Patrick Spicer, M.D., Ph.D.

Resident Physician, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dell Medical School

University of Texas at Austin

Research Summary

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) focuses on the translation of medical diagnoses and its impairments to everyday life and function.  Understanding how to objectively measure impairments and function remain a significant problem in medicine as most outcomes are tied to poor correlates of function.  Dr. Spicer is interested in objective measures of function and then using those objective measures to evaluate current standards of treatment in rehabilitation.

One of those such areas is gait training in acute stroke and spinal cord injury injury patients, where Dr. Spicer is collaborating with Dr. James Sulzer of Mechanical Engineering and Dr. Robert Lee of PM&R at St. David’s Medical Center.  They are using inertial monitoring units as a mobile gait lab to assess gait and its progression over time in the acute phase after stroke and spinal cord injury.  

Additionally, he is using computer vision techniques for more accurate bedside joint angle measurements.  This tool will be used to more accurately assess spasticity treatment in children with cerebral palsy in conjunction with Catherine Harrison, DPT of Dell Children’s Medical Center and Edward Wright, MD of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Texas Children’s Hospital.


Dr. Spicer has expertise in the neuromuscular and musculoskeletal assessment of patients and the impact of disease on function.  Through the clinical work at Dell Seton Medical Center, Seton Medical Center Austin, Central Texas Rehabilitation Hospital, Dell Children’s Medical Center, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation outpatient clinics he has access to a range of patients with various diagnoses.  

Collaborative Interests

Dr. Spicer is open to collaborating with anyone interested in functional recovery through rehabilitation and specifically with measurement of functional tasks.  As a resident, he currently has a broad array of patients and diagnoses he sees, but hopes to focus his clinical career on those with impairments requiring inpatient rehabilitation for acute and chronic medical diagnoses such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, neuromuscular disease and amputation.