Richard K Shields, PT, PhD, has contributed to the physical therapy profession as a clinician, scientist, and academic leader (Fig. 1).
Dr Shields is professor and department executive officer of the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science at the University of Iowa. He completed a certificate in physical therapy from the Mayo Clinic, an MA degree in physical therapy, and a PhD in exercise science from the University of Iowa.
Dr Shields developed a fundamental interest in basic biological principles while at the Mayo Clinic. As a clinician, he provided acute inpatient care to individuals with spinal cord injury. This clinical experience prompted him to pursue a research career exploring the adaptive plasticity of the human neuromusculoskeletal systems. As a scientist and laboratory director, he developed a team of professionals who understand the entire disablement model, from molecular signaling to the psychosocial factors that impact health-related quality of life. His laboratory has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 2000 with more than $15 million in total investigator-initiated support. He has published 110 scientific papers and presented more than 300 invited lectures.
A past president of the Foundation for Physical Therapy, Dr Shields is a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and has been honored with APTA's Marian Williams Research Award, the Charles Magistro Service Award, and the Maley Distinguished Research Award. He also received the University of Iowa's Distinguished Mentor Award, Collegiate Teaching Award, and the Regents Award for Faculty Excellence.
Dr Shields is a member of the National Advisory Board for Rehabilitation Research and serves as the liaison member on the Council to the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development.