Human Movement Science

Advancing and Restoring Physical Function

New chair looks to expand programming and research opportunities for students

Headshot of Doherty

icon of a calendarSeptember 15, 2020

icon of a pencilBy Nina Googasian

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Dr. Deborah Doherty, associate professor of physical therapy and coordinator of the graduate certificate in oncology rehabilitation (GCOR), joined the School of Health Sciences in 2009.

In her new role as chair of the Department of Human Movement Science (HMS), Doherty looks forward to building on the tremendous progress that has been made in recent years, as the department now offers programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and post-professional levels.

“We recently received approval for a bachelor’s to master’s in Exercise Science (EXS) “4+1” dual degree program and are finalizing development of a new Orthotist and Prosthetist Assistant (OPA) specialization,” says Doherty. Course offerings for the OPA track will begin in Winter 2021. In addition, she will oversee the completion of a new Ph.D. in human movement science, and explore new exercise science internship opportunities for students with clinical partners across Southeast Michigan.

She is most excited about the department’s potential for growth in research. “The new BEAR (Biomechanics Ergonomics Abilities Research) Lab, B Tracks and the Home-based Older Person Upstreaming Prevention Physical Therapy (HOP-UP-PT) program are just a few examples of the many research endeavors that are well positioned for national and international funding due to their significant contributions to health, wellness and prevention of disease and injury,” she explains.

Doherty earned her Ph.D. in Anatomy from Michigan State University, and her research focus is in Oncology Rehabilitation with an emphasis on “prehabilitation” and survivorship. Among her professional affiliations, Doherty currently serves as co-chair of the Michigan Cancer Consortium’s board of directors, and as the research committee chair of the Oncology Rehabilitation Special Interest Group of APTA-MI, a chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association.

“I am honored to serve the department as the chairperson for the next three years. HMS is fortunate to have an incredibly dedicated and talented faculty who teach at the very highest level of curriculum,” describes Doherty. “Our courses are challenging, comprehensive and evidence-based. And, our programs enable students to gain hands-on clinical experience and participate in cutting-edge research, which provide a solid foundation for a wide variety of careers in physical therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, exercise physiology, health education, as well as advanced practice and study in graduate programs.”

Discover the opportunities offered in the Department of Human Movement Science.



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