She works as a Physical Therapist at UNC Health Care and when Dr. Michael Lewek, Assistant Professor, needed assistance with the Error Based Learning for Restoring Gait Symmetry Post-Stroke project, Dr. Husted excitedly jumped on board the research team. Now, she splits her time between working with her patients at the Rehab Unit at UNC Health Care and investigating how to help individuals improve their gait after a stroke.
Dr. Lewek’s research involves looking at how errors in movement while walking post-stroke can help individuals learn to improve their ability to walk. A specialized treadmill is split and the separate sides are able to speed up or slow down according to the walker’s gait. Individuals can be forced to make mistakes in their gait, for which they will need to compensate. This enables the brain to re-learn the movements necessary to improve walking. Dr. Husted works with the patients in this study and is involved in the process of helping them learn to adjust their gait and walk better.
Dr. Husted had originally studied Biology at Sewanee: The University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee, where she had her first experiences with research. There, she saw how exciting it was to be part of a research team – investigating a problem, designing an intervention, collecting data, and, ultimately, positively impacting people’s lives.
After graduating, Dr. Husted moved to Chapel Hill and further fostered her interest in research at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, helping to investigate breast cancer. As exciting as it was to be part of those research efforts, Dr. Husted knew she wanted to work with people more directly, and she began pursuing her education in Physical Therapy at UNC Chapel Hill, receiving her DPT in 2009.
As a Physical Therapist, Dr. Husted enjoys working with patients and hearing each person’s story. To her, it is thrilling to see her patients’ progress and to be involved in helping them return to activities they enjoy after a stroke or hospitalization. She finds that her research work and her clinical work complement each other: she augments her patient care with information she has gleaned through her research involvement with Dr. Lewek. Similarly, she uses her skills and knowledge as a practicing Physical Therapist in the research setting of Dr. Lewek’s lab.
Dr. Husted loves to travel and has visited four countries within the past year – Canada, Mexico, England, and Indonesia. This fall, she hopes make another trip to Jakarta, Indonesia, where her brother and his family live. Dr. Husted tries to visit them as often as possible, considering the 24-hour flight well worth it to spend time with her niece and nephew! A bit closer to home, she is also planning a trip to California’s wine country.
-By Skip Ryan