John Shank

Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


John is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Prior to his retirement in July 2011, he chaired the Department of Therapeutic Recreation (2002-2010), and served as TR Program Director in the departments of Health Studies (1997-2002) and Sport Management and Leisure Studies (1986-1997). In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, John directed or co-directed several federally funded research, demonstration projects, and professional preparation training programs. These have included NIDRR-funded research on the effectiveness of recreation therapy in physical rehabilitation, developing a network of community recreation opportunities for persons with disabilities in Philadelphia (DOE-RSA), and creating, testing and disseminating a leisure education component for the life skills curriculum in the Special Education division  of the Philadelphia Public Schools (DOE-RSA). He was a research associate on an NIH funded health promotion program for women with disabilities, co-directed a state funded project on increasing inclusive recreation opportunities in schools and communities, and was Co-PI on an NIMH-funded project that examined active living and recovery among ethnically diverse individuals with mental illnesses. With his colleague, Dr. Catherine Coyle, he published Therapeutic Recreation in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation (2002). Service to his profession includes board membership on the national credentialing organization for recreation therapists (NCTRC) and serving as Associate Editor of the Therapeutic Recreation Journal and the Annual in Therapeutic Recreation. He received the University's Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Distinguished Fellow Award from the American Therapeutic Recreation Association. He is a Fellow in the National Academy of Recreation Therapists.  John is a nationally credentialed recreation therapist (CTRS).