Meet a Member
Lauren Miller, PT, DPT
Meet Lauren, a Senior PT at the University of Chicago Medical Center, and a member of the inaugural class of Board-Certified Clinical Specialists in Oncologic Physical Therapy.
Like many physical therapists starting out, she had to ask herself what did she want to do and how could she accomplish those goals…
Lauren Miller, PT, DPT is a senior physical therapist at the University of Chicago Medical Center. She is among the inaugural class of board certified specialists in oncologic physical therapy in the country and is also serves as an item writer for the Oncology Specialty Exam. But like many physical therapists starting out, she had to ask herself what did she want to do and then how could she accomplish these goals.
As a new grad trying to find her way in acute care, she was fortunate enough to spend her first 6 years at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Dale Needham was conducting multiple large scale clinical trials involving rehabilitation interventions in the medical ICU (specifically, the use of electrical stimulation with cycle ergometry and cycle ergometry coupled with amino acids). He required trained PT’s to both provide interventions and collect outcome measures. Lauren immediately recognized that would be a great opportunity to introduce her to the world of clinical research, so she jumped in with both feet. Immersed in this new environment, she learned about the details that go into conducting successful clinical trials. Her confidence grew as did her understanding of the role PTs have in research.
Later, when she transitioned to the University of Chicago, she began treating cancer patients receiving a new treatment: CAR-T cell therapy. Amidst her questions about how and if she can help these patients during their treatment, she recognized the opportunity for research to help guide our involvement as PTs in this field. Collaborating with a physician champion, Lauren is now involved in data collection and intervention for ongoing research at her hospital. One of these studies involves the collection of functional outcome measures on patient’s receiving CAR-T cell infusions as part of an IRB approved trial. She has always been drawn to research, especially in the acute care oncology population, given the significant lack of literature to support physical therapy interventions in these patients.
Lauren has realized how rewarding it is to actively contribute to the knowledge of future physical therapists, as this will ultimately provide our patients with the highly quality of care. She would encourage all PTs to take an active role in research to expand and strengthen the quality of care that we provide to our patients.