Catherine Schmidt, PT, DPT, PhD

Photo of Catherine T. Schmidt, PT, PhD, DPT

Cathy Schmidt, PT, DPT, PhD

PhD '17

What year did you start the program? 2012

Cathy is Assistant Professor of the Department of Physical Therapy, in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at MGH Institute of Health Professions.

Catherine was a Postdoctoral Fellow through the Center on Health Services Training and Research (CoHSTAR),  working with Dr. Vince Mor in the Brown University Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research.


What are your prior degrees, and from which institutions?
BS, Physical Therapy, Quinnipiac College, Hamden, CT, 1999
Combined MS and DPT, orthopedic specialization, MGH Institute of Health Professions, 2007

What was your research setting during the PhD program?
Mentor Jonathan Bean, MD, MS, MPH, Director
Lab: New England GRECC VA Boston Healthcare System

On what was your research focused?
My dissertation research aims to identify the impairments that are responsible for mobility challenges among older adults with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), a degenerative spinal condition. Knowledge of the specific impairments will guide physical therapists in developing effective treatment plans.

Rehabilitative care that is targeted based on the impairments responsible for mobility challenges will lead to improved health and quality of life and the prevention of mobility decline and disability as a result of LSS.

What was your dissertation title?
Symptomatic Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: An Assessment of the Relationship between Neuromuscular Attributes and Mobility Among Older Primary Care Patients

What publications or external presentations have you produced since you started program?

Schmidt CT , Ward RE, Suri P, Kiely DK, Goldstein R, Pensheng N, Anderson DE & Bean JF: "Which Neuromuscular Attributes are Associated with Changes in Mobility among Community-Dwelling Older Adults with Symptomatic Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?" Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. April 2018 DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2018.04.019.

Schmidt CT, Ward RE, Suri P, Kiely DK, Pensheng N, Anderson DE & Bean JF: “The Association of Neuromuscular Attributes with Performance-Based Mobility Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults with Symptomatic Lumbar Spinal Stenosis.” Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2017;98(7):1400-1406. PMID: 28377110.

Brown L, Meng N, Schmidt CT '17 & Bean JF: "Evaluation of an Outpatient Rehabilitative Program to Address Mobility Limitations Among Older Adults." American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 2017;96(8):600-606. PMID: 28079616.

Schmidt CT , Ward RE, Suri P, Kurlinski L, Anderson D, Kiely D,  Bean JF. Health characteristics, neuromuscular attributes, and mobility among primary care patients with symptomatic  lumbar spinal stenosis: A secondary analysis. Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy. 2017;40(3):135-142. PMID: 27007991.

Beauchamp MK, Schmidt CT, Pederson MM, Bean JF, Jette AM. Psychometric properties of the late-life function and disability instrument: a systematic review. BMC Geriatr. 2014;14(12). PMID: 24476510; PMCID: PMC3909447.



Schmidt CT, Ogarek J, Mor V, Resnik L. Physical Therapy or Surgery for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: Associating Factors and Healthcare Utilization. GSA Annual Conference, Boston, MA, November, 2018.


Schmidt CT, Kumar A, Keeney T, Karmarkar, A. Demonstrating the Value of Rehabilitation in the Era of Value Based Care Using Medicare Data. ACRM 2018, Dallas, TX, September, 2018.

Schmidt CT, Mor V, Resnik L. Healthcare Utilization for Patients Receiving Physical Therapy vs Surgery Following Incident Lumbar Stenosis Diagnosis: Who Has Higher Consumption? 2018 Institute on Health Services Research: Quality Strategies in Rehabilitation: Advancing Health Services Research, Boston, MA, April 2018.

Schmidt CT, Mor V, Resnik L. Evaluating the Utilization of Physical Therapy and Spinal Surgery among Older Adults with Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. Platform presentation. APTA Combined Sections Meeting, New Orleans, LA, February 2018.

Schmidt CT, Ward RE, Suri P, Kiely D, Ni P, Anderson D, Goldstein, R, Bean JF. Symptomatic Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: Neuromuscular Attributes Associated with Mobility among Older Adults. Paper Session, ACRM 94th Annual Conference, Progress in Rehabilitation Research (PIRR), Atlanta, GA, October 2017.

Schmidt CT, Mor V, Resnik L. Physical Therapy Utilization among Medicare Beneficiaries with Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. CoHSTAR Summer Institute on Health Services Research/APTA NEXT Meeting, Boston, MA, June 2017.

Schmidt CT, Keeney T, Ward R, Suri P, Kiely, D, Bean JF. Symptomatic Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: Measuring Health, Impairment, Mobility and Disability. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2017;47(1): A58-A161. doi:10.2519/jospt.2017.47.1.A58. APTA Combined Sections Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, February 2017.

Schmidt, CT. Health Characteristics, Mobility Limitations, and Neuromuscular Attributes among Older Primary Care Patients with Symptomatic Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. VA Boston Healthcare System: Research Day Poster Presentation, Elks Club, West Roxbury, May 18th 2016.

Schmidt CT, Ward RE, Suri P, Kurlinski LG, Anderson DE, Kiely DK, Bean JF. The health and functional characteristics of older adult primary care patients with lumbar spinal stenosis. Gerontologist. 2014; 54 Suppl 2:751-52. GSA Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., 2014.

Schmidt CT, Harris BA, Klein AB.  The effectiveness of physical therapy intervention in the management of patients following rotator cuff repair: A Systematic Review.  JOSPT; 38(1): A59. APTA, Combined Sections Meeting, Nashville, TN, 2008.

What do you think is special about the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program here at the MGH Institute? 
The Institute's PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program offers almost limitless bounds of collaboration with multidisciplinary faculty, researchers, and clinicians.

Why did you choose to come to this program rather than a doctoral research program in your specific profession?
As a graduate from the MGH Institute's advanced Master in Physical Therapy and Clinical Doctorate programs in 2006 I had the opportunity to experience first hand the quality education and support as I progressed within my clinical career.

As a young faculty member of the Department of Physical Therapy I am well aware of the mentorship available throughout the Institute.

The program is one of few that focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration, which offers the great potential to advance research skills and conduct quality research.

What are your goals for the future after you graduate?
I hope to become an independent clinical investigator working in the field of geriatric rehabilitation sciences at an academic institution that has strong support for clinical research.

I would like to become a proficient and autonomous scientist in developing the most effective and efficacious physical therapy interventions that maximize function and mobility in the care of older adults with back disorders. In addition I hope to continue my faculty role in physical therapy academia.