Takeaways from the 2024 Branch Lecture


Richard “Rick” L. Lieber, PhD, MBA, delivered an address titled “Is It OK That Science Is a Business?” to the Duke Doctor of Physical Therapy program on May 9 as part of the annual Branch Lecture series.

Dr Lieber is a professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Biomedical Engineering, and Physiology at Northwestern University and chief scientific officer of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. He shared wisdom from his career with laughs and nods of affirmation from the audience. The themes of his talk included embracing the lessons that come from failure and the value of understanding business concepts and applying them to healthcare settings.

Second-year student Halle Anderson shared her takeaways from the lecture:

“Dr. Richard Lieber delivered a charismatic and engaging discussion about leadership and creating change, large or small, for the betterment of our profession and future patients.

Through his experience as a “change manager” within the institutions he has served, Dr. Lieber has cultivated remarkable insight into harnessing the intersection of various professions to create innovative change. The collaborative spaces he spoke about, such as the Shirley Ryan IdeaLabs and BuzzLabs, are inspiring.

I can’t imagine any students leaving the lecture with their fears outweighing their excitement to enter the next phase of their physical therapist journey. As Dr. Lieber cited the different examples of change he helped to create at Shirley Ryan, I couldn’t help but feel immense pride in the work we are doing in our program to promote this team-based collaborative style of growth.

Our graduating third-year students continue to push the limits, challenge our profession to advance, and create change locally, statewide, and nationally. This cohort is full of leaders, so it was only fitting for their Branch Lecture to gravitate toward the undeniable energy they bring. 

Thank you to Dr. Lieber, and congratulations to the Class of 2024!”