UTHSCSA Faculty Profiles v1.0

Simmonds, Maureen J.

School of Health Professions
Physical Therapy
210 567 8766

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn." Alvin Toffler.

Curiosity, wonderment, imagination, and a persistent challenge to what we believe we know, drive me. These characteristics drive my teaching, my research, and indeed my life. I take pride that these characteristics are not only reflected in my own children but also in my many successful academic children. As noted by Conway, its not what is poured into a student that counts, but what is planted. I firmly believe that a good teacher makes herself progressively unnecessary, because she has modeled and helped develop a students curiosity, confidence, and ability to continually ask good questions, respond appropriately to gather, interpret, and synthesize the best information, implement the results, and then ask the next good question. My own research questions have come from the laboratory of life and from my teachers in the classroom and the clinic, students and patients respectively. I trained as a physiotherapist at Wolverhampton School of Physiotherapy in the UK and then completed my BSc and MSc in Physical Therapy and the first PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences from the University of Alberta in Canada. I was introduced to the profession of physical therapy as a result of sustaining major trauma in a riding accident. This trauma resulted in many hospitalizations and surgeries, and many months of rehabilitation at various times, and in different health care systems, the UK, Canada, and the USA. These global experiences on the other side of the bed have been invaluable in helping me understand and learn more from patients, and then apply, research, and teach a patient-centered approach that has often challenged common clinical assumptions. I have had 15 years of clinical experience in England and Canada, where I ultimately specialized in pain management. As Director of a Pain and Performance Research Laboratory I have developed and tested batteries of physical performance tests, to characterize and quantify the burden of injury and illness and evaluate the efficacy of interventions. As Director of a Pain, Mind and Movement laboratory, I have used sophisticated virtual reality equipment and simple physical and cognitive tests in an effort to understand the links between pain, mind and movement across conditions and therefore better manage the impact of illness and injury in the short term as well as over the long term. My research is recognised internationally and I am a frequently invited speaker to major international and national conferences and have been invited to speak at many universities around the world. I have held major academic and strategic leadership roles at major universities in the UK, Canada, Australia, and the USA. My clinical and academic experiences in England, Canada, the USA, and Australia have given me a unique and global perspective on health, health care delivery, and the strengths and weaknesses of health care education. Thus a current research focus is on gaining a better understanding of those aspects of health professions training that lead to gaps between research, education, and clinical practice. A personal point of pride is that the majority of my graduate student advisees are well published prior to or soon after they are awarded their degree and are leading successful and productive academic careers.

11/2012 - Present Professor University of Texas, Health Sciences Center, San Antonio
8/2003 - Present Visiting Research Scholar AT Still University