On Oct. 1, John Mayer, DC, PhD, recipient of the Lincoln College Endowed Chair in Chiropractic and Biomechanical Research, began his duties as associate professor at the University of South Florida.The research endowment at USF is funded by a $1.06 million gift from the Lincoln College Education and Research Fund, the Florida Chiropractic Association and the Florida Chiropractic Foundation, as well as a $750,000 matching gift from the state. As the new chair, Dr. Mayer's responsibilities include helping to launch a core research program in spinal musculoskeletal disorders, thus linking chiropractic, physical therapy and sports medicine with orthopedics and neurosurgery.
"There are not that many DC, PhDs in the country, although their numbers are growing.
John is a bright young researcher with strong academic credentials," said William Quillen, PhD, PT, director of the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences and associate dean of the College of Medicine, who chaired the search committee. "He was the top candidate to emerge from a long, rigorous search process, and he's going to be a great asset to USF Health and our university."
Founded by the University of South Florida Medical Center in 1965, USF Health is a partnership of three colleges within USF - the College of Medicine, the College of Nursing and the College of Public Health - with the stated purpose of "making life better by improving health in the wider environment, in communities, and for individuals." USF is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities, according to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
According to Quillen, Dr. Mayer will work with USF Health faculty in two new core research laboratories - one in motion analysis and the other in human functional performance. "He'll bring a unique clinical perspective and skills in evidence-based research to address the problems of spinal conditions like chronic back and neck pain. His work is especially timely considering that two out of every three adults will experience one or more episodes of low back pain in their lifetimes," Quillen said.
Dr. Mayer, who graduated from National College of Chiropractic and received his doctorate from Syracuse University, previously served for seven years as the director of research for the U.S. Spine and Sport Foundation in San Diego and as an adjunct research faculty member in the Department of Biology at San Diego State University. He has been an investigator for several projects funded by commercial and federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health. He helped develop and test several functional assessment and treatment models for low back pain including a model to experimentally induce low back muscle soreness with strenuous exercise.
Dr. Mayer also has served as a clinical research consultant for several institutions throughout the U.S. and as secretary and treasurer of CAM Research Institute, a nonprofit organization that conducts studies to determine the safety and effectiveness of alternative and complementary therapies.
"My specialty has given me the opportunity to work with physical therapists, chiropractors, exercise physiologists, certified athletic trainers, orthopedists, neurosurgeons and other health professionals involved in the care of the spine," Dr. Mayer said. "One of the talents I've developed is the ability to work effectively with all disciplines and I hope to bring that to our research endeavors at USF."
"It's hard to say whether one technique is better than another," added Dr. Mayer. "We need more evidence-based research to determine what types of treatment work best for what types of treatment work best for which types of patients - and that's a huge task requiring objective assessment and multidisciplinary effort."