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Award-Winning Scholar and Clinical Expert in Pediatric Physical Therapy, Victoria Marchese, PhD, PT, Named New Chair of the UM School of Medicine's Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science

August 01, 2019

Victoria Marchese, PhD, PT

Dr. Marchese to Take Helm of Department That Has Been a Pioneer and Innovator in Physical Therapy Research and Education

University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, announced today that Victoria Marchese, PhD, PT, Associate Professor and Interim Vice Chair for Academic Affairs in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science (PTRS), has been selected to be the next Chair of the Department. She will begin her new role on August 15, 2019.

Dr. Marchese, who joined the UMSOM faculty in 2014, is an award-winning scholar and clinical expert in the rehabilitation of children diagnosed with cancer. She has authored numerous book chapters and peer-reviewed articles in the area of assessment and physical therapy intervention for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and lower-extremity sarcoma. She has received numerous awards for both her research and clinical work in pediatric cancer care and physical therapy, and has presented nationally on the impact of student involvement in Transdisciplinary Education.

Prior to joining UMSOM, she was a consultant at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, Center for Technology in Education. In 2018, she was named Interim Vice Chair for Academic Affairs for the UMSOM Department of PTRS.

E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBAAs an active investigator, Dr. Marchese has four current studies funded by the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy, Foundation for Physical Therapy, and the Dr. Gladys E. Wadsworth Physical Therapy Research Fund. These studies are investigating pediatric physiologic mechanisms that contribute to functional outcomes and quality of life in children with leukemia, sarcoma, and sickle cell disease.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Marchese join the UMSOM’s academic leadership as chair of this very important department,” said Dean Reece, who is also the Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor at UMSOM.  “With her outstanding scholarship and unique focus on the rehabilitation and care of pediatric cancer patients, Dr. Marchese provides unique strengths and important breadth of leadership to catapult the department to new heights.”

Dean Reece, on behalf of the UMSOM community, extended his sincerest gratitude to the prior chairs who have led the department to significant national standing in scholarship, innovation, and discovery.

Andrew Pollak, MDMost recently, Andrew Pollak, MD, the James Lawrence Kernan Professor and Chair in the Department of Orthopaedics, served as Acting Chair of the Department of PTRS since June 2018. Previously, nationally recognized leaders in Physical Therapy Mary Rodgers, PhD, PT, and Mark Rogers, PhD, PT led the Department: Dr. Mary Rodgers, a distinguished scholar, served as chair from 1998 to 2013, and Dr. Mark Rogers, an accomplished scientist, served as Interim Chair from 2013 to 2015, was appointed Chair in 2015, and served until his retirement in 2018.

"The Department has been the beneficiary of strong and important leadership. We are most appreciative of the hard work, astute leadership, and commitment of Dr. Mary Rodgers and Dr. Mark Rogers. The UMSOM is most grateful for their many years of service and important contributions.” Dean Reece said. “We also would like to recognize Dr. Pollak for his outstanding transitional leadership and strong commitment to this Department, while at the same time continuing to lead with positive growth and success of the Department of Orthopaedics as its Chair.”

Since its inception 63 years ago, the UMSOM Department of PTRS has stood at the forefront of physical therapy education and innovative research, including in the areas of neurorehabilitation, musculoskeletal function, and pediatric rehabilitation. Researchers have made broad strides in discovering new stroke rehabilitation techniques, sensorimotor rehabilitation in pediatric cerebral palsy, and mechanisms of underlying neuroplasticity using functional MRI and transcranial magnetic stimulation imaging. Members of the interdisciplinary PhD program faculty include health practitioners in five different UMSOM departments and the School of Nursing.  

In fiscal year 2019, the UMSOM Department of PTRS received close to $2 million in federal grants, including a 5-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop an intervention to enhance muscle power, improve balance, and prevent falls in the elderly. Another NIH grant was awarded to the Department to test the effectiveness of a limb training program to help restore mobility and function in stroke patients.

Dr. Marchese is a member of the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center Institute, as well as the UMSOM’s Program in Oncology. She has received many awards for her research and clinical work, including the Stephen Gudas Award for Outstanding Publication in Rehabilitation for her research on assessing whether certain objective screening tools (cognitive, physical, dietary, social) were better in identifying which pediatric cancer patients needed a referral to a specialist, rather than a standard physician’s exam. She also received the Oncology Section Research Award from the American Physical Therapy Association for her research on pediatric cancer patients’ quality of life and physical limitations in the years following their successful treatment.

To add to her responsibilities, she reviews manuscripts for several rehabilitation journals, including the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pediatric Physical Therapy, Pediatric Blood and Cancer, and Rehabilitation Oncology. She serves on the editorial board of the journal Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics. She also serves on two research committees for the American Physical Therapy Association the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy and the Academy of Oncologic Physical Therapy.

“I am so pleased to be given this new opportunity to take our Department to the next level,” said Dr. Marchese. We have a great team, and I am delighted to help advance education, scholarship, and research in the Department of PTRS.”

Dr. Marchese received her B.S. degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Tennessee, and her PhD degree in Rehabilitation Sciences at the Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. She served as a tenured professor at Lebanon Valley College and was also on faculty in the Department of Pediatrics at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital before moving to Baltimore. She also has extensive clinical experience practicing as a physical therapist at the Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world, with 43 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs. The School of Medicine has a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished recipient of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research. With an operating budget of more than $1.2 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically based care for more than 1.2 million patients each year. The School has over 2,500 students, residents, and fellows, and nearly $575 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total workforce of nearly 7,000 individuals. The combined School and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of over $6 billion and an economic impact of more than $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit


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