ENACT Welcomes Pre-Doctoral Fellow Molly Vaughan, DPT

in News Feed, Winter 2013 Newsletter
February 12th, 2013

Molly_head shot

The ENACT team is excited to welcome a new pre-doctoral fellow, Molly Vaughan, PT, DPT. Molly came to ENACT in September 2012, joining pre-doctoral fellows Aileen Ledingham, Rawan AlHeresh, and Radhika Kelkar.

Molly developed an interest in rehabilitation research after completing a degree in architectural design at Washington University. After college, Molly went on a cross-country trip where she worked as a still photographer on an independent documentary chronicling the life of a youth with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This experience proved to be a life-changing event that would eventually lead her to ENACT. During the trip, Molly became intrigued by the myriad environmental obstacles encountered by people with mobility limitations. Molly also assisted the physical therapy aides and was able to learn some interventions. This experience helped Molly develop a unique perspective and motivated her to use her background in architecture to examine the impact of environmental obstacles on participation among people with physical disabilities.

As a next step in exploring her interest in disability and the environment, Molly decided to pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Boston University’s Sargent college of health and Rehabilitation Sciences.  While at Sargent College, Molly was mentored by Dr. Julie Keysor, a national expert on disability and the environment and ENACT’s director. Under Dr. Keysor’s guidance, Molly assisted with the development of Access Wiki, a navigational tool to help people with disabilities avoid built environment barriers in order to increase their participation. This is an important contribution because, as Molly says, “the barriers that the environment may pose to both older people or people with disabilities may accelerate their loss of function and disability.”

Molly’s collaboration with Dr. Keysor inspired her to apply for ENACT’s pre- doctoral clinical fellowship to pursue her Doctor of Science in Rehabilitation Sciences.  Molly says, “Dr. Keysor has conducted environmental research in rehabilitation, and her intelligence and passion for this topic were instrumental in my decision to pursue an ScD at Sargent.” Molly is currently working on ENACT research projects, including the Work It Vocational Retention Project.  According to Dr. Keysor, “Molly brings a true passion to enhancing the lives of older adults and people with arthritis by fostering optimal activity and participation in their life roles. Her enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity regarding the interface between the environment, the person and participation will move the field forward in novel ways. We look forward to fostering Molly’s skills and expertise to address this critical area of rheumatological rehabilitation.” We are fortunate to have Molly’s unique experience and perspective.