Brown named first director of Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science program

The Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science program has named its inaugural leader.

David A. Brown, P.T., Ph.D., a leading expert on physical therapy and rehabilitation, is the inaugural director of the Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science program in the School of Health Professions at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The program, housed jointly in the departments of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy, will prepare graduates for the field of rehabilitation as academicians and scientists.


“Rehabilitation science is a rather new discipline, and we want to be on its forefront,” said Jan Rowe, Dr. OT, interim chair of Occupational Therapy. “Considering his national reputation and proven track record in scientific inquiry, Dr. Brown’s vision will help position UAB as a leader in this field.”

Brown has nearly 20 years experience as a physical therapy educator and 15 years working as a clinical physical therapist — the past 13 at Northwestern University. His research focuses on locomotor and balance dysfunction in people with neurological impairments. He is the founder of KineaDesign, LLC, a research, development and engineering design firm specializing in human-interactive mechatronics.

“Dr. Brown’s research complements the department’s initiatives for improving outcomes for people with neurological deficits and will provide excellent research opportunities for the students,” said Sharon Shaw, P.T., DrPH, chair of Physical Therapy.

Brown is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, Society of Neuroscience, International Gait and Posture Research Society and Society of Neural Control of Movement.

He earned his doctoral degree in exercise science from the University of Iowa, master’s degree in physical therapy from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from The University of Rochester.

For more information on the Rehabilitation Science program, visit