Dennis Fell, MD, PT


Chairman, Dept. of Physical Therapy

Professor of Physical Therapy
Professor of Biomedical Sciences







Main Teaching Areas:

Neuromuscular Rehab (Examination and Intervention; Adult and Pediatric)
Human Development


Faculty member since 1992

Adjunct teaching involvement with UAB Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy program
Adjunct teaching involvement with Western Carolina University, Physical Therapy program
Visiting International Professor appointment 2010-2011, Daegu University, Daegu South Korea


Academic Background (degrees, Institution)
BS (Biology) 1982, University of South Alabama
MD 1986, University of South Alabama, College of Medicine
Pediatric Internship 1987, University of South Alabama Medical Center
BSPT 1993, University of South Alabama

Professional Involvement (professional organizations)

Member - American Physical Therapy Association
Alabama Physical Therapy Association – former Research Committee Chair, Nominating Committee, Vice-President 2013
Member - Education Section, Neurology Section, & Pediatric Section of APTA
Education Section Finance Committee Member, Nominating Committee Chair
Journal of Physical Therapy Education Editorial Board and Book Review Editor
Neurology Section Treasurer 2008, Telecommunications Committee Member and E-news newsletter editor
Peer Reviewer for Pediatric Physical Therapy, Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy, Journal of Physical Therapy Education, Physiotherapy Theory and Practice
Member and Past-President of Mobile Area Physical Therapy Organization

Clinical Interests

Neurology Examination and Intervention, Pediatrics, Aquatics, Balance Intervention

Clinical Experience

Rehabilitation: Inpatient and Outpatient (Neurology and Pediatrics)

Also provides pro bono therapy services

Scholarly Involvement (research involvement, grants, publications)

Research interests are related to the sit-to-stand transition, balance assessment, PT Education, Promotion of the PT Profession, Information seeking behavior among PTs, Progressing therapeutic exercise in a neuromuscular population

  • 19 peer reviewed publications
  • 6 non-peer reviewed publications
  • 61 presentations before scholarly groups
  • 72 continuing education courses taught (15 at national APTA conferences)

Peer-Reviewed Publications:

  • Fell DW, Godwin H, Koons EL, Rosene R. An Examination of Student Contracts and Fulfillment Rates Among Physical Therapy Graduates from One Institution. Journal of Physical Therapy Education. 12(1):41-49. Spring 1998.
  • Martin PC, Fell DW. Beyond Treatment: Patient Education for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. (invited article for special issue on patient education). Journal of Physical Therapy Education. 13(3):49-56. Winter 1999.
  • Fell DW. Progressing Therapeutic Intervention in Patients with Neuromuscular Disorders: A framework to assist clinical decision making. Journal of Neurological Physical Therapy. 2004;28(1):35-46.
  • Fell DW, Burnham JB. Access is Key: Teaching students to access evidence, expert opinion and patient values. Journal of Physical Therapy Education. 2004; 18(3):12-23.
  • Kronefeld M, Stephenson PL, Nail-Chivvetalu B (eds), Burnham JF, Fell DW. Review for librarians of evidence-based practice in nursing and the allied health professions in the United States. Journal of the Medical Librarian Association. 2007;95(4):394-407. (Burnham and Fell wrote the PT section of the manuscript).
  • Kim K, Fell DW, Lee JH. Feedback Respiratory Training to Enhance Chest Expansion and Pulmonary Function in Chronic Stroke:  A Double-Blind, Randomized Controlled Study.  J Phys Ther Sci. 2011;23(1):75-79.
  • Fell DW, Burnham JF, Buchanan MJ, Horchen HA, Scherr JA. Mapping the core journals of the physical therapy literature. J Med Libr Assoc. 2011;99(3):202-207.
  • Kim K, Fell DW.  Activation of Trunk Muscles during End-Inspiration of Abdominal Breathing:  Comparison among Four Difference Positions.  J Phys Ther Sci.  2011;23(2):339-343.
  • Kim K, Cha YJ, Fell DW.  The Effect of Contralateral Training: Influence of Unilateral Isokinetic Exercise on One-legged Standing Balance of the Contralateral Lower Extremity in Adults. Gait and Posture.  May 2011;34(1):103-106.
  • Kim MinJi,  Fell DW, Sin SooYung, Song WolSeop, Jo SuJin, Choi DongRak, Hawng MiJin, Hawng JinKyu Park JinHyun, Kyoung Kim.  트레드 동시 기근 이핑 활량에 치는 [The effect of inspiratory muscle taping training on vital capacity during treadmill exercise].  The Journal of Rehabilitation Science Research (Korean).  Dec 2011;29:12-21.
  • Kwon HyukKyu, Kwon YuJung, Park JinHyun, Fell Dennis.  안정판 에서 후방 유선형 신발 기립근 하지 활성도 미치는 영향 [Effect of curved rear shoe rocking surface on erector spinae and lower extremity muscles activation].  The Journal of Rehabilitation Science Research (Korean). Dec 2011;29:1-11.
  • Lee JH, Fell DW, Kim K. Plantar Pressure Distribution During Walking: Comparison of Subjects with and without Chronic Low Back Pain.  J Phys Ther Sci. 2011;23(6):923-926.
  • Fell DW, Kim K. Developing International Collaborations in Physical Therapy Academia: A Case Example Emphasizing Education and Scholarship. Journal of Physical Therapy Education.  Jan2012;26(1):6-12.
  • Fell DW. Global Physical Therapy Academia: A Fascinating World of International Education, Research, and Service.  [Guest Editorial]. . Journal of Physical Therapy Education.  Jan2012;26(1):3-4.
  • Jeon DH, Fell DW, Kim K.  초음파 영상을 머리- 운동의 적정 제시에 [The suggestion of Proper Pressure level in Cranio-Cervical Flexion Exercise for Deep Cervical Flexor by Ultrasonographic Measurement].  Journal of Korean Society of Physical Medicine.  Jan 2012;6(4):497-504.
  • Fell DW, Burnham JF, Dockery JM.  Determining how physical therapists get information to support clinical practice decisions. Health Information and Libraries Journal. 2012;30:35-48.
  •  Kim JS, Fell DW, Cha YJ, You JE, Kim K.  Effects of Different Heel Heights on Plantar Foot Pressure Distribution of Older Women during Walking. Journal of Physical Therapy Science.  2012;24(11):1091-1094.
  •  Tapley H, Fell D, Pitts D.  Exploration of spirituality in Doctor of Physical Therapy students and graduate students in non-health disciplines.  International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation. Oct 2012;19(10):566-574.
  • Fell DW, Kim K. Developing International Collaborations in Physical Therapy Academia: A Case Example Emphasizing Education and Scholarship. Interdivisional Review: Technology and Physiotherapy Practice.   Published by Canadian Physiotherapy Association-Orthopaedic Division. Jan/Feb 2013;26:19-32.  (Reprinted by request of CPA from Journal of Physical Therapy Education.  2012;26(1):6-12.)

Currently authoring/editing a textbook in Neuromuscular Rehabilitation:

Fell DW (ed), Lunnen KY, Rauk RP (assoc eds). “Neuromuscular Rehabilitation: A Patient-centered approach from Examination to Intervention”. 36 chapters by the editors and over 50 contributors. In preparation.

Conference Presentations:

He is a regular presenter at APTA national conferences including scientific presentations and educational sessions. He has made over 60 scientific presentations at national conferences. He has taught over 70 continuing education courses for physical therapists and physical therapy assistants. He has presented his work at the World Confederation for Physical Therapy International Congress in Washington, DC, 1995, in Yokohama, Japan, 1999, Barcelona, Spain, 2003, Vancouver BC, Canada, 2007, and Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2011 as well as conferences in South Africa, Taiwan, and South Korea.  Dr Fell has also lectured at PT programs in several states, and Taiwan and many universities in South Korea.

Grant Funding:
  • Prentice Hall author grant at initial preparation of textbook “Neuromuscular Rehabilitation:  A Patient-centered approach from Examination to Intervention”. February 2000.  $3,000.00.
  • Family Life's Hope for Orphans.  Travel grant as PT Team Leader for multidisciplinary volunteer healthcare team, Service trip to Tianjin Children’s Welfare Institute, Tianjin, China. June 5 – 13, 2004. $2,400.00.
  • Daegu University.  Visiting International Professor teaching Physical Therapy Courses. 2010-2011.  $35,000.


Achievements/Honors (professional, community)

1998: Faculty Inductee into Alpha Eta Allied Health Honor Society

1998: Physical Therapist of the Year presented by MAPTO
2001: University "Excellence in Teaching" Award, presented by University Alumni Assoc
2005, 2007: Selected as Mortar Board "Top Prof" for the University
2006: National Advising Award " Excellence in Advising Award". Mortar Board Inc. May 2006.
2006: Faculty Award for Excellence in Service. USA College of Allied Health Professions. May 2006.

2010-2011:  Sabbatical Year awarded by University, served as Visiting International Professor at Daegu University, in Daegu, South                             Korea.

2013: Selected as one of the University’s “50 Outstanding Faculty Members” from the 50-year history of the institution, as part of the              University’s 50 Anniversary;


  • Married to Noel Phillips Fell (A USAPT graduate of 1982) June 7, 1986
  • Two children: Nathan (born 1988) married to Elana and Hannah (born 1992)
  • He and Noel are community volunteers providing budget and debt-retirement counseling.
  • Hobbies include birding, photography, hiking, cooking, violin, piano, organ
  • PT Team Leader for multidisciplinary volunteer healthcare team, mission/service, to Tianjin Children’s Institute, Tianjin, China. June 5 – 13, 2004. Sponsored by Family Life's Hope for Orphans
  • PT Team Leader for PT mission trip to Juan Dolio and San Pedro de Marcoris, Dominican Republic, with 9 PT students and 5 PTs delivering care and heart in hospital PT departments, nursing homes and impromptu village clinics. Aug 3-11, 2013.  Sponsored by University of South Alabama and Christian Medical Ministry of South Alabama.
  • Faculty advisor for Mortar Board honor society and for Friends of Internationals