Dr. Heather Braden of the Angelo State University physical therapy faculty has received the inaugural Best Manuscript of the Year Award for 2013 from the Journal of Acute Care Physical Therapy, a publication of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
Braden will receive a plaque and will be recognized at the APTA Combined Sections Meeting next spring in Indianapolis.

Titled “Gait Speed Improves During Physical Therapy in General Acute Care, Skilled Nursing, and Inpatient Rehabilitation – A Pilot Study,” Braden’s manuscript was first published in the journal last summer.

“Gait speed is an informative measure that can be used to evaluate the success of physical therapy interventions and the functional capacity of the patient,” Braden said.  “The objective of this research study was to describe gait speed and changes that occurred in patients who received physical therapy in acute care, skilled nursing and inpatient rehabilitation settings.”

The study found gait speed to be an informative measure, improving from physical therapy initial evaluation to discharge in three different health care settings.  In acute care, gait speeds improved over a short course of therapy, but were considered slow relative to community requirements.  In skilled nursing and inpatient rehabilitation, patients achieved gait speeds required for limited community-level ambulation.

An associate professor, Braden joined the ASU faculty in 2010.  In addition to her teaching duties, she is director of ASU’s Functional Mobility Laboratory and co-director of the Interprofessional Education Collaborative.  She has conducted international collaborative research with faculty from Korea University and the University of Leipzig in Germany, and has presented research at the World Congress Physical Therapy and APTA Combined Sections Meetings and for the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Therapy.

Certified as a geriatric clinical specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties, Braden earned her bachelor’s degree from ASU, her master’s degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and her doctorate from Texas A&M University.  She has been an active member of APTA since 1998 with section memberships in geriatrics, oncology, and health policy and management.