Dawn M. Nilsen EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Headshot of Dawn M. Nilsen.

Associate Director

Associate Professor

Honorary Adjunct Assistant Professor of Movement Sciences and Education, Teachers College

dmn12@cumc.columbia.edu

Education

EdD, Motor Learning and Control, Teachers College, Columbia University

EdM, Motor Learning and Control, Teachers College, Columbia University

MS, Cell Biology and Anatomy, New York Medical College

BS, Occupational Therapy, New York University

Clinical Expertise

  • Neurorehabilitation
  • Adult Physical Disabilities
  • Motor Learning and Control

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Human Anatomy Foundations for Occupational Therapy
  • Neuroscience Foundations for Occupational Therapy
  • Advanced Evidence Based Practice: A Critical Appraisal
  • Human Anatomy Teaching Assistantship Program
  • Dissertation advisor for EdD program

Research Interests

  • Determining the effectiveness and efficacy of therapeutic interventions on the recovery of occupational performance in persons with neurological impairments.
  • Special interest in the use of cognitive strategies (e.g., mental practice, mirror therapy) and technology to augment task oriented training interventions), kinematic analysis of arm/hand function, and the impact of body orientation on upper limb movement.

Funded Research

  • Quantitative Rehabilitation after Stroke, NIH/NINDS – K02 NS104207, H. Schambra – PI, 10/01/2017-9/30/2022.  Role: Co-Investigator. The goal of this research is to develop two measurement tools to quantify rehabilitation dose and movement recovery after stroke.
  • Reliability of the Dartfish video analysis system for evaluating the kinematics of reaching and walking activities, Hudson-Taconic Division of NYSOTA, 2013.  Role: PI. This pilot study examined the validity and reliability of the Dartfish system for reaching and walking activities. The validity and reliability of Dartfish was determined by comparing kinematic variables captured by Dartfish with those same measurements taken simultaneously by the Vicon motion analysis system.

Professional Awards, Recognitions, Activities

  • AOTA Recognition of Achievement Award: Author/Educator Who Has Advanced Neurorehabilitation, 2019
  • Inducted into the AOTA Roster of Fellows for Outstanding Contributions to Neurorehabilitation Education and Scholarship, 2016.
  • Professional Member of AOTA, WFOT, and NYSOTA
  • Professional Member of American Heart/Stroke Association. Councils: Stroke Council Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Council
  • Board Certified in Neurorehabilitation by the AOTA (1996-2006)
  • Presenter at AOTA National Conferences and NYSOTA Annual Conferences
  • Editorial Board (Reviewer): American Journal of Occupational Therapy
  • Guest Reviewer: American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Disability and Rehabilitation, Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, and Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy
  • Formal Invitation for Admittance into Kappa Delta Phi Honor Society for Education, 2000

Publications

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Parnandi, A., Uddin, J., Nilsen D.M., & Schambra, H.M. (2019). The Pragmatic Classification of Upper Extremity Motion in Neurological Patients: A Primer. Frontiers Neurology, 10:996. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00996
  • Schambra, H.M., Parnandi , A., Natasha G. Pandit, N.G.., Jasim Uddin, J. , Audre Wirtanen, A., & Nilsen, D.M.  (2019). A taxonomy of functional upper extremity motion. Frontiers Neurology, 10:857. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00857
  • Weber, L.M., Nilsen, D. M., Gillen, G.,  Yoon, J, & Stein, J. (2019). Immersive virtual reality mirror therapy for upper limb recovery after stroke: A pilot study. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 98, 783–788.doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001190
  • Parnandi, A., Uddin, J., Nilsen, D., & Schambra, H. (2018). Pragmatic classification of movement primitives for stroke rehabilitation. arXiv preprint arXiv:1902.08697 [cs.LG] https://arxiv.org/abs/1902.08697
  • Hreha, K., Gillen, G., Noce, N., & Nilsen, D. (2018). The feasibility and effectiveness of using prism adaptation to treat motor and spatial dysfunction in stroke survivors with multiple incidents of stroke. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation doi 10.1080/10749357.2018.1437937
  • Guerra,  J., Uddin,  J., Nilsen, D.M., Mclnerney, J., Fadoo, A., Omofuma, I.B., Hughes, S., Agrawal, S., Allen, P., & Schambra, H.M. (2017). Capture, learning, and classification of upper extremity movement primitives in healthy controls and stroke patients. IEEE Int Conf Rehabil Robot, 547-554. doi:10.1109/ICORR.2017.8009305.
  • Bushnell, C., Bettger, J.P., Cockroft, K.M., Cramer, S.C., Edelen, M.O., Hanley, D., Katzan, I., Mattke, S., Nilsen, D.M., Piquado, T., Skidmore, E.R., Wing, K., Yenokyan, G. (2015). Chronic stroke outcome measures for motor function intervention trials: expert panel recommendations. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, 8:S163-S169. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.115.002098
  • Nilsen, D.M., Gillen, G., Arbesman, M. & Lieberman, D. (2015). Evidence connection – Occupational therapy interventions for adults with stroke. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69, 6905395010. doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.695002.
  • Coker, E., McIsaac, T., & Nilsen, D.M. (2015). Motor imagery modality in expert dancers: an investigation of hip and pelvis kinematics in demi-plié and sauté. Journal of Dance Medicine and Science, 19(2), 63-69. doi.org/10.12678/1089-313X.19.2.63
  • Nilsen, D. M., Gillen, G., Geller, D., Hreha, K., Osei, E., & Saleem, G. (2015). Effectiveness of interventions to improve occupational performance for those with motor impairments after stroke: An evidence based review. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(1), 6901180030p1-6901180030p9. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2015.011965.
  • Gillen, G., Nilsen, D. M., Attridge, J., Banakos, E., Morgan, M., Winterbottom, L., & York, W. (co-first author) (2015). Effectiveness of interventions to improve occupational performance for those with cognitive impairments after stroke: An evidence based review. American Journal of Occupational Therapy69(1)6901180040p1-6901180040p9. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2015.012138.
  • Nilsen, D. M. & DiRusso, T. (2014). Using mirror therapy in the home environment: a case report. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(3), e84 e89. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.010389
  • Nilsen, D. M., Gillen, G., Geller, D., Hreha, K., Osei, E., & Saleem, G. (2014). What is the evidence for the effectiveness of interventions to improve occupational performance for those with motor deficits after stroke? [Critically Appraised Topic]. Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association, Evidence-Based Practice Project. Available online here.
  • Gillen, G., Nilsen, D. M., Attridge, J., Banakos, E., Morgan, M., Winterbottom, L., & York, W. (co-first author) (2014) What is the evidence for the effectiveness of interventions to improve occupational performance for those with cognitive impairments after stroke? [Critically Appraised Topic]. Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association, Evidence-Based Practice Project. Available online here.
  • Nobbe, J., Nilsen, D.M, & Gillen, G. (2012). Mental practice is modifiable: changes in perspective maintenance and vividness post-stroke. Journal of Imagery Research in Sport and Physical Activity7(1), Article 4, 1-16.
  • Nilsen, D.M., Gillen, G., Dirusso, T. & Gordon, A. (2012). Effect of imagery perspective on occupational performance after stroke: a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Occupational Therapy66, 320-329.
  • Giron Coker, E., McIsaac, T., & Nilsen D.M. (2012). Effects of kinesthetic vs. visual imagery practice on two technical dance movements: a case series. Journal of Dance Medicine and Science, 16(1), 36-38.
  • Nilsen, D.M., Gillen, G., & Gordon, A.M. (2010). Use of mental practice to improve upper limb recovery after stroke: a systematic review. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64, 695-708.
  • Steenbergen, B., Craje, C., Nilsen, D.M., & Gordon, A.M. (2009). Motor imagery training in hemiplegic cerebral palsy: A potentially useful therapeutic tool for rehabilitation. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 51(9), 690-696.
  • Nilsen, D.M., Kaminski, T.R., & Gordon, A. M. (2003). The effect of body orientation on a point-to-point movement in healthy elderly persons. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57, 99-107.

Books

  • Wolf, T. & Nilsen, D.M. (co-first author) (2015) Occupational therapy practice guidelines for adults with stroke. Bethesda, MD: AOTA Press.

Book Chapters

  • Nilsen, D. M. & Gillen, G. (in press). Motor Learning and Task-Oriented Approaches In D. Powers Dirette & S. A. Gutman (Eds.). Occupational therapy for physical dysfunction (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer, Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins.
  • Nilsen, D. M. & Gillen, G. (in press). Cerebrovascular accident. In D. Powers Dirette & S. A. Gutman (Eds.). Occupational therapy for physical dysfunction (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer, Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins.
  • Nilsen, D. M. & Gillen, G. (in press). Motor control intervention. In D. Powers Dirette & S. A. Gutman (Eds.). Occupational therapy for physical dysfunction (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer, Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins.
  • Nilsen, D. M. & Gillen, G. (in press). Motor control assessment. In D. Powers Dirette & S. A. Gutman (Eds.). Occupational therapy for physical dysfunction (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer, Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins.
  • Gutman, S.A., & Nilsen, D.M. (in press). Cranial nerve assessment. In D. Powers Dirette & S. A. Gutman (Eds.). Occupational therapy for physical dysfunction (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer, Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins.
  • Gillen, G., & Nilsen, D.M. (2019). Motor function and occupational performance. In Schell, B. & Gillen, G. (Eds.) Willard and Spackman’s Occupational Therapy, Centennial Edition (13th ed.). Wolters Kluwer, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Nilsen, D.M., & Boisselle, A.K. (2019). Neural basis of adaptation: neuroplasticity and movement sciences. In Grajo, L.C., & Boisselle, A.K. (Eds). Adaptation Through Occupation: Multidimensional Perspectives. (pp. 35-57). Slack Incorporated, Thorofare, NJ.
  • Gillen, G. & Nilsen, D.M. (2016). Upper extremity function and management. In Gillen, G. (ed.) Stroke rehabilitation: A function based approach (4th ed.). (pp. 424-485). St. Louis: Elsevier Science.
  • Nilsen, D.M., Kaminski, T.R., & Gordon, A.M. (2003). The effect of body orientation on a point-to-point movement in healthy elderly persons. In M. Corcoran (Ed.)., Geriatric issues in occupational therapy: A compendium of leading research. (pp. 53-65). Bethesda, MD: AOTA Press.

Public Media

Abstracts

  • Geller, D., Nilsen, D.M., VanLew, S., Bernardo, M., Gillen, G., Bateman, C., Graziano, K., Kadota, L., Swinnerton, P., & Zivari, O. (2016). Home mirror therapy: a randomized control pilot study comparing unimanual and bimanual therapy for improved arm/hand function post-stroke. Abstract for oral research presentation #218 at ACRM Annual Meeting.
  • Bishop, L., Stein, J., Schoenherr, G.S., Chen, C., Nilsen, D.M., Beer, R., & Helbock, R. (2014). Robot-assisted hand exercise compared with conventional exercise therapy after ischemic stroke: A pilot study. Abstract for poster session presented at the ASNR Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada.

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