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Deborah Backus, PT, PhD

debora backus Member-at-Large, ACRM Board of Governors
Director of Multiple Sclerosis Research
Eula C. and Andrew C. Carlos MS Rehabilitation and Wellness Program
Shepherd Center, Atlanta, GA


Deborah Backus, PT, PhD is Director of Multiple Sclerosis Research at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Backus is an experienced physical therapist, educator, and researcher dedicated to improving functional and health outcomes for people with neurological injury or disease, specifically multiple sclerosis (MS) and spinal cord injury (SCI). She received her BS in Physical Therapy in 1986, and her PhD in neuroscience in 2004.

Dr. Backus’ research efforts are focused in two areas related to improving the health and function of people with MS and SCI. As part of the Eula C. and Andrew C. Carlos MS Rehabilitation and Wellness Program at Shepherd Center, she is focusing on the assessment of the health and wellness needs for people with varying stages of MS, and the evaluation of rehabilitation and exercise interventions that may be beneficial to people with MS.

The second area of focus is gaining a better understanding of the impact of activity-based interventions on recovery of upper limb function in people with movement control problems due to MS and SCI. Her clinical experience combined with her research interests has fueled a passion for facilitating the translation of evidence into clinical practice, including influencing clinicians in practice, payers for reimbursement of evidence-based interventions, and policy makers related to health policy. Dr. Backus has presented both nationally and internationally, and has also published related to this work.