, driving, return to work, and mental health.


CO-CHAIR: Michell Camicia, MSN, CRRN, CCM, FAHA

The purpose of this group of nursing scholars and clinicians is to perform activities that support ACRM’s mission of enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities through interdisciplinary rehabilitation research.


  1. Increase participation of nurses actively involved in ACRM
    • 2 full day Instructional Courses at ACRM Annual meeting in 2015
  2. Increase attendance of nurses at the ACRM annual meeting
    • Increase in papers/posters by nurses

PLANS for CY 2017

  • White Paper development/summary with interprofessional work group



CO-CHAIR: Christina M. del Toro, PhD, CCC-SLP
Assistant Professor, Speech-Language Pathology Program
Midwestern University

CO-CHAIR: Michelle Armour, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital part of Northwestern Medicine

Aphasia is a language disorder resulting from damage to the left-hemisphere of the brain. Aphasia most commonly occurs following a stroke and results in long-term disability of communication. Individuals with aphasia have difficulty speaking, reading, writing, and understanding spoken language. However, individuals with aphasia are otherwise intelligent with preserved memory and attention systems.  As such, aphasia is a frustrating disorder in which an individual is unable to express his or her thoughts fully and accurately or understand the thoughts of others.

Oftentimes individuals with aphasia have lingering medical needs following the stroke and/or physical and occupational impairments as a result of the stroke. Additionally, depression commonly occurs in individuals with aphasia. Therefore, individuals with aphasia are typically under the care of multiple health care professionals.  However, not all healthcare professionals receive specific education or training on aphasia.

The goals of this task force is to increase aphasia education in the medical professionals that treat these individuals and support interdisciplinary research on the care of individuals with aphasia.  Specifically, this task force aims to improve the communication between rehabilitation professionals and their patient’s with aphasia in order to improve the care and quality of life of these individuals.

Plans for CY 2017

  • Build active membership
  • Increase attendance of speech-language pathologists at the ACRM Annual Conference
  • Identify the knowledge of aphasia within ACRM members
  • Host one Virtual Happy Hour

Developing Stroke-Related Program Content

A major focus of the STROKE ISIG is to promote more stroke-related content in the ACRM annual conference program. The 2012 Vancouver conference was a tremendous success in this area. We began the meeting with two great half-day pre-conference instructional courses, Innovations in Stroke Rehabilitation – Part 1 (Catherine Lang, Arlene Schmid, Robert Teasell, Lara Boyd) and Part 2 (Sarah Wallace, Deirdre Dawson, Pamela Roberts, Richard Riggs JR Rizzo).

We also sponsored the inaugural Stroke Special Topics Session titled, “Translating Research into Clinical Practice,” featuring Janice Eng and colleagues discussing their GRASP program. This symposium is now an annual event dedicated to the presentation and discussion of integrated efforts to implementing research findings in real-world clinical practice.

An extra bonus for the STROKE ISIG during the Vancouver conference was the Deborah L. Wilkerson Early Career Award Winner presentation by Elizabeth Skidmore (“Closing the Gap: Early Intervention for Cognitive Disability after Stroke”).

To learn more about membership and activities of the STROKE ISIG, contact the chair, Pamela Roberts, PhD, OTR/L, SCFES, FAOTA, CPHQ, FNAP, FACRM.


  • The Member Guide to Product Development describes ACRM products, i.e., fact sheets, journal articles, manuals, and the procedure used by ACRM groups and committees to develop them. The guide includes a Product Development Worksheet and how to request a Product Review.