SMU Hosts Human Motion Symposium Nov. 4 & 5

Samuel Merritt University’s Motion Analysis Research Center (MARC) will hold its second annual symposium on November 4 and 5 featuring a diverse group of experts in biomechanics, neurology, physical therapy and podiatry. The theme of this year’s symposium is “Motion Analysis in Interdisciplinary Healthcare Education and Practice.”

The symposium, which will be held in the University’s Health Education Center, will provide an opportunity for alumni, faculty and students as well as community members and healthcare practitioners to explore human motion analysis with speakers from across North America.

The first day will be devoted to morning tutorials and afternoon workshops conducted by the guest experts while the second day will feature keynote addresses along with poster presentations. 

“We want to expose people to cutting-edge ideas and look beyond the boundaries of Samuel Merritt University,” said MARC Director Drew Smith, PhD.

The interdisciplinary theme reflects the educational approach of the MARC, which was established in 2013 to support both the teaching and research activities in SMU’s occupational therapy, physical therapy, and podiatric medicine programs. 

An organizing committee with members from across SMU programs sought out symposium speakers with deep expertise and appeal to a wide variety of healthcare practitioners.

“I’m very excited about this particular group of participants,” said Smith. “Many of these speakers would not necessarily be available to people at Samuel Merritt or definitely not otherwise come to the Bay Area all together.” 

Keynote Speakers for the 2nd Annual MARC Symposium

  • Nicholas Stergiou, PhD, is the Distinguished Community Research Chair in Biomechanics and the director of the Biomechanics Research Building at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  He is also a professor in the Department of Environmental, Agricultural, and Occupational Health of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. His research focuses on understanding variability inherent in human movement.  An international authority in the study of Nonlinear Dynamics, Dr. Stergiou’s research spans from infant development to older adult fallers.

Keynote Address:  Harnessing Movement Variability to Treat and Prevent Motor Related Disorders

  • Mandy F. Levin, PhD, is a professor in the School of Physical & Occupational Therapy at McGill University in Montreal, where she trained as a physiotherapist, and holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Arm Motor Recovery and Rehabilitation. Dr. Levin's research focuses on the mechanisms underlying motor deficits after neurological injury as well as motor recovery and motor learning regarding movements related to reaching and grasping, using novel therapy approaches including virtual reality technology.

Keynote Address:  Using Virtual Reality for Motor Learning in Neurological Rehabilitation

  • Laurie King, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Neurology at Oregon Health & Sciences University with more than 15 years of clinical experience treating neurologically impaired patients. King is currently funded by the NIH and the Department of Defense to study balance and gait and rehabilitation in neurologic populations.  She is also interested in bringing state-of-the-art technology into the clinic to improve patient outcomes in rehabilitation.

Keynote Address: Wearable Technology for Mobility Assessment and Rehabilitation

Invited Speakers:

  • Kevin Kirby (California College of Podiatric Medicine ’83) is an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Applied Biomechanics at the California School of Podiatric Medicine and has a full time podiatric biomechanics and surgical practice in Sacramento, California. He has lectured extensively on foot and lower extremity biomechanics, foot orthoses, and sports medicine.
  • Tom McPoil, PhD, is a professor of Physical Therapy at Regis University, Denver, Colorado; an Emeritus Regent’s Professor of Physical Therapy at Northern Arizona University, and specializes in the evaluation and management of foot and ankle disorders.
  • Douglas Richie (California College of Podiatric Medicine ’80) is a fellow and past president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine and a fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.  His research interests have included studying prevention and treatment of the ankle sprain and he holds five patents in footwear, ankle brace design and foot orthotic design. Dr. Richie is currently in private practice in Seal Beach, California.

To register for the symposium, go to:

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