Research spotlight: Pat Buchanan

Patricia A. Buchanan, Ph.D., ATC, P.T., GCFT, is an associate professor at Des Moines University in the doctor of physical therapy program specializing in motor development.

Her lifelong interests in sports, health, and the sciences have shaped her studies and professional experiences: from physical education, to athletic training, to physical therapy and beyond. While in her training to become a teacher of the Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education, she learned about the work of developmental psychologist Esther Thelen and pursued doctoral studies in motor development and dynamic systems theory with the late Dr. Thelen and colleagues at Indiana University. She has worked with athletes of all ages and abilities, performing artists and others interested in improving their function. Her research focuses on the effects of interventions targeting improved movement and awareness. She uses biomechanical, strength and observational methods to evaluate motor behavior related to injury prevention, rehabilitation and functional improvement from a life span developmental perspective.

Current research projects

  • Case study: Effects of addition of feldenkrais method lessons to rehabilitation program for a 2 year-old with epilepsy
  • Case study of gait and related factors of adult with spina bifida
  • Observation and intervention studies of the Feldenkrais Method® and the ACL injury problem
    movement changes over time.
  • The Knee Project: Developmental perspectives on basketball players’ strength, knee 
    position in landing and ACL injury gender differences.
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