UCP Professional Learning Series

The Professional Learning Series was launched in 2021. It is organized and hosted by the UCP Research Committee, Gillette Children’s (UCP of Minnesota) and UCP of Central Arizona. The 90-minute webinars are aimed at professionals who work with children and adults with cerebral palsy, but also open to the public.

Our Next Presentation

The next Professional Learning Series webinar is scheduled for September 29, 2022, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Eastern / 3 to 4:30 p.m. PT. It will feature Dr. Michael Kruer, co-chair of the UCP Research Initiative, whose presentation is titled:

Part 2: “New discoveries in the evolving world of genetics: diagnosis and treatment of cerebral palsy”

CMEs will be awarded.

Register today.

Michael Kruer, MD is a pediatric movement disorders specialist neurologist and human geneticist. He serves as an Associate Professor of Child Health, Genetics, Neurology and Cellular & Molecular Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.  He also serves as director of the Pediatric Movement Disorders Program at the Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Michael’s lab is dedicated to understanding how genetic mutations lead to both common (cerebral palsy) and rare movement disorders in children and how genetics can serve as a springboard to improvements in both diagnosis and intervention. Michael’s clinical focus is on the care of children with cerebral palsy and related disorders, and he is a major proponent of trans-disciplinary collaboration in CP care. He received the Laura Dozer award from United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona in 2019 for promoting a life without limits for individuals with disabilities. His research has been supported by numerous public and private foundations, philanthropy, industry collaborations, and federal grants, and has appeared in a number of highly respected publications. The Kruer lab is currently collaborating with the Cerebral Palsy Research Network on an NIH-funded study of CP genomics whose goal is to better understand causes of cerebral palsy in order to bring personalized treatments to people with CP. Michael is a co-chair for the UCP Research Committee.


Diane L. Damiano PT, PhD, will present “New Frontiers in Mobile Brain Imaging in Robotics and Pediatric Neuro-rehabilitation”on Dec. 6, 2022, 6 to 7:30 p.m. ET / 3 to 4:30 p.m. PT.


1. Summarize state of the science and mobile imaging and pediatric robotics

2 Present need for multidisciplinary teams when developing and implementing these technologies

3 Generate discussion on unresolved questions and challenges in the field

Dr. Damiano is a Senior Investigator at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland and Chief of the Functional and Applied Biomechanics Section in the Rehabilitation Medicine Department. Her research focuses on the design and investigation of activity-based rehabilitation programs and development of robotic devices to promote optimal motor functioning and enhance muscle and neural plasticity in cerebral palsy. Her laboratory also has pioneered the use of mobile brain imaging technologies to investigate cortical activation during the emergence of motor skills in infants and children with and without cerebral palsy. She has published more than 125 scientific papers and is an Associate Editor of Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. She has served as President of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (1st physical therapist & 4th woman in their 61-year history) and the Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society. In 2016, she was selected as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association, the highest honor in this profession. She recently received a NIH 2020 Director’s Award on Equity and Diversity for her lifelong research and service for children with disabilities and their families.

Dr. Karen Harpster will present “What to Know About Cerebral Visual Impairment: Evaluation and treatment to improve a child’s functional performance” on March 9, 2023, 6 to 7:30 p.m. ET / 3 to 4:30 p.m. PT.

Karen Harpster PhD, OTR/L is a clinician scientist and occupational therapist and has been at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital since 2011.  Karen is also an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati and a faculty member for the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disability (LEND) Program. She received her Master’s in Occupational therapy and Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Sciences both from The Ohio State University.  She is Clinically, Karen evaluates and treats children with neurodevelopmental disorders with a large focus on infants and children with cerebral palsy and/or cerebral visual impairment.  Karen’s research focus is to develop research and clinical programs for prevention and early treatment for infants at high-risk for cerebral palsy and those with cerebral visual impairment.

Past presentations

  • “Management​ of​ Difficult Clinical Presentations of Hypertonia​ in ​Children with Disabilities​.” Presented by Dr. Mark Gormley, Jr., M.D., a pediatric rehabilitation medicine physician at Gillette. He treats children and adolescents who have cerebral palsy, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, neuromuscular disorders, and other conditions, with a special interest in spasticity management. (Biography) Watch a recording of the webinar.

  • “Constraint Therapy for Children with Hemiplegic CP: What you need to know – from the Brain to the Clinic!” Presented by Dr. Darcy Fehlings, head of the Division of Developmental Pediatrics and a Professor in the Department of Paediatrics, at the University of Toronto. (Biography)  Watch a recording of the webinar.

  • “Cerebral Palsy: Early Evaluation and Intervention,” presented by Dr. Angela Sinner. Angela Sinner, DO has worked as a Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine Physician at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare for nearly a decade. She is the co-director of Gillette’s inpatient rehabilitation unit and Sinner specializes in treating cerebral palsy, muscle spasticity and tone management, as well as traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. Watch a recording of the presentation.

  • “The evolving impact of genetic findings on the diagnosis and treatment of cerebral palsy” was presented by Dr. Michael Kruer, a pediatric movement disorders neurologist, developmental pediatrician and molecular geneticist. If you missed it, here’s the link to the video recording of Dr. Kruer’s presentation.

  • “The Critical Role of Gait Analysis in the Care of Individuals with Cerebral Palsy” was presented by Dr. Tom Novacheck, an orthopedic surgeon and Associate Medical Director at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare specializing in cerebral palsy and other complex orthopedic conditions with an emphasis on hip reconstruction. About Dr. NovacheckWatch a recording of the presentation.

Please direct questions to: