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MON 19 OCT  //  8:30 AM – 3:45 PM
This didactic presentation & hands-on workshop is designed for anyone at any career level. The VIRTUAL format insures that anyone can attend this course.

The field of rehabilitation is at a critical point, requiring strong leadership to substantiate and promote its role in facilitating recovery and health in people with disability.

Meaningful leadership requires people who can influence others toward a common mission and goal. The best leaders are those who know and effectively leverage their leadership style to promote change and innovation, who utilize best practices for leadership, and who are inclusive of all people, from all related backgrounds, regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity.

This inaugural course is designed to help rehabilitation and research professionals begin to develop leadership skills necessary to advance and build the leadership capacity in rehabilitation medicine and research. The focus of this first course is to help individuals develop the confidence and assertiveness necessary to achieve greater personal success, significantly contribute to the goals of ACRM and ultimately to the field of rehabilitation medicine and research.


“Anyone who wants to learn how to be a more authentic, dynamic and effective leader in rehabilitation medicine needs to be at this course.”

Deborah Backus, PT, PhD, FACRM

ACRM Past President, Shepherd Center


Gerben DeJong, PhD, FACRM
Senior Fellow
MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital

Francie Schulwolf
Lead Instructor and Executive Coach
Sally Williamson & Associates

Sarah L. Batts, MBA
Executive Director
Shepherd Center Foundation

Alex Seblatnigg, CAVS
Director of Volunteer Service and Internal Engagement
Shpherd Center

Deborah Backus PT, PhD, FACRM
Director of Multiple Sclerosis Research
Shepherd Center



Keynote presenter, Gerben DeJong, PhD, FACRM, will kick-off the course with a presentation titled, The Essential Leadership Trait that No One Talks About. Ask people what they think is the one leadership trait most essential for effective leadership. You will get as many answers as people you ask. But there is one quality or trait that is rarely, if ever, on anyone’s list and yet Dr. DeJong believes it is foundational. His presentation will outline why leaders with this trait are especially effective and how people missing this trait are the kind of people for whom you do not want to work.

He will contrast leaders with and without this foundational trait and illustrate why those without this essential trait are—or can be, immensely destructive, often unethical, and should be avoided at all costs. This trait underpins all that we do in rehabilitation practice and research. Wishing he had learned this earlier in his career, Dr. DeJong wants to pass along insights on how this essential trait can enhance your career, your leadership style, and your sense of professional fulfillment. Curious?

Next, Alex Seblatnigg and Sarah Batts from Shepherd Center will lead participants to examine their own strength as a leader and define their leadership style for authentic leadership. Topics include leadership strength inventory, leadership style inventory, and leading with character and compassion.


The afternoon workshop, led by Francie Schulwolf from Sally Williamson & Associates, will focus on developing strong, confident communicators and leaders in rehabilitation medicine. It starts with your personal brand and evaluating how people experience you in a business setting. Francie will introduce participants to the foundational skills of personal presence and the choices executives make that can influence impressions. Through group exercises, Francie will cover the three C’s of style: Confidence, Commitment & Connection and help participants explore new choices that strengthen visibility and impact in any business setting.

Get inspired to define your brand and develop executive presence. With honest and warm style, this session will be a safe and comfortable environment in which to learn and grow.


1. Discuss the need for strong leadership to advance rehabilitation medicine
2. Identify their leadership strengths and define their leadership style
3. Begin to identify ways to use their style to influence change and innovation in rehabilitation medicine and research
4. Describe ways to leverage their leadership style for more effective communication with diverse partners, collaborators, employees, and stakeholders

“This course was created to empower the ACRM and rehabilitation medicine researchers and evidence-based practitioners to be the voices to move the field forward.”


ACRM President, Cedars-Sinai



ACRM 98th Annual Conference | Progress in Rehabilitation Research | VIRTUAL & IN-PERSON: DALLAS

CORE: 24 – 26 SEPT 2021 // PRE-CONFERENCE: 26 – 29 SEPT 2021

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* Although significant changes are not anticipated, the schedules, sessions, and presenters are subject to change.


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