Kessler Foundation scientist Jeanne Zanca, PhD, receives $100,000 award to facilitate uptake of research results by rehabilitation clinicians

female assistant director of the Institutional Review Board at Kessler Foundation
Dr. Zanca, chair of the Foundation’s Institutional

Review Board and assistant director of the

Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research.


Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute funds plan to advance adoption of the Rehabilitation Treatment Specification System framework

East Hanover, NJ. September 14, 2022. Kessler Foundation scientist Jeanne Zanca, MPT, PhD, has received funding to help facilitate rehabilitation clinician uptake of effective treatments through improved research reporting. Dr. Zanca is chair of the Foundation’s Institutional Review Board and assistant director of the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research. Her study is titled, “Facilitating Rehabilitation Clinician Uptake of PCOR/CER Results via Improved Research Reporting.” This is the Foundation’s first award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), an independent, nonprofit organization that funds comparative effectiveness research, which provides patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence needed to make better-informed health and healthcare decisions.

“Inadequate research reporting is a key barrier to uptake of the results of patient-centered outcomes research/comparative effectiveness research (PCOR/CER) by rehabilitation clinicians,” asserted Dr. Zanca. Currently, rehabilitation treatments are often described in relation to the limitations being treated, or number of hours or days of service, without documenting what that service actually involves. In addition, research publications frequently do not describe treatments in ways that readily enable adoption into practice.

The Rehabilitation Treatment Specification System (RTSS), developed with funding from PCORI and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), is a framework that provides terminology and procedures to help researchers clearly define, classify, and measure the clinician’s actions or selections (“active ingredients”) that are thought to improve functioning so that other clinicians may implement these ingredients in practice. 

“Our prior efforts to engage stakeholders demonstrate both enthusiasm for the RTSS and a need for training materials, implementation tools, and support from RTSS experts to facilitate its use,” said Dr. Zanca. “This project will engage front-line clinicians, health professions educators, rehabilitation researchers, and journal editors/reviewers to develop a consensus-based plan to create support that will enable RTSS-based research reporting and facilitate clinician uptake of PCOR/CER research results,” she explained. The project will be coordinated at Kessler Foundation and conducted in collaboration with the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM)’s Rehabilitation Treatment Specification Networking Group.

Funding: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) EASCS-24311.


About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes – including employment – for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities.

For more information, contact:
Deb Hauss, [email protected]
Carolann Murphy, [email protected]

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