Gail Widener, PhD, PT

Gail Widener

Gail Widener, PhD, PT

Position: Associate Professor
Samuel Merritt University
Department of Physical Therapy

Research Biography

The goal of Dr. Widener’s current investigation is to extend her research on balance-based torso-weighting (BBTW), a novel therapeutic intervention, to determine which changes in the kinetic and kinematic variables of gait and upright standing occur in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) when weighted. In addition she will investigate sensory and motor impairments in people with MS that are most predictive of successful BBTW therapy. Dr. Widener collaborates with the inventor of BBTW, Cynthia Gibson-Horn, PT and with Diane Allen, PhD, PT who has a joint appointment to the Graduate Program in Physical Therapy at the University of California San Francisco and San Francisco State University.


Widener GL. Ch 19, Multiple Sclerosis, In: Neurological Rehabilitation, 6th edition. Umphred D, Lazaro R, Roller M editors. Mosby; St. Louis, MO: 2012 (in press).

Widener GL, Allen DA, Gibson-Horn C. Randomized clinical trial of balance-based torso weighting for improving upright mobility in people with multiple sclerosis. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2009; 23(8):784-91.

Widener GL, Gibson-Horn C, Allen DA. Balance-Based Torso-Weighting May Enhance Balance in Persons with Multiple Sclerosis: Preliminary Evidence. Arch Phys Med Rehab. 2009; 90(4):602-09.


Allen DD, Widener GL, Gibson-Horn C. Center of Pressure Changes During Quiet Standing with and without Balance-Based Torso Weighting in People with Multiple Sclerosis. 2nd International Symposium on Gait and Balance in Multiple Sclerosis, Portland, OR. October 19-20, 2012.

Allen DD, Gorgas AM, Gibson-Horn C, Widener GL. People with Multiple Sclerosis Show Improved Gait with Balance-Based Torso Weighting. American Academy of Neurology Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, April 2012. Also presented at the CMSC-ACTRIMS Annual meeting San Diego, CA. May 30-June 2, 2012.

Gorgas AM, Widener GL, Gibson-Horn C, Allen DD. Gait parameters with and without balance-based torso weighting in people with multiple sclerosis. Int J MS Care. 2011; 13(4) 201.


NIH AREA Award “Movement Ability Changes with Balance-Based Torso-Weighting in Multiple Sclerosis”. (399K), 9/15/2010-8-31-2013, Principal Investigator.

AVP Faculty Incentive Award, SMU “BBTW Effects in Healthy People”, (10K), 1/2010, Principal Investigator.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society Pilot Grant, "Balance-Based Torso Weighting: A New Intervention for Improving Balance and Mobility", (44K), 11/2004, Principal Investigator.


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