Cynthia Chiarello, PT, PhD, MS

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Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine (Physical Therapy) at CUMC

Dr. Cynthia M. Chiarello joined the Program in Physical Therapy at Columbia University in July, 1989, contributing substantial knowledge and experience as a clinician, researcher and academician. She served the program as Associate Director from July 2005 through the Spring of 2012. In 2016 Dr. Chiarello became the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy, the official peer reviewed publication of the Section on Women’s Health of the American Physical Therapy Association. She has established collaborations with colleagues both in clinical and acadmemic settings while mentoring students in several aspects of research.

Dr. Chiarello's areas of expertise include kinesiology and biomechanics, orthopedic conditions specific to women and prepubescent females, and orthopedics of the spine.

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BS, Psychology & Biology, State University of New York
  • MS, Physical Therapy, Duke University
  • PhD, Pathokinesiology, New York University

Honors & Awards

Research Award, Section on Women's Health, American Physical Therapy Association


Research Interests

  • Understanding the interplay between trunk muscle function and spinal stability
  • Diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA)
  • Relationship between DRA, low back pain and abdominal muscle function in pregnant/post-partum women


Grant Activity

2001: The relationship between hormonal changes throughout the menstrual cycle and anterior cruciate ligament laxity. Irving Center for Clinical Research, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Google Scholar Link


Jul 1 2013 - Jun 30 2014

Selected Publications

Recent Publications

1. Chiarello CM. Pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain and diastasis rectus abdominis, J Woman's Health Phys Ther: 2017;41(1): 3-9. doi: 10.1097/JWH.0000000000000068

2. Chiarello CM, McAuley JA, Hartigan EH. Immediate effect of active abdominal contraction on inter-recti distance, J Orthop Sports Phys Ther: 2016;46(3):177-183. Epub 26 Jan 2016.doi:10.2519/jospt.2016.610

3. Chiarello CM, McAuley JA. Concurrent validity of calipers and ultrasound imaging to measure inter-recti distance, J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2013;43(7):495-503. Epub 30 April 2013. doi:10.2519/jospt.2013.4449 

4. ChiarelloCM, McAuley J. Concurrent Validity of Caliper and Ultrasound Imaging to Measure Inter-Recti Distance, Submitted to JOSPT, June 2012

5. Chiarello CM, Zellers JA, Sage-King FM. Predictors of Inter-Recti Distance (IRD) in Cadavers. Submitted to JWHPT, November 2011.

6. Costello AR, Alanna Grey A, Chiarello CM. Anterior Cruciate Ligament Laxity and Strength of Quadriceps, Hamstrings, and Hip Abductors in Young Pre-pubescent Female Soccer Players Over Time: A Three-year Prospective Longitudinal Pilot Study, Orthopedic Physical Therapy Practice, 23 (1), 2011.

7. Chiarello CM, Falzone LA, McCaslin KE, Patel MN, Ulery KR. The effects of an exercise program on diastasis recti abdominis in pregnant women. JSOWH, 29(1):19-24, 2005

8. Chiarello CM, Falzone LA, McCaslin KE, Patel MN, Ulery KR. The effects of an exercise program on diastasis recti abdominis in pregnant women. JSOWH, 29(1):19-24, 2005

Books and Book Chapters

1. Chiarello CM, Stiskal D. Mastering Kinesiology: An Online Learning Experience. Electronic Educational "Textbook" Product; Saunders, Elsevier, Philadelphia, PA, work in progress

2. Chiarello CM, Spinal Disorders, Chapter 8 in Cameron MH, Monroe L, Physical Rehabilitation for the Physical Therapist Assistant, St. Louis, MO, Saunders Elsevier, 2010

3. Chiarello CM. Spinal Disorders, Chapter 8, pages 140-193, 293 refs. In M Cameron (ed.) Physical Medicine Assessment and Intervention: An evidence Based Approach. In Press, Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier, 2007

Book Reviews

1. Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System: Foundations of Rehabilitation, Ed 2. By Neumann DA. Mosby Elsevier. Review Published in JOSPT 41(4)285, 2011

2. Kinesiology: the Mechanics and Pathomechanics of Human Movement, Ed 2, By Oatis CA, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Review Published in JOSPT 39(10)767-8, 2009

3. Pelvic Pain: Diagnosis and Management by Howard FM, Perry CP, Carter JE, El-Minawi AM. Lippincott Williams & Willlkins, 2000. Review published in J Section on Women's Health 26(1)15,2002