Bette Ann Harris, PT, DPT ’02, MSPT ’83 already had her place in Institute history as the first person to receive a graduate degree from the MGH Institute when she earned a post-professional Master of Science of Physical Therapy in 1983. After graduation, she continued to be involved with the Institute, teaching part-time and working as a clinical research associate that included several funded projects. Dr. Harris formally joined the MGH Institute faculty in 1985, having served in clinical, research, and administrative positions at Massachusetts General Hospital Physical Therapy Services.

She was Program Director, Graduate Programs in Physical Therapy, from 1992–2002. From 2002–2007, she was the Special Assistant for New Initiatives in the Office of the President and was the Interim Associate Academic Dean for Academic Year 2007–2008. From 2008–2012, she was the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs. In 2011, Dr. Harris became the Interim Director of the newly created Center for Interprofessional Studies and Innovation.

Dr. Harris retired in December 2012 and was accorded Professor Emerita status by the Board of Trustees. Other honors include: The Massachusetts Chapter APTA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research in 1988, The Nancy T. Watts Award for Teaching Excellence at the Institute in 2002, The Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006 from the Simmons School of Health Studies and was the Pauline A. Cerasoli Lecturer, APTA Section on Education in 2006.

The Institute's Distinguished Alumni Award was renamed the Bette Ann Harris Distinguished Alumni Award in May 2006.

  • BS, and Certificate in Physical Therapy, Simmons College
  • MS, Physical Therapy, MGH Institute of Health Professions
  • DPT, MGH Institute of Health Professions

Research Interests

  • Effectiveness of Strengthening Programs in the Elderly and functional limited persons (Strong for Life)
  • Outcomes of Physical Therapy Interventions in selected patient populations (such as people with hip fractures, orthopaedic trauma, bone tumors and neurological deficits)

Latham NK, Harris BA, Bean JF, et al. Effect of a Home-Based Exercise Program on Functional Recovery Following Rehabilitation After Hip Fracture: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2014;311(7):700-708. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.469.

Michlovitz S.L., Harris BA, Watkins M.P.:  Therapy Interventions for Improving Joint Range of Motion: A Systematic Review.  Journal of Hand Therapy, April-June,118-131, 2004 

Harris BA, Watkins M.P.: Adaptations to strength training. In Frontera W.R., Slovik  D. (ed) Exercise in Rehabilitation Medicine, Human Kinetics, Champaign, Illinois,   Second   Edition, Chapter 3, pp 24-32, 2006.

Etkin,C.D., Prohaska,T.R., Harris, BA, Latham,N.K., Jette A.M.: The feasibility of implementing  the Strong for Life Program in community settings.  The Gerontologist, 46: No 2, 284-292 April 2006.

Harris, BA:  The 2006 Pauline A. Cerasoli Lecture – Interdisciplinary education:  what, why and when.  Journal of Physical Therapy Education, Vol 20, no. 2, fall 2006, 3-8.

See Curriculum Vitae for complete list of publications and presentations.