Eileen Fowler, PhD, PT
Dr. Fowler is Adjunct Professor in the UCLA Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Director of Research and Education for the Center for Cerebral Palsy at UCLA, and Director of the Kameron Gait & Motion Analysis Laboratory. She is a faculty member of the Tarjan Center at UCLA. Dr. Fowler has a degree in physical therapy and a PhD from UCLA Physiological Sciences department with a major in Biomechanics and minor in Motor Control. She holds the Peter William Shapiro Chair for the Center for Cerebral Palsy. She was President of the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine in 2015-2016. Dr. Fowler has more than 30 years of experience in the evaluation and treatment of children with neuromuscular disorders, particularly cerebral palsy (CP). In her laboratory, gait kinematic and kinetic evaluations of patients with cerebral palsy are commonly performed to guide treatment planning. Her research program focuses on understanding the neural and biomechanical factors associated with functional impairment with a focus on pediatric onset conditions. A current research emphasis is reduced selective voluntary motor control (SVMC) in children with spastic CP. Available evidence indicates that this impairment reflects injury to the corticospinal tracts, which control skilled movement. Children with absent SVMC may be able to walk but use mass patterns of flexion and extension as they are unable to dissociate hip, knee and ankle motion. Her team developed the Selective Control Assessment of Lower Extremity, or SCALE, to assess SVMC clinically. SCALE is used nationally and internationally and has been translated into at least 4 other languages. Subsequent research using dynamic systems modelling demonstrated that SCALE correlated with dissociation of the hip and knee during walking. Preliminary evidence suggests that SCALE is a prognostic factor for improvement following physical therapy and orthopedic surgery interventions. She collaborates with the Brain Mapping Center to examine the relationship between motor function and MRI DTI of the corticospinal tracts. In addition, the effect of an intensive lower extremity SVMC intervention is being assessed. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is another focus of her research program. She is the UCLA PI for a multi-site natural history study of gait biomechanics, which includes compensatory biomechanical models. In addition, she is a subinvestigator for multiple clinical trials that test the efficacy of novel therapeutics. She is the UCLA PI for a Cerebral Palsy Foundation (CPF) grant examining obstetric and gynecological health care for women with CP. The focus of the UCLA site is reproductive health. Initial findings suggest that many women with CP become parents despite the existence of physical and attitudinal barriers and that awareness and education are needed.