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Featured Researcher - Winter 2013

Ann Hallum, PT, PhD

Photo of Ann HallumAnn Hallum, PT, MS, PhD has had a distinguished professional career in Physical Therapy.  Very early, she began pursuing pediatrics. She worked at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Oakland and later Stanford Children’s Hospital. Then she began her pursuit of knowledge.  She was the first Chair of the SFSU-UCSF Graduate Program in Physical Therapy (SFSU campus). Currently, she is the Dean of Graduate Studies at San Francisco State University.

Ann received her BS in Physical Therapy from the University of California, San Francisco in l966.  Realizing quickly that physical therapists must be able to defend their treatment methods for children with cerebral palsy, she was accepted into a fellowship in Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (l973), one of the first programs to prepare physical therapist to pursue research related to the discipline.  She was invited to do research at the Royal Devon and Exeter (England) Pediatric Research unit.  She returned to the USA to work as a clinician and accumulated more questions about current therapy practice.  She returned to school to complete her master’s degree in Child Development working with the engineering department at UC Davis in 1979 to investigate movement problems related to cerebral palsy.   Following families for years led Ann to seek a better understanding of the issues faced by families of children with disabilities. In search of answers, she pursued her PhD in Counseling and Health Psychology at Stanford University and completed a post-doctoral Fellowship at Oregon Health Sciences in 1990.

In her formative years as a faculty member at SFSU, she received important, early grant support from the PT Fund to help her develop a research agenda.  This allowed her to pursue her interests related to energy expenditure in children with myelomeningocele and to sponsor programs for families coping with a child with a disability.   Pre-PT and PT students were always involved in her research. She especially appreciated the opportunity to spend several years carrying out some clinical research studies.  “I could not have done these studies without the support of the PT Fund.  Even the smallest clinical trial costs money.  It is difficult for both clinicians and students to carry out research studies without some financial support”. She has published several manuscripts and chapters on the findings. 

Ann has also been active in community outreach, working first with the International Rescue Committee post-Vietnam war and then David Werner in rural communities in Mexico, Hesperian, now Healthrights in Mexico. This led to the development of a manual for pediatric rehabilitation, Disabled Village Children, is used internationally in developing countries.  She has also served on boards of directors supporting living groups and provides ongoing “pro-bono” work for families caring for severely disabled adult-children at home. In addition she provides counsel to attorneys about ADA responsibilities for the prison population.

Dr. Hallum taught for seven years at Stanford University and was twice awarded a teaching award in the School of Medicine.  Until recently, Dr. Hallum continued as a core faculty member in the Graduate Program in Physical Therapy.  She still teaches a course on psychosocial aspects of disability.  Most importantly, Dr. Hallum feels strongly that research is the foundation for growing the health professions, Thus, in her role as Dean of Graduate Studies, she has been instrumental in expanding the research agenda at San Francisco State University especially in the clinical, health care fields.  In addition to individual support of graduate students, she created an annual research day where graduate students discuss their research findings with students, faculty and community visitors.  Her graduate students have competed in the CSU wide Research Competition resulting in the greatest number of awards compared to any other CSU campus.

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