Associate Professor

My research focuses on promotion of healthy behaviors to prevent functional loss in people aging with chronic disease and fall risk. My current research agenda includes testing interventions to support physical activity and exercise participation among people aging with cancer and osteoarthritis, and examining factors associated with fall risk in older adults. The breadth of my scholarship activity is a reflection of more than 25 years of clinical experience as a physical therapist in addition to the education and training I’ve received in public health and exercise science. My research has the broad aim of supporting healthy aging for people with disability and chronic disease with a particular focus on environmental and technological influences on physical activity, exercise adherence, and fall prevention.

Research and/or Creative Works

Current Projects

  • Associations between Nutrition, Rurality, and Falls among Community-Dwelling Older Adults
  • Exercise interests and preferences among people living with Multiple Myeloma
  • CDC Exploratory Research Project: Tele-Exercise for Rural Older Adults with Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Fall Prevention for Homebound Older Adults Facilitated by Lay Coaches and Using Gamified Exercise


Recent Publications in Peer Reviewed Journals

*indicates mentored students

  • Gell NM, *Brown H, *Karlsson L, Peters D, Mroz T. 2020. Bathroom Modifications, Clutter, and Tripping Hazards: Prevalence and Changes after Incident Falls in Community-Dwelling Older Adults. Journal of Aging and Health. Epub ahead of print. Link
  • Gell NM, Grover K, *Savard L, Dittus K. 2020. Outcomes of a text message, Fitbit, & coaching intervention on physical activity maintenance among cancer survivors: A randomized control pilot trial. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 14(1), 80-88. Link
  • Gell NM, *Tursi A, Grover K, Dittus K. 2019. Female Cancer Survivor Perspectives on Remote Intervention Components to Support Physical Activity Maintenance. Supportive Care in Cancer. Available online 17 August 2019. Link
  • Choi NG, Gell NM, DiNitto DM, Marti CN, Kunik ME. 2019. Depression and Activity-limiting Fall Worry Among Older Adults:  Longitudinal Reciprocal Relationships. International Psychogeriatrics. Available online 18 July 2019. Link
  • *Karlsson L, *Doe K, *Gerry M, *Moore B, *Wingood M, Renfro M, Gell NM. 2019. Outcomes of a Physical-Therapist-Led, Statewide, Community-Based Fall Risk Screening. Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy. Available online 15 March 2019. Link
  • Patel KV, Guralnik JM, Phelan EA, Gell NM, Wallace RB, Sullivan MD, Turk DC. 2018. Symptom Burden among Community-Dwelling Older Adults in the United States. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2019:67(2): 223-231. Link
  • Gell NM, Patel KV. 2019. Rehabilitation Services Use of Older Adults According to Fall-Risk Screening Guidelines. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2019;67(1):100-107. Link.
  • *Garrand K, Pechak C, *Jimenez L, Gell NM. 2018. Survey of Disability Competence Teaching and Assessment Strategies in Physical Therapist Education. Journal of Physical Therapy Education. 32(1): 55-64. Link
  • Gell NM, Mroz T, Patel KV. 2017. Rehabilitation Services Use and Patient Reported Outcomes among Older Adults in the United States. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 98(11):2221-2227. Link
  • Gell NM, Grover KW, *Humble M, *Sexton M, Dittus K. 2017. Efficacy, feasibility, and acceptability of a novel technology-based intervention to support physical activity in cancer survivors. Supportive Care in Cancer 25(4):1291-1300. Link

Read more in Google Scholar Citations and Pubmed Bibliography.

Nancy Gell

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Exercise and physical activity adherence, influence of environment and technology on physical activity behavior, strategies for healthy aging


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Group Health Research Institute; Seattle, WA
  • Ph.D., Exercise Science; Auburn University
  • M.P.H., Public Health; University of Michigan
  • B.S., Physical Therapy; Northwestern University


  • 802-656-9265
Office Location:

306B Rowell Hall

Courses Taught

  • EXSC 303 - Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Epidemiology
  • EXSC 354 - Physical Activity and Wellness Promotion
  • EXSC 370 - Communication and Evaluation in Physical Activity Programming
  • DPT 404 - Health Promotion and Disease Prevention