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James Gordon, EdD, PT, FAPTA


Associate Dean and Chair


1540 Alcazar St., CHP 155,
Los Angeles, CA 90089-9006


Associate Dean and Chair James Gordon’s research focuses on neural control of arm movements, especially the roles of proprioceptive information in control of reaching movements.

His current research in neurorehabilitation and motor control has been published extensively. He is considered one of the foremost thinkers in motor learning and its application to people with neurological conditions.

Dr. Gordon’s primary teaching has been in the neurosciences, motor learning and motor control, and the application of these areas to neurologic physical therapy. He has also taught courses in professional practice and documentation in physical therapy.

He has written several influential papers examining the interplay of theory and practice in developing better methods for treating patients, and in establishing innovative links between biokinesiology and physical therapy practice and research. He co-authored a widely used textbook on documentation in rehabilitation, now in its second edition.

In 2014, Dr. Gordon received the highest honor bestowed by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), when he delivered the 45th McMillan Lecture at the APTA annual conference. In his speech, he said, “We are the architects of our profession’s future. Through our efforts today, we design and build the foundations and frameworks that will make it possible for a strong and vibrant and creative profession to emerge in the next decade, in the next 40 years, in the next century.”

  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Neuroscience, Columbia University, 1987
  • Doctor of Education, Movement Science, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1985
  • Master of Education, Movement Science, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1983
  • Master of Arts, Movement Science, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1981
  • Bachelor of Arts, Physical Therapy, SUNY, Downstate Medical Center, 1974


See James Gordon’s curriculum vitae.

  • 2012 – 2017 Deputy Director, “Rehabilitation Research Career Development Program” NIH K12 (PI:K. Ottenbacher).
  • 2011 – 2016 Co-Principal Investigator,“Post-doctoral Training program: Training Program in Rehabilitation Efficacy and Effectiveness Trials (TREET)” NIH T32 (PI: F. Clark).

See Google Scholar profile

Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Park H, Kim S, Winstein CJ, Gordon J, Schweighofer N. (2015) “Short-duration and intensive training improves long-term reaching performance in individuals with chronic stroke.” Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. doi: 10.1177/1545968315606990
  • Lee Y-Y, Winstein CJ, Gordon J, Petzinger GM, Zelinski EM, Fisher BE. (2015) “Context-dependent learning in people with Parkinson’s disease.” Journal of Motor Behavior. DOI: 10.1080/00222895.2015.1082964
  • Schweighofer N, Xiao Y, Kim S, Yoshioka T, Gordon J, Osu R. (2015) Effort, Success, and Non-use Determine Arm Choice. Journal of Neurophysiology, 114(1):551-559), doi: 10.1152/jn.00593.2014
  • Sorenson SC, Romano R, Scholefield RM, Martin BE, Gordon JG, Azen SP, Schroeder ET, Salem GJ. (2014) “Holistic Life-Span Health Outcomes Among Elite Intercollegiate Student‐Athletes.” J Athl Train. 49 (5), 684-695. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-49.3.18.
  • Stewart JC, Gordon J, Winstein CJ. (2014) “Control of reach extent with the paretic and nonparetic arms after unilateral sensorimotor stroke II: planning and adjustments to control movement distance.” Experimental Brain Research. 232(11):3431-3443. doi: 10.1007/s00221-014-4025-7
  • Stewart JC, Gordon J, Winstein CJ. (2014) “Control of reach extent with the paretic and nonparetic arms after unilateral sensorimotor stroke: kinematic differences based on side of brain damage.” Experimental Brain Research. 232(7):2407–19. doi:10.1007/s00221-014-3938-5.
  • Goh, H.-T., Gordon, J., Sullivan, K. J., & Winstein, C. J. (2014) “Evaluation of Attentional Demands During Motor Learning: Validity of a Dual-Task Probe Paradigm,” Journal of Motor Behavior, 46:2, 95-105, DOI: 10.1080/00222895.2013.868337
  • Stewart, J. C., Gordon, J., & Winstein, C. J. (2013). “Planning and adjustments for the control of reach extent in a virtual environment.” Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation, 10(1), 27. doi:10.1186/1743-0003-10-27
  • Goh, H.-T., Sullivan, K. J., Gordon, J., Wulf, G., & Winstein, C. J. (2012). “Dual-task practice enhances motor learning: a preliminary investigation.” Experimental Brain Research. doi:10.1007/s00221-012-3206-5
  • Schweighofer, N., Choi, Y., Winstein, C., and Gordon J. (2012) “Task-based rehabilitation robotics. Special issue on Rehabilitation Robotics,” American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 91 (11), S270-S279.
  • Choi Y, Gordon J, Park , Schweighofer N. (2011) “Feasibility of the adaptive and automatic presentation of tasks (ADAPT) system for rehabilitation of upper extremity function poststroke.” Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 8:42-59.
  • Mulroy SJ, Thompson L, Kemp B, Hatchett P, Newsam CJ, Lupold D, Haubert L, Eberly V, Ge T-T, Azen SP, Winstein CJ, Gordon J; for the Physical Therapy Clinical Research Network (PTClinResNet). (2011) “Strengthening and Optimal Movements for Painful Shoulders (STOMPS) in chronic spinal cord injury: a randomized controlled trial.” Physical Therapy, 91:305–324
  • Winstein C, Pate P, Ge T, Ervin C, Baurley J, Sullivan KJ, Underwood SJ, Fowler EG, Mulroy S, Brown DA, Kulig K, Gordon J, Azen SP & Physical Therapy Clinical Research Network. (2008) “The Physical Therapy Clinical Research Network (PTClinResNet): Methods, efficacy and benefits of a rehabilitation research network.” American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 87:937-950.
  • Gordon, J., Ghilardi, M. F., & Ghez, C. (1995). “Impairments of reaching movements in patients without proprioception. I. Spatial errors.” Journal of Neurophysiology, 73, 347-360.
  • Ghez, C., Gordon, J., & Ghilardi, M. F. (1995). “Impairments of reaching movements in patients without proprioception II. Effects of visual information on accuracy.” Journal of Neurophysiology, 73, 361-372.
  • Gordon, J., Ghilardi, M. F., & Ghez, C. (1994). “Accuracy of planar reaching movements. I. Independence of direction and extent variability.” Experimental Brain Research, 99, 97-111
  • Gordon, J., Ghilardi, M. F., Cooper, S. E., & Ghez, C. (1994). “Accuracy of planar reaching movements. II. Systematic extent errors resulting from inertial anisotropy.” Experimental Brain Research, 99, 112-130
  • Ghez, C. and Gordon, J.(1987) “Trajectory control in targeted force impulses. I. Roles of opposing muscles.” Experimental Brain Research, 67, 225-240.
  • Gordon, J. and Ghez, C. (1987) “Trajectory control in targeted force impulses. II. Pulse height control.” Experimental Brain Research, 67, 241-252.
  • Gordon, J. and Ghez, C. (1987) Trajectory control in targeted force impulses. III. Compensatory adjustments for initial errors. Experimental Brain Research, 67, 253-269.


Selected Books and Book Chapters

  • Davenport TE, Kulig K, Sebelski CA, Gordon JG, Watts HG (eds.) ( 2012) Diagnosis in Physical Therapy: A Symptom-Based Approach. F.A. Davis: Philadelphia, PA, USA.
  • Quinn, L. & Gordon, J. (2010) Documentation for Rehabilitation: A Guide to Clinical Decision Making (2nd Edition). Saunders, Philadelphia.
  • Pearson, K & Gordon, J. (2013). “Spinal Reflexes.” In E.R. Kandel, J.H. Schwartz, T.M. Jessell S.A. Siegelbaum, & A.J. Hudspeth (Eds.), Principles of Neural Science, 5th edition. (pp. 790-811). New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Pearson, K & Gordon, J. (2013). “Locomotion.” In E.R. Kandel, J.H. Schwartz, T.M. Jessell S.A. Siegelbaum, & A.J. Hudspeth (Eds.), Principles of Neural Science, 5th edition. (pp. 812-834). New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Gordon, J. (2000). “Assumptions underlying physical therapy intervention: Theoretical and historical perspectives.” In J.H. Carr & R.B. Shepherd (Eds.) Movement science: Foundations for physical therapy in rehabilitation, 2nd edition. (pp. 1-31). Aspen Publishers, Rockville, MD.
  • Gordon, J. (1990). “Disorders of motor control.” In L. Ada & C. Canning (Eds.), Key Issues in Neurological Physiotherapy (pp. 25-50). London: Heinemann.


Selected Non-Peer Reviewed Articles

  • Gordon, J. (2014). 45th Mary McMillan Lecture: “If Greatness Is a Goal…. Physical Therapy,” 94(10), 1518–1530. doi:10.2522/ptj.2014.mcmillan.lecture
  • Gordon J (2011) “Excellence in Academic Physical Therapy: What Is It and How Do We Get There?” (Pauline Cerasoli Lecture) Journal of Physical Therapy Education, 25(3):8-13.
  • May, 2015 Honorary Degree (Doctor of Science) from SUNY, Health Science Center at Brooklyn
  • June, 2014 Mary McMillan Lecture Award, American Physical Therapy Association
  • April, 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
  • February, 2011 Pauline Cerasoli Lecturer, Education Section, American Physical Therapy Association
  • March, 2005 Elected, Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association (FAPTA)
  • June, 2002 Leadership in Education Award, Education Section, American Physical Therapy Association.
  • June, 1993 Margaret L. Moore Award for Outstanding New Faculty Member, American Physical Therapy Association