FPTR Alum Builds on FPTR Funding to Study Parkinson’s Disease

Laurie King, PT, PhD, MCR, was the recipient of the 2011 Clagett Family Research Grant. Ten years later, she continues to secure significant follow-on funding from her original research with Parkinson’s Disease.

 In 2010, the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research established its first high impact/high priority research grant. The Clagett Family Research Grant was established to investigate exercise interventions for older adults living with multiple chronic conditions.

This two-year, $300,000 research grant was awarded to Laurie King, PT, PhD, MCR, in 2011, for her project, “Effectiveness of Physical Therapy in Chronic Neurologic Disease; The Role of Co-morbidities and Delivery of Physical Therapy Services.” King looked at a group of elderly people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) with one or more co-morbidities associated with PD or aging. The participants were randomized into three groups, each group receiving the same physical therapy intervention delivered in a different way: a standard of care home program, an individual, clinic-based physical therapy program, and a group exercise class led by a physical therapist.

“I was a post-doctoral fellow at the time I received this funding, and it was a large enough grant that it allowed me to transition to assistant professor,” said King. “I feel like it got me over the hurdle and once you get one grant, it becomes easier to get other grants.”

Overall, her research showed that the standard of care was the least effective approach in delivering physical therapy treatment to people with Parkinson’s. However, with the arrival of COVID-19 and stay-at-home restrictions, people have been forced to revert to home physical therapy delivery. In response to this, King is utilizing her results from the Clagett Research Grant to try and improve the delivery of home services using wearable sensors.

As a result of this original research, King continues to receive several large grants from the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health. Among her awards are:

  • NIH R01: Mobility in Daily Life and Falls in Parkinson Disease: Potential for Rehabilitation (2020-2025).
  • US Army Department of Defense SBIR (W81XWH1C0125): Ruggedized Inertial Measurement Unit System to Assess Movement Dysfunction in Austere Environments (2019-2020)
  • US Army Department of Defense (W81XWH-18-2-0049): Objective dual-task turning measures for return-to-duty assessment (2018-2022).
  • US Army Department of Defense (W81XWH-17-1-0424): Sensory Integration Balance Deficits in Complex mTBI: Can Early Initiation of Rehabilitation with Wearable Sensor Technology Improve Outcomes? (2017-2021).

The Clagett grant was made possible by a bequest from late couple, Lansdale and Gladys Clagett, in gratitude for the physical therapy Lansdale received, enabling him to walk on his own again after living in a wheelchair for almost 30 years.

Laurie King, PT, PhD, MCR, is an associate professor of Neurology, at the Oregon Health Sciences University, School of Medicine. King received her physical therapy training at Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota and her PhD at Medical College of Virginia.

Select Foundation Grants and Scholarships Awarded



  • Gait Performance in People with Symptomatic, Chronic Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Central Nervous System Trauma Douglas N. Martini, Lucy Parrington, Samuel Stuart, Peter C. Fino, Laurie A. King.

  • Objective Dual-Task Turning Measures for Return-to-Duty Assessment After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury” Frontiers in Neurology Peter C. Fino, Margaret M. Weightman, Leland E. Dibble, Mark E. Lester, Carrie W. Hoppes, Lucy Parrington, Jorge Arango, Alicia Souvignier, Holly Roberts, Laurie A. King.

  • Analysis of free-living mobility in people with mild traumatic brain injury and healthy controls. Central Nervous System Trauma Samuel Stuart, Lucy Parrington, Douglas N. Martini, Nicholas Kreter, James C. Chesnutt, Peter C. Fino, Laurie A. King.