Karen J. Hutchinson, PhD, PT, DPT

Karen J. Hutchinson, PhD, PT, DPT

Clinical Associate Professor
Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy, Northeastern University
Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience. The Ohio State University Thesis Advisor: Dr. D.M. Basso; Major Focus- Exercise and Recovery from Experimental Spinal Cord Injury.
Post-Professional MS Degree, Neurologic Tract, The Ohio State University
BS Physical Therapy, University of Lowell, Lowell, Ma.
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Courses Taught

  • PT 551 Neuroscience for Physical Therapy Students (Primary Instructor)

This course is designed to serve as an introduction to the normal development and function of the nervous system. It is assumed that you have a basic understanding of anatomy & physiology (e.g. cell structure, ionic exchange, and action potentials) – please review your notes from prior physiology courses. This is a basic science course that serves as a building block for the clinical courses that follow.

  • PT 652: Neurological Systems I

The purpose of this course is to provide the students with a foundation for examining, evaluating, and determining appropriate interventions for individuals who have movement dysfunction secondary to neurological deficits. Students will learn the key elements of the neurological examination and its basis in functional neuroanatomy. Students will become skilled in conducting a neurological examination which is guided by the pathophysiology, patient history, and functional deficits associated with or resulting from disease or injury to the nervous system. Emphasis will also be placed on understanding normal and impaired movement through discussion of current motor control and motor learning theories. The Nagi and ICF models of disablement will be used as frameworks for examining and evaluating movement dysfunction and for developing a plan of care.

  • PT653: Neurological Systems II

This course is a continuation of Examination and Treatment of Neurological Systems I and emphasizes evidence based physical therapy management for people who have specific neurological disorders. In PT 652, a general foundation was developed for examining, evaluating, and determining appropriate interventions for individuals who have movement dysfunction secondary to neurological deficits. PT 653 will build on the foundation developed in PT 652 by considering how specific neurological disorders guide physical therapy practice. The course will focus on pathophysiology, examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, plan of care intervention, and expected outcomes for commonly encountered diagnoses in neurorehabilitation such as Multiple Sclerosis, Traumatic Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, Parkinson’s disease, and Cerebral Palsy. Common diagnostic groups are chosen with the intent of enhancing specific knowledge as well as developing a general problem solving approach that applies to any type of neurological diagnosis. The included diagnoses will illustrate how decision-making in physical therapy takes into account issues of age (life span), natural history, stage in the disease process, and nature (stable vs. progressive) of specific neurological disorders. Students will learn to develop a plan for examination, including the most sensitive and specific standardized examination tools, and to develop a plan of care that is specific to various diagnostic groups and that is based on current evidence.

Scholarly and Practice Interests

Exercise prescription and treatment interventions in patients with spinal cord injury, development of functional assessments and clinical assessments of balance and fitness in subjects with SCI, walking retraining program for persons with SCI.

Selected Publications

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • G. Forrest, D. Lorenz, K. Hutchinson, L. VanHiel, D.M.Basso, S. Datta, S. Sisto. Comparison of Ambulatory Outcomes following Locomotor Training in individuals with chronic incomplete spinal cord injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil; In Prep Fall 2011.
  • A.Krassikov, S. Sisto, S.Williams, K. Hutchinson, D. Lorenz, L. Wenzel, J.Hillyer, S. Harkema Cardiovascular Parameters and Quality of Life Outcomes before and after Locomotor Training in Incomplete SCI. In Prep Fall 2011
  • Cardiovascular Parameters and Quality of Life Outcomes from 213 Patients with Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury from the NeuroRecovery Network Centers in the USA. Sue Ann Sisto, PT, PhD, Douglas
  • Lorenz, Ph.D., Karen Hutchinson, DPT, PhD, Lisa Wenzel, MD, Jessica Hillyer, PhD, Susan Harkema, PhD, Andrei Krassioukov , MD, PhD. Submitted to Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Sept 2011.
  • Elizabeth Ardolino, K. Hutchinson, Genvieve Pinto-Zipp, Mary Ann Clark, Susan Harkema, The Activity-Based Balance Level Evaluation (ABLE) Scale: The Development and Psychometric Properties of An Outcome Measure for the Spinal Cord Injury Population. Submitted to Physical Therapy Summer 2011.
  • G. Forrest, D. Lorenz, K. Hutchinson, L. VanHiel, D.M.Basso, S. Datta, S. Sisto. Ambulation and balance outcomes measure different aspects of recovery in individuals with chronic incomplete spinal cord injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil; In Press July 2011.
  • M. Detloff, L Clark, L. Fisher, K. Hutchinson, A. Kloos, LC Fisher, DM Basso. Validity of acute and chronic tactile sensory testing after spinal cord injury in rats. Experimental Neurology; Oct 2010; 225(2):366-376.

Selected Presentations

  • S. Sisto, A. Behrman, K. Hutchinson, L. Van Hiel, E. Ardolino, D. Atkinson, D. Graves, M. Busso, S. Hankema, H. Barbeau. “Locomotor training: moving science into evidence-based rehabilitation.” ACRM_ASNR Annual Meetings, Denver, Colorado, October 2009.
  • D. Basso, KJ Hutchinson, E Ardolino, A Behrman, C Peschel, L Van Hiel, S Sisto. “Selecting, using and interpreting outcome measures for recovery after spinal cord injury: Evidence from the Neurorecovery Network.” Combined Sections meeting, APTA, February 2009
  • “Hemodynamic Challenges Following Harness Application in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury”. Platform Presentation: Combined Sections Meeting in Boston, MA; Presented in the Cardiopulmonary Section of the APTA. February 2007
  • “Participation in Health-Related Physical Activity in a Cohort of Subjects with Chronic
  • Spinal Cord Injury”. Poster: National APTA Conference, 2005
  • “Gait Analyses: Qualitative Assessment and Beyond”, MASS APTA Annual Conference Worcester, MA. K. Hutchinson, P. Canavan and Lynn Deming, October 2004
  • “Annotated Bibliography- SCI Research Year in Review.” Combined Sections Meeting, APTA, 2004
  • “Activity Level and Musculoskeletal Pain in Spinal Cord Injury”. Poster presentation Combined Sections Meeting, APTA February 2003
  • Skeletal muscle changes after SCI: roundtable discussion. Combined Sections Meeting: Tampa, FL. February
  • “A Case Report on Joint Mobilization for a Hemiplegic Upper Extremity: An Adjunct for Constraint Induced Movement Therapy?” Combined Sections Meeting, APTA, 2002: Poster presentation

Selected Grant Activity

  • Provost Research and Scholarship Award – “Assessment of Cardio-respiratory fitness in subjects with Chronic Spinal Cord Injury” – Funded July 2005
  • Faculty Development Award – “Development of an Electrodiagnostic and Kinematic Motor Control Laboratory” – Period of funding: July 2001 to July 2002
  • President’s Excellence Fund – “Development of Interdisciplinary Clinical Services to Address Unmet Health Needs of Urban Families Living in the Northeastern University Community”. Submitted by the Interdisciplinary Clinic Committee consisting of the following members; M. Chisholm, S. Cleveland, L. Ferrier, D. Frankoff, , E. Freeman, A. Golub-Victor, S.Greenberg, K. Hutchinson, and A. Sullivan

Consulting and Professional Activities

Awards and Honors

  • Who’s Who in Health Sciences Education – Academic Keys (July 2003)
  • NIH Training Grant – The Ohio State University; Predoctoral Fellow (1998-1999)
  • Graduate Student Alumni Research Award – Sponsoring Dissertation Research at OSU (1998)

Licensing and Certification

Massachusetts Licensure in Physical Therapy