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Board of Directors nominees

Last Updated:
June 26, 2019

2019 Nominees
AACPDM Board of Directors

Second Vice President: Tom Novacheck, M.D.

Susan Sienko, PhDDr. Novacheck is a Professor of Orthopedics at the University of Minnesota and is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon who specializes in treating cerebral palsy, scoliosis and complex hip conditions in children and adolescents.  He has based his practice at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare since 1991.  He is also Medical Director of Gillette’s James R Gage Center for Gait and Motion Analysis.

He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School, completed his orthopedic residency at Pennsylvania State University, and finally his pediatric orthopedic fellowship at Newington Children’s Hospital in Newington, Connecticut.

Dr. Novacheck’s professional associations include:

  • American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine
  • Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society
  • Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America
  • Scoliosis Research Society
  • American Orthopedic Association
  • American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
  • Commission on Motion Lab Accreditation

He is an active member of the AACPDM as a fomer Director at large on the Board of Directors (2015-2018). He has also served as a presenter and committee member. Committee service includes Instructional Course Chairperson (2009), Nominating Committee (2007 – 2008), Publications Committee (1996-2004), Gait Committee (1995-1996), and DMCN Editorial Board Member (1998-2004).  He directed a 2009 AACPDM Sponsored Tutorial “Evaluation & treatment of Crouch Gait in individuals with CP” and presents Instructional Course Lectures, Symposia, and/or Breakfast Sessions annual AACPDM meetings.

His research and educational efforts have focused primarily on outcomes studies of management of gait disorders in individuals with cerebral palsy, development of motion analysis testing methods, and the biomechanics of running.

Director at Large: Kristie Bjornson PT, PHD, PCS

Francisco Valencia, MDKristie Bjornson, PT, PhD, PCS is an Associate Professor, Developmental Medicine, Pediatrics at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Dr Bjornson has over 40 years of clinical experience in the NICU, public schools, birth-to-three centers, and at Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH) Seattle, Washington.  She served as the project coordinator for a randomized clinical trial and meta-analysis of selective dorsal rhizotomy, botulinum toxin-A and a descriptive cross sectional study of intrathecal baclofen (ITB) therapy. She completed an NICHD NIH K23 career development award focusing on the measurement of ambulatory physical activity and participation in daily life of children with cerebral palsy (CP) and the influence of orthotics. Presently, she is a Co-I of a NIH study examining power training in ambulatory youth with CP. PI of R21 studying orthotic management in young children with CP. She is the site PI for the Cerebral Palsy Research Network at Seattle Childrens.

Dr. Bjornson has been a member of the AACPDM since 1990.  She has served on numerous committees and in leadership capacities including Membership 1994-98 (Chair 1998). Nominating 1995-96, 2008-2009; Scholarship Task Force 2000-02; Webcast 2005-008; Funding Raising and Finance 2004-07; Research & Awards 1996-98, 2008-2011; Awards 2013-18, Scientific Program 2008-2010; 2017-2018;Scientific Committee Co-Chair 2010; Board of Directors 1999-2010, Secretary of Board of Directors 2004-2007. Dr Bjornson also participated on the NINDS Cerebral Palsy CDE Working Group (2015-2017).

Director at Large: Lisa Letzkus Ph.D, RN, CPNP-AC

Joshua Hyman, MDDr. Letzkus is a pediatric nurse scientist with over 11 years of clinical expertise as an acute care pediatric nurse practitioner caring for children with neurological and medical complexity. She is the assistant director of the complex care inpatient consult service at the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital (UVA CH). The service spans the continuum of care from acute hospitalization including the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to community re-integration. She most recently lead the expansion of complex care services at UVA CH to include a multidisciplinary outpatient clinic which provides comprehensive care for this vulnerable patient population in collaboration with pulmonary and cardiology subspecialists.

She completed her PhD in Nursing at the University of Virginia School (2016) where she explored the clinical course of children with severe brain injury who demonstrate paroxysmal sympathetic hyperactivity (PSH). Her dissertation examined the recovery trajectory in children who had experienced severe brain injury and developed PSH. She has served as the PI in subsequent studies that have prospectively evaluated environmental factors related to symptom management during hospitalization. She currently is the principal investigator of an RO3, young investigator award, for the study titled “The neonatal rehabilitation program for premature infants at risk for cerebral palsy.” This innovative multimodal 6-component program will provide interventions in the NICU during a stage of active brain development. Additionally, the program highlights parent involvement and layering of interventions that are developmentally appropriate. Her long-term research interests are to improve outcomes for children with medical complexity and neurological disorders.

Dr. Letzkus has been a member of the AACPDM since 2013. She has served as a member of the complex care committee and assumed the chair-elect role in 2019. She regularly presents research and serves as a content expert at the Annual Meeting, including posters, breakfast sessions and instructional courses. One of the instructional courses she participated in was restructured and became an AACPDM eCourse titled “Complex Care: Team management in spinal fusion for children with cerebral palsy.” Furthermore, the work done on this particular topic is now being shaped and refined into a care pathway.