The NYU Steinhardt Department of Physical Therapy is thrilled to congratulate two of our faculty members, Assistant Professor Ericka Merriwether and Clinical Assistant Professor Kevin Weaver, on their recent award recognitions from the school.
Dr. Merriwether was named a Gabriel Carras Award recipient for the 2019-2020 academic year. Each year, this award is given to promising faculty members in the first or second years of their pre-tenure appointments.
Merriwether was selected based on her research of the benefits of lifestyle physical activity for individuals facing chronic pain. This is a particularly critical area of scholarship given the widespread use of opioids for chronic pain in the United States and the need for less dangerous approaches to pain management.
While those with chronic conditions like fibromyalgia may be less inclined to engage in lifestyle physical activity for fear of fatigue and initial pain exacerbation, Merriwether’s research found that even small amounts of daily physical activity — about 10 minutes — could improve their function, fatigue, and physical quality of life. This shows that there are therapeutic benefits to engaging in physical activity well below the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes per day for the chronic pain population.
Dr. Weaver received an NYU Steinhardt Teaching Excellence Award, a recognition presented to select faculty members each year who demonstrate outstanding teaching as well as a commitment to mentorship inside and outside the classroom.
Weaver’s courses cover a range of topics pertaining to the physical therapy field, including the musculoskeletal system, biomechanics, ergonomics, and healthcare system business practices. In addition to providing students with a technical knowledge base in each of these areas, Weaver was selected for this award based on his commitment to cultivating a culture of respect in the classroom, preparing his students to be considerate of patients’ diverse moral, ethical, and social values in the field.
Even after students leave his classroom to pursue clinical instruction, Weaver continues to maintain relationships with the next generation of physical therapists. He takes pride in visiting students while they are undertaking clinical training, providing ongoing mentorship and connecting the academic world to the clinical environment.
Congratulations to Dr. Merriwether and Dr. Weaver!