Vicki Mercer, PT, PhD

Vicki Mercer, PT, PhD

Division of Physical Therapy
Department of Allied Health Sciences
3022 Bondurant Hall, CB# 7135
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7135
OFFICE: (919)843-8642 FAX: (919)966-3678

Email address:


Research Background & Interests

Postural control in older adults and those with neurological disorders, especially stroke

Motor control and motor learning

Neuromuscular rehabilitation


Current Research

Implementation of community fall prevention programs.

Exercise interventions for improving lateral stability and preventing falls in older adults and individuals recovering from stroke.



PhD, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, 1993, Movement Science

MS, University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill, NC, 1988, Physical Therapy

BS, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, 1980, Physical Therapy



PHYT 784 Neuromuscular Assessment and Treatment I

PHYT 785 Neuromuscular Assessment and Treatment II

PHYT 822 Advanced Patient Management

HMSC 701 The Scientific Basis of Human Motion

HMSC 743 Topics in Motor Control and Motor Learning

DPT Service Learning Trip (Alligator, NC)


Selected Publications

Peterson MJ, Morey MC, Giuliani C, Pieper CF, Evenson KR, Mercer V, Visser M, Brach JS, Kritchevsky SB, Goodpaster BH, Rubin S, Satterfield S, and Simonsick EM, for the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study Research Group. Walking in old age and development of metabolic syndrome: the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study. Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2010;8(4):317-322.

Lin Y-S, Reilly M, Mercer VS. Responses to a modified visual cliff by pre-walking infants born preterm and at term. Phys Occup Ther Pediatr. 2010;30(1):66-78.

Dusing SC, Kyvelidou A, Mercer V, Stergiou N. Infants born preterm exhibit different patterns of center-of-pressure movement than infants born at full term. Phys Ther. 2009;89(12):1354-1362.

Mercer VS, Freburger JK, Chang S-H, Purser JL. Step test scores are related to measures of activity and participation in the first six months after stroke. Phys Ther. 2009;89:1072-1079.

Mercer VS, Hankins CC, Spinks AJ, Tedder DD. Reliability and validity of a clinical test of reaction time in older adults. J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2009, 32(3):103-110.

Mercer VS, Gross MT, Sharma S, Weeks E. Comparison of gluteus medius muscle electromyographic activity during forward and lateral step-up exercises in older adults. Phys Ther. 2009;89:1205-1214.

Mercer VS, Chang S-H, Williams CD, Noble KJ, Vance AW. Effects of an exercise program to increase hip abductor muscle strength and improve lateral stability following stroke: A single subject design. J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2009;32(2):6-15.

Mercer VS, Freburger JK, Chang S-HJ, Purser JL. Measurement of paretic lower extremity loading and weight transfer after stroke. Phys Ther. 2009;89:653-664.

McCulloch KL, Mercer VS, Giuliani CA, Marshall S. Development of a clinical measure of dual-task performance in walking: reliability and preliminary validity of the Walking and Remembering Test. J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2009;32(1):2-9.

Cavanaugh JT, Mercer VS, Stergiou N. Approximate entropy detects the effect of a secondary cognitive task on postural control in healthy young adults: a methodological report. JNER. 2007; 4:42.

Tsai L-C, Yu B, Mercer VS, Gross MT. Comparison of different structural foot types for measures of standing postural control. JOSPT. 2006; 36(12):942-953.

Shubert TE, Schrodt LA, Mercer VS, Busby-Whitehead J, Giuliani CA. Are scores on balance screening tests associated with mobility in older adults? J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2006; 29(1):33-39.

Cavanaugh JT, Guskiewicz K, Giuliani C, Marshall S, Mercer VS, Stergiou N. Detecting altered postural control after cerebral concussion in athletes without postural instability. Br J Sports Med. 2005; 39(11):805-811.

Chang SH, Mercer VS, Giuliani CG, Sloane PD. Relationship between hip abductor rate of force development and medial-lateral stability in older adults. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005; 86(9):1843-1850.

Reo JA, Mercer VS. Effects of live, videotaped, or written instruction on learning an upper-extremity exercise program. Phys Ther. 2004; 84:622-633.

Schrodt LA, Mercer VS, Giuliani CA, Hartman M. Characteristics of stepping over an obstacle in community dwelling older adults under dual-task conditions. Gait Posture. 2004; 19:279-287.

Huang HJ, Mercer VS. Effects of different concurrent cognitive tasks on temporal-distance gait variables in children. Pediatr Phys Ther. 2003; 15:105-113.

Mercer VS, Abrams S, Connelly C, Trabue L, West E. What are the effects of a distracting environment on clinical test scores in community dwellers over 65 years of age? J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2002; 25(1):16-20.

Rosemond C, Mercer VS. Educational programs to maximize function and mobility in long term care. Top Geriatr Rehab. 2002; 17(4):42-52.

Arnadottir SA, Mercer VS. Effects of footwear on functional tests in older women. Phys Ther. 2000; 80:17-27.

Schrodt L, Mercer VS. Dual-task performance of cognitive and balance tasks in older adults. Issues on Aging. 2000; 23(3):3-6.

Mercer VS, Sahrmann SA. Postural synergies associated with a stepping task. Phys Ther. 1999; 79:1142-1152.

Mercer VS, Sahrmann SA, Abrams RA, Buckles VD, Norton BJ. Age group differences in postural adjustments associated with a stepping task. J Motor Behavior. 1997; 29:243-253.


Professional Societies

Gerontological Society of America

American Heart Association Stroke Council

International Society for Posture and Gait Research

Society for Neuroscience

American Physical Therapy Association