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Physical Therapy Researcher Selected for Endowed Chair at DU

Dr. David L. Somers has been selected as the second holder of the Anna Rangos Rizakus Endowed Chair in Health Sciences and Ethics at Duquesne University.

Somers, chairman of the physical therapy department in the Rangos School of Health Sciences since July 2008, was previously assistant director of the department and a founding director of the graduate program in rehabilitation science at Duquesne. His research has focused on pain and electrical nerve stimulation in physical therapy.

“A noted researcher in physical therapy, David Somers brings an extensive background in rehabilitation policy and treatment methods to this position,” said Dean Gregory H. Frazer of the Rangos School of Health Sciences. “Enlisting his strong background and leadership skills, Somers will further enhance our relationships with industry partners and strengthen Duquesne’s role in rehabilitation and ethical policy.”

The chair was established in 2004 in memory of the mother of John G. Rangos Sr., the school’s benefactor.  As holder of the chair, Somers will be at the forefront of teaching, scholarship and service in health sciences and ethics, concentrating on the ethical aspects of policies for individuals with disabilities, leading University initiatives in rehabilitation and ethics, and collaborating with departments within the Rangos School as well as the University. Additionally, the chair holder provides guidance for interdisciplinary rehabilitation research at Duquesne and builds strong relationships between academic and industry partners working to enhance western Pennsylvania’s role in rehabilitation and ethical policy.

The five-year appointment is effective on July 1.

Before arriving at Duquesne in 1993, Somers served as assistant professor and academic coordinator of clinical education at the Medical University of South Carolina’s College of Health Related Professions. He was previously a staff physical therapist at Physical Rehabilitation Services in Charleston, S.C., as well as at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center in Fisherville, Va.

Somers was a postdoctoral fellow in molecular neuroscience at the Medical University of South Carolina, where he received his doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees.

His research has been published in the Journal of Pain, Physical Therapy, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Neuroscience Letters and Neuroscience for Rehabilitation.

Somers is a resident of Gibsonia.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.