Jane K. Sweeney PT, MS, PhD, PCS, FAPTA, founded the Pediatric Science DSc program in 2000, Pediatric Science PhD program in 2011 and pediatric science tracks in 2006 for two post-professional programs: transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (tDPT) and Doctor of Occupational Therapy. She continues to serve as director of the Pediatrics tDPT program and PhD Pediatric Science track. Dr. Sweeney developed the first Physical Therapy Fellowship in Neonatology accredited in the United States by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship and Education in 2012. She directs the Fellowship in partnership with Seattle Children’s and Cincinnati Children’s Hospitals. With the assistance of Jan McElroy PT, PhD, PCS, she co-directs the Pediatrics Institute, an annual summer continuing education series at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions for pediatric clinicians.
Dr. Sweeney’s educational degrees include BA from the University of the Pacific, MS from Colorado State University, and PhD from the University of Washington. The emphasis of her doctoral study was the high-risk infant and family; her doctoral research focused on physiological and behavioral tolerance of neurological assessment procedures in preterm and full-term neonates. She is a Mary Switzer Distinguished Research Fellow of the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research and a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association. Her 88 publications include 35 journal articles, 15 chapters, 33 peer-reviewed abstracts, 2 invited commentaries, and 1 book.
After receiving physical therapy education in the US Army Medical Department, Dr. Sweeney worked primarily in pediatric and neurologic rehab positions. Before retiring at the rank of Colonel, she held a six-year position as Chief of Clinical Investigation and Research for the Army Medical Specialist Corps and a 12-year position as Pediatric Physical Therapy Consultant to the Office of the Army Surgeon General.
Dr. Sweeney was in the first group of 4 in the United States to become board certified in pediatric physical therapy in 1986. She then served as Chair of the Pediatric Specialty Council and as chair of the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. She led a task force on Neonatal ICU Practice Guidelines for the APTA Section on Pediatrics and served as an editorial board member of Infants and Young Children, Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, and Pediatric Physical Therapy journals. Dr. Sweeney received the APTA’s Lucy Blair Service Award and Section on Pediatrics’ Fischer Distinguished Mentorship Award, DeHaven Distinguished Service Award, and Doctoral Dissertation Award. She is a recipient of the Richmond Award (Research) from the Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine and the Hartgraves Award for Excellence in Teaching at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. She was founder of the Neonatology Special Interest Group of the APTA Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy and is currently co-chairing a Task Force for developing a national certification program and examination for Neonatal Physical Therapists.