Kathy Mercuris, P.T., D.H.S.

Associate ProfessorDoctor of Physical Therapy Program
Physical Therapist (limited availability)Physical Therapy Clinic
Associate Professor, Doctor of Physical TherapyStudent Research Mentors
Clinic Appointment 515-271-1717
Fax 515-271-7078
Email kathy.mercuris@dmu.edu
  • Doctor in Health Sciences, University of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN
  • Masters in General Studies, Drake University, Des Moines, IA
  • Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
  • Neuro-Development Treatment 3-week training program for Adults with Hemiplegia
  • Exercise Experts for Aging Adults: Evidence-based Examination and Exercise Prescription
  • Tai Chi for Arthritis (TCA) Certification
  • Iowa Physical Therapy License
Awards and honors
  • 2016-17 Iowa Campus Compact Engaged Scholar Faculty Fellow.
  • DMU Outstanding Service Award presented by DMU Faculty.
Areas of Expertise

Clinical Practice OP adult neurology; vestibular dysfunction, fall prevention. Des Moines University Medical Clinics
Professional Organizations, Committees and Boards
  • Des Moines area Stroke Club
  • Explorer Scouts- Medical Troop- past
  • Neuro-developmental Treatment Association (NDTA)
  • Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA)
  • American Physical Therapy Association, Neurology, Education, and Geriatric Sections
    Geriatric Section:  Research Committee
  • SCRIPT Committee for the State of Iowa (Systems Change and Reform in Interprofessional Preservice Training)/past
  • Alpha Eta Society: Chapter Secretary
  • Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, Item Writer and Review Committee-PT/past Iowa Fall Prevention Coalition


  • Served Stroke Club anniversary refreshments with PT students


  • Reviewed poster and platform presentation abstracts for APTA Education Section (ELC Conference)
  • Fall Prevention Awareness Day: Community event co-sponsored with Wesley Life,
  • Drake Pharmacy Program
  • DMU Discover Day- speaker and Enrollment table
  • Health Fair PT coordinator/supervisor
  • Numerous presentations on PT as a career in schools
  • Speaker ISU Women in Science Career Exploration 2x/year
  • Alpha Eta Chapter Secretary
  • Volunteer for Special Olympics FunFitness State and National Competitions
  • Midwest Parkinson Disease Conference- Balance screens provided
  • Special Olympics laison for FunFitness Day at Van Meter/Smouse
  • Staffed APTA Neurology Section Booth at CSM
  • Staffed DMU Clinic booth at Parkinson Health Fair
  • COPD Community Screens with PA
  • Assisted with Wesley Acres Annual Fitness Screen


  • Rank, Promotion, and Tenure Committee- co-chair
  • University Facilities Committee- member; Secretary
  • University Faculty Welfare Committee – Chairperson;
  • University Performance and Improvement Committee
  • AQIP Team
  • University Qualitive Initiative Committee
  • CHS SPEC- member; Co-chair
  • CHS Scholarship Committee
  • Admissions Coordinator
    • DPT Scholarship Committee
  • PT Department Neurology Faculty Search Committee- Chair
  • DPT Performance and Improvement Committee
  • Faculty Advisor for P.T. Club
  • DPT Initiative/New Programming Committee
  • DPT Curriculum Committee
  • Mini-Medical School
  • DMYou Survey
  • Faculty committee to review Provost job description
  • College of Health Sciences Workload Committee
  • PT Club Faculty Advisor

Primary focus is balance, gait, and fall risk in the older population and in individuals with neurologic pathology.  Educational research is focused on changes in students’ empathy during completion of the physical therapy curriculum.

Grant Activity

Mercuris, K. Primary Investigator

$9,279.00 IOER

Postural stability in healthy older adults following Tai Chi lessons from a novice versus experienced instructor. September 1, 2013- June 30, 2016.

Mercuris, K.  Co-Primary Investigator


The effects of an exercise program compared to a walking program on bone mineral density and balance in persons over the age of 65 years March 31, 1995-June 1, 2008  Iowa Osteopathic Education and Research Foundation


Peer Reviewed Publications

Neuromuscular Rehabilitation: A Patient-centered Approach from Examination to Interventions and Outcomes; Fell, Dennis W; Lunnen, Karen Y; Rauk, Reva P Chapter 15: Neurologic Rehabilitation, K. Mercuris, J. Stephenson Chapter 35: Functional Activities in Sitting, R. Rauk, K. Mercuris   Chapters submitted and revisions completed. Publication set for December 2014

Peer Reviewed Scientific and Professional Presentations

Poster Presentations:

Rindfleisch A,  Stevermer C, Mercuris K. Relationship Between Timed-Up-and-Go and Functional Ambulation Profile. CSM February, 2014. Las Vegas, NV.

Mercuris KL, Wilkening K,  Fielitz K, McDermott M. Impact of Electrical Stimulation Training on Gait and Function in Six Children with Disability. CSM February, 2014. Las Vegas, NV.

Mercuris KL, Frandsen M. Effects of an intense week-long exercise program in chronic CVA: a case series.  CSM January, 2013. San Diego, CA.

Rindfleisch  A,  Mercuris KL, Severmer C. Analysis of Turn Initiation and Termination. CSM January, 2013. San Diego, CA.

Wilkening K , Mercuris KL. The Impact of Civic Engagement on DPT Students’ Attitudes Toward Service: A Literature Review. DMU Research Symposium, December 6, 2012.

Mercuris KL, Morrow C. Book Club Elective Course on Individuals with Disability and the Impact on Empathy in Physical Therapy Students.  CSM February 2011, New Orleans LA.

Buchanan, P. A. & Mercuris, K. L. (2010, July). Developmental changes following complementary Feldenkrais Method lessons to rehabilitation in a child with hemispherectomy. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the Feldenkrais Guild â of North America, Chicago, IL.

Mercuris KL, Bradley-Diehl S, Schider R. Correlation of Gait and Balance Parameters to Self-Reported Functional Measurements in Community-Dwelling Subjects with CVA.  CSM April, 2010.  San Diego CA.

Mercuris KL, Vardaxis V, Killian C.  Relationship of Temporal Gait Asymmetries and Clinical Balance Measures in Community Dwelling Subjects with CVA and Controls.  CSM Feb 9-12, 2009 Las Vegas, NV

Buchanan P, Deshpande P, Mercuris K, Ronnenbaum J, Vardaxis V. Ambulatory Adult with Cervical Spina Bifida: Case Study.  CSM February 9-12, 2009.  Las Vegas, NV

Professional Publications/Presentations


Stepping Out of the Box: Assessment and Intervention of Neurologic Gait. K. Mercuris, G. Beecher, G. McGaughy.  IPTA Spring Conference, April 25, 2014. Ames, Iowa. 6 hours.

Pearls from the Podium. Stroke Camp- What it Can do for You. IPTA Fall Conference.  Ames, Iowa. Fall, 2013

Making Tracks with Gait Research in Parkinson Disease. Invited speaker at the Annual Iowa Parkinson’s Disease Conference sponsored by the Iowa and American Parkinson Disease Association.  June 14, 2013.

Lower Extremity Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. Inservice at Mercy Riverside. May, 2012

Neuromuscular Interventions.  Continuing education course for Mary Greeley Hospital therapists.  October 20, 2011.

Upper Extremity Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation.  Inservice to Mercy Riverside therapists.  August 17, 2011.

Evidenced-Based Concepts for Planning and Implementing a Community-Based, Parkinson’s Specific Exercise Class based on the Delay the Disease Fitness Program.  KL Mercuris presentation: Evidence Based Research on Exercise in Parkinson’s Disease.  April 15, 2011.  West Des Moines, IA.

BPPV Guidelines.  Southwest District IPTA Speaker- November 10, 2009


Slip, Sliding, Away: Fall Prevention. Presented through the Des Moines Adult Community Education Department. Co-Presenter Michelle Brown, PT. Presented 2013 Spring/Fall; 2014 Spring.

DMU Mini-Medical School- Applying Neuroplasticity Concepts to Rehabilitation. February, 2011.

Iowa Chapter Parkinson Association- Current Trends in Exercise for Individuals with Parkinson Disease.  Sept. 2010

Mercuris, K: Update on Research Results for the CVA population. Stroke Club, Des Moines, IA. June 16, 2009.