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Student Research Spotlight 
Anna Dankewich (DPT ’21) and Jill Le (DPT ’21)


September 8, 2020
PCOM Georgia physical therapy student Anna Dankewich (DPT ’21) works on a laptop in her home office and smiles at the camera.
Doctor of Physical Therapy candidate Jill Le (DPT ’21) smiles as she works on a laptop in her apartment.

Two Doctor of Physical Therapy students identified a rehabilitation measurement that had not been added to the Shirley Ryan Rehabilitation Measure Database.


Anna Dankewich (DPT ’21) graduated from Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, Georgia, where she earned a Bachelor of Exercise Science degree. During college, her passion for health and the desire to care for others in need were triggered, which eventually led to pursuit of a career in physical therapy. As a collegiate softball athlete for three years, she was able to pursue her Exercise Science degree while being a community advocate for health and fitness. Now as she steps into her third year of physical therapy school at PCOM Georgia, she has found confirmation that her true passion is to work in the cardiopulmonary field. She plans on continuing her education within the cardiopulmonary field after graduation in May of 2021 with the end goal to receive a certified specialist degree in cardiopulmonary.

Jill Le (DPT ’21) graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2013 earning a Bachelor of Exercise Science degree. During her time as an undergraduate, she gained experience working with and serving in several different settings such as inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient orthopedics, developmental pediatrics and vestibular therapy. She found her calling working in cardiopulmonary and plans to further her education in this field following graduation.

In as lay terms as possible, what are you studying?

The Perme ICU Mobility Score is an ICU-specific tool used to measure mobility status of patients with decreased functional mobility frequently present during a critical illness.

What prompted you to pursue research?

One of the key reasons we wanted to become physical therapists was because we knew the resources for more educational opportunities would be endless. We were told on day one of physical therapy school that we would be able to participate in research to better prepare ourselves as future clinicians and expand our knowledge in the medical field, which we both knew we wanted to be a part of. We were excited that we were able to choose a research topic of our interest and looked forward to potentially setting ourselves up for more opportunities with research in the future.

Please provide a synopsis of your research experience.

Our experience with this research was all-encompassing. We were thrilled to participate in something personally new to us and step outside of our comfort zones to broaden our educational experience while earning degrees in physical therapy school. We both definitely had moments during this process where we were so thankful for our advisors, especially our primary advisor, Alaina Bell, PT, DPT, an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, with their guidance and involvement so we could fully benefit from this experience.

Please provide a synopsis of your involvement and responsibilities in the research project.

For this research project, we were responsible for identifying a rehab measure that had not already been added to the Shirley Ryan Rehabilitation Measure Database. After we identified the Perme ICU Mobility Score as our measure, we then conducted secondary analyses on already established research articles on the Perme. We assessed and extracted the psychometric properties of this measure to better support its use in the clinical setting.

Please describe the broader impact of your research.

We are hopeful our efforts with the research we conducted will continue to push others outside of their comfort zones to expand their knowledge and encourage them to strive for more. With the Perme published, we are hoping to bring more awareness about this outcome measure and hope it will be utilized more often in different institutions. We are proud and confident that our addition to the Rehabilitation Measure Database will continue to assist other clinicians with ensuring the best outcomes and quality of life for their patients.

Learn more about research at PCOM and read about other student research highlights.

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  • About PCOM Georgia

    Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.

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