Committed to Health

Rachel Cowan, PhD, receives prestigious award.

The PVA Research Foundation has announced that the 2010 Fritz Krauth Memorial Fellow is Rachel E. Cowan, PhD, a post-doctoral associate in the Applied Psychology Laboratory at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine.

A North Carolina native, Dr. Cowan graduated summa cum laude with university and departmental honors in Physical Education from UNC–Wilmington (2000); earned an MS in Health and Exercise Science from Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C. (2003); and holds a PhD in Rehabilitation Science and Technology from the University of Pittsburgh (2007). As a doctoral student working at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) under the guidance of Michael Boninger, MD, she was awarded an NIH Individual Pre-doctoral Fellowship to study wheelchair-propulsion biomechanics.

In addition, she received a Paralyzed Veterans of America Education Foundation grant to develop a wheelchair-propulsion biomechanics database that will define “typical” propulsion biomechanics for a variety of wheelchair users. Dr. Cowan’s research interest integrates biomechanics, functional assessments, and fitness with the ultimate goal of enhancing quality of life by enabling all people to achieve their desired levels of participation.

Beyond her academic and professional accomplishments, Dr. Cowan has a personal commitment to health and fitness and to attempting most sports and activities that come her way. She played quad rugby for several years while in Pittsburgh, has recently taken up swimming, and intends to pursue kayaking in the near future.


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