Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Physical Therapy & Human Movement Sciences

Alice Salzman, EdD

Research Description

Alice's research interests are physical therapists' professional development, including the development of clinical reasoning; health literacy, including physical therapists' knowledge of health literacy concepts and use of effective teaching practices; and development of cultural competence.

Currently, Alice is working with Lois Hedman as Principal Investigator on a project using qualitative methodology to examine physical therapist faculty’s perceptions of the affective behaviors that influence the development of clinical reasoning and how faculty addressed these behaviors. The project is funded by the Academy of Physical Therapy Education. Though researchers have described PT students’ development of professional or affective domain behaviors, research exploring the development of clinical reasoning and how affective behaviors influence its development is limited. Additionally, we are exploring the manner in which faculty have addressed any problematic behaviors. We believe that identifying affective behaviors that influence clinical reasoning will provide support for educators’ expectations and assist faculty to foster students’ development. Knowing and addressing the barriers to providing feedback on students’ inappropriate behavior will assist in creating supportive environments where faculty address students’ problems early and improve student success during clinical education.

Important Links

APTA Education
Portraits of Persistence: Professional Development of Successful Directors of Clinical Education
Accommodations for a Student With a Physical Disability in a Professional Physical Therapist Education Program


Current Projects


Synthesis Projects

Together with Marjorie Hilliard, Alice has developed a series of synthesis projects around health literacy. The first project used survey methodology to examine physical therapists' knowledge of health literacy concepts and use of effective teaching practices. The purpose of the current series of projects is to examine the effect of health literacy on the ability to recall and perform a home exercise program. Student groups designed and created a video of a physical therapist instructing someone in a home exercise program and developed and evaluated a rubric to assess researchers' ability to accurately assess people's performance of the home exercise program. The final synthesis group will be using the video and rubric to assess older adults ability to perform the home exercise program shown in the video.

Principal Investigator

Collaborating Faculty