1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. About LeaRRn
  4.  » 
  5. Faculty
  6.  » Joel Stevans, PhD, DC
Joel Stevans, PhD, DC

Director Techniques Component
Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Pittsburgh

Joel Stevans, DC, PhD, is a researcher specializing in health services research and implementation science. In these roles, he has had the opportunity to work on a number of implementation studies including two that are focused on rehabilitative care. His clinical and academic training, coupled with 20 years of quality improvement experience within the healthcare industry, have given him the necessary skills to lead the Techniques Development Component and serve in other leadership and mentoring roles.  

Dr. Stevans is currently a co-investigator in a large multi-site, effectiveness-implementation hybrid trial funded through PCORI (C11-2016-0001). The aim of this project is to evaluate the clinical and implementation outcomes of a psychologically-informed physical therapy approach to back pain management recruited from 82 primary care practices distributed within five geographic regions across the country. In this study, all patient identification, screening, and physical therapy referral activities were executed via electronic medical record by primary care clinical and administrative staff. Dr. Stevans leads the implementation evaluation for this study, working closely with Dr. Freel, and serves as the Chair of the study’s Data Integrity Committee. He also leads the implementation evaluation as co-investigator on a study funded through the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (1UG3AT008769-01A1). This study is a multi-site randomized controlled trial of patients with acute low back pain (LBP), using a hybrid design to address both effectiveness and implementation, with the interventions provided by both chiropractors and physical therapists. This study tests the clinical effectiveness of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), supported self-management (SSM), and a combination of SMT plus SSM, compared to usual medical care for preventing the transition from acute to chronic pain. Dr. Stevans’ doctoral work consisted of a multi-level diagnostic evaluation, guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research, to identify factors associated with adherence to clinical guidelines in 60 ambulatory rehabilitation facilities.