Two students in the UAB PhD in Rehabilitation Science program defended their doctoral dissertations in November. Anwar B S Almutairi and Sarah dos Anjos are the 9th and 10th students to defend in this nascent program that is an interdisciplinary program sponsored by the Departments of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy.


On Thursday, November 8, 2018, Anwar B S Almutairi (pictured, right) defended her dissertation titled “Vestibular and Oculomotor Function in Children with Cerebral Palsy.” Her research looks at why cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability of childhood, yet the role of vestibular and oculomotor abilities are not explored. Part of her work examined a battery of vestibular and oculomotor clinical tests.

In August, Almutairi had her first paper published and it was in relation to her dissertation work. “Vestibular and Oculomotor Function in Children with Cerebral Palsy: A Scoping Review” – coauthored with School of Health Professions’ faculty members Jennifer Braswell Christy, PT, Ph.D., and Laura Vogtle, OTR/L, Ph.D., FAOTA – appeared in Seminars in Hearing, Volume 39, Number 3. Her article “revealed a paucity of rigorous and objective research to describe the status of oculomotor and vestibular function in children with CP” and recommends more research to develop better testing in children with cerebral palsy.

dos Anjos

On Tuesday, November 13, 2018, Sarah dos Anjos defended her dissertation titled “Lower Extremity Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (LE-CIMT) to Improve Gait and Mobility of People with Chronic Stroke: a Mixed Methods Study.”

Her focus is on the different techniques developed to overcome walking impairment after stroke – specifically Constraint-induced Movement Therapy (CIMT). CIMT, one of the most effective interventions, differs for upper extremities (UE) and lower extremities (LE). dos Anjos noted that modifications were needed for the adaptation of the UE-CIMT for the LE so she investigated the relationship between the effect of the CIMT protocol on gait, mobility and LE motor function. Her research found that the LE-CIMT is a potential tool to improve gait, mobility and use of the more affected LE of people with chronic stroke.

See Defense Photos

Both Almutairi and dos Anjos are scheduled to participate in the UAB Doctoral Hooding and Commencement Ceremony set for Friday, December 14, 2018.