University of Vermont

College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Lee Nelson

Lee Nelson, P.T., M.S., D.P.T.

D.P.T. Academic Coordinator for Clinical Education,
Clinical Professor of Rehabilitation and Movement Science

Lee NelsonOffice: 310J Rowell
Phone: (802) 656-2245

Dr. Lee Nelson has been a clinical faculty member at UVM since 1974 serving in various roles, but always combining academic and clinical service responsibilities. She is the Director of Clinical Education with responsibilities for management of a program that places students in supervised clinical education experiences throughout the country. Dr. Nelson teaches coursework in the curriculum related to various aspects of professional practice and the professional development of physical therapists, as well as content related to her clinical specialty.  

Dr. Nelson's clinical work since 1997 has primarily been in the area of swelling management, particularly for individuals with lymphedema. One specific research interest has been an outcome of this work and has focused on the evaluation and clinical management of lymphedema. Other scholarship interests include clinical education and ethics. She is a member of a national interdisciplinary ethics consortium called "Dreamcatchers" that was formed in 2003 under the guidance of Dr. Ruth Purtilo and Dr. Gail Jensen. Since then it has supported two conferences addressing leadership in ethics education for PTs and OTs.


D.P.T., Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions, 2002
M.S., Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions, 1984
B.S., Boston-Bouve College, Northeastern University, 1971

Selected Publications

Nelson L., Professional Responsibility and Advocacy for Access to Rehabilitation Services: A Case Study in Lymphedema Services in Vermont.  In: Educating For Moral Action: A Sourcebook In Health and Rehabilitation Ethics, edited by Ruth Purtilo, Gail Jensen and Charlotte Royeen.  F.A. Davis, Philadelphia. 2005.

Bosompra K., Ashikaga T., O’Brien P., Nelson L., Skelly J. Swelling, Numbness, Pain And Their Relationship to Arm Function Among Breast Cancer Survivors: A Disablement Process Model Perspective. Breast Journal. 2002; Nov-Dec;8(6):338-48. (Abstract)

Bosompra K., Ashikaga T., O’Brien P., Nelson L., Skelly J., Beatty, D.  Knowledge About Preventing and Managing Lymphedema: A Survey of Recently Diagnosed and Treated Breast Cancer Patients.  Patient Education and Counseling. 2002; 47: 155-163. (Abstract)

Ashikaga T., Bosompra K., O’Brien P., Nelson L. Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by Breast Cancer Patients: Prevalence, Patterns and Communication with Physicians. Support Care Cancer. 2002;10:542-548. (Abstract)

Nelson L., O’Brien P., Ashikaga T., Bosompra K. Education About Lymphedema Prevention and Management: A Needs Assessment of Breast Cancer Survivors in a Rural U.S. State. International Quarterly of Community Health Education: A Journal of Policy and Applied Research. 1999-2000; 19(3): 229-239.

Selected Scholarly Activities and Presentations

Gardner G., Dittus K., Watts R., Nelson L., O'Brien P., Quantitative and Morphologic Change associated with breast cancer related lymphedema - Comparison of 3T MRI to external measures. Poster Presentation. Northern New England Clinical Oncology Society (NNECOS) 2013 Annual Meeting. Stowe, VT. October 25, 2013.

Nelson L., Applebaum D., Palaima M., Academic and Clinical Collaboration to Manage Challenges in Clinical Education. 2 hr. Educational Presentation at APTA Combined Sections Meeting. San Diego, CA. January 23, 2013.

Gardner G., Dittus K., Watts R., Nelson L., O'Brien P., Quantitative and Morphologic Change associated with breast cancer related lymphedema - Comparison of 3T MRI to external measures. Poster session of the Vermont Cancer Center Clinical and Translational Research Symposium: Exercise, Nutritional, and Cancer, Burlington, VT, November 2012.

Wetherbee E. (presenter), Kaufman R., McSorley O., Pelletier D., Nelson L., Palaima M., Applebaum D. Focus Group Discussions: Meeting the Challenges of Contemporary Clinical Practice and Clinical Education - Research Platform presentation. APTA/Academic Council Educational Leadership Meeting (ELC): Research Platform presentation. Greenwich, CT. October 5, 2012.

Evaluation and treatment of recalcitrant, painful lymphedema following treatment for breast cancer with traditional methods and MRI (Tesla 3): A Case Study. Nelson L. O'Brien P. Co-Authored with Dr. Patricia O'Brien. Northern New England Clinical Oncology Society (NNECOS) 2010 Annual Meeting. Poster Presentation: Stowe, Vermont. October 29-30, 2010.

APTA Combined Sections Meeting Pre-Conference. Co-Presenter with Denise Wise: Promoting Moral Agency in the Clinical Education Setting - Linking Didactic and Clinical Education Curricula; a session in a daylong conference entitled "Teaching Ethics and Professionalism in Rehabilitation: An Inter-professional Workshop". February 17, 2010.

Invited participant: Leadership Institute in Ethics Education for OT and PT Educators-Dreamcatchers 2: Revitalizing Ethics in Rehabilitation. Held at Ithaca College, Rochester, NY; April 24-27, 2008. Coordinated by Ernie Nalette, Gail Jensen, Dolly Swisher. Guest consultants: Robert Nash, Joseph Allegretti, Mattie Schmidt, Ruth Purtilo.

Invited member of the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) National Committee on Development of a Continuing Competence Model. Feb. 2008-present.

Invited member of APTA Task Force for revision of the Ethics Core Documents; headed by Joe Black. Alexandria, VA; September 2007; Outcome is a new Code of Ethics, effective in 2010.

APTA Combined Sections Meeting Platform Presentation: "Strengthening Clinical Education Instruction and Supervision through Use of Educational Technology and Faculty Mentoring", Boston, MA. February 2007.

APTA Combined Sections Meeting Poster Presentation, "Development of Physical Therapy Clinical Assessment Tools for Examination of Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema: A Pilot Study". San Diego, CA. February 2006.

Professional Affiliations

Physical Therapy Practice, Vermont Secretary of State's Office of Professional Regulation, past Advisor
APTA's Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapist Education, Site Visitor and past Commissioner
APTA Task Force Member on the revision of the Ethics Core Documents
Federation of State Boards Continuing Competence Committee, past Chairperson

Last modified January 09 2014 01:21 PM