Associate Professor with Tenure

As a physical therapist with an MPH in health behavior and education and a PhD in exercise science, Dr. Gell's main research interest is the promotion and support of healthy behaviors to manage chronic conditions and prevent functional loss. Her research incorporates objective measurement of physical activity and sedentary behavior, analysis of accelerometer data and GPS data, and emerging technologies to deliver physical activity interventions. Most recently, Dr. Gell's research focus has expanded to apply these methods to reduce sedentary behavior and increase physical activity adherence in working women and older adults with chronic conditions and mobility impairments, in order to develop innovative and accessible strategies to improve adherence among those with lower rates of physical activity.


  • Gell, N., Mroz, Y., Patel, K. 2017. Rehabilitation Services Use and Patient Reported Outcomes among Older Adults in the United States. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. Available online April 2017.
  • Garrand, K., Pechak, C., Jimenez, L., Gell, N. 2017. Survey of Disability Competence Teaching and Assessment Strategies in Physical Therapist Education. In press: Journal of Physical Therapy Education.
  • Gell, N., 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.
  • Eisenberg, Y., Bouldin, ED., Gell, N., Rosenberg, D. (2017). Planning Walking Environments For People With Disabilities And Older Adults. In C.Mulley, K. Gebel, & M. Ding (Eds.), Walking: Connecting Sustainable Transport With Health.
  • Gell N, Wallace R, LaCroix AZ, Mroz T, Patel KV. Mobility device use in older adults and associations with falls and fear of falling: Findings from the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2015: 63(5):853-859.
  • Rosenberg DE, Gell N, Jones SMW, Renz A, Kerr J, Gardiner P, Arterburn D. The feasibility of reducing sitting time in overweight and obese older adults. Health Educ Behav. 2015: epub ahead of print.
  • Gell N, Rosenberg D, Carlson J, Kerr J, Belza B. Built environment attributes related to GPS measured active trips in mid-life and older adults with mobility disabilities. Disability and Health Journal. 2015:8(2): 290-295.
  • Jones SW, Amtmann DA, Gell N. Psychometric examination of multimorbidity and mental health in older adults. Aging and Mental Health. Epub 12 Feb 2015; doi:    10.1080/13607863.2015.1008988
  • Gell N, Wadsworth D. The Use of Text Messaging to Promote Physical Activity in Working Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Physical Activity and Public Health. 2015:12(6):756-763.
  • Gell N, Wadsworth DD. 2014. How do they do it: Working women meeting physical activity recommendations. American Journal of Health Behavior 38(2):208-217.
  • Gell N, Rosenberg D, Demerios G., LaCroix A, Patel K. 2013. Patterns of technology use among older adults with and without disabilities. The Gerontologist doi: 10.1093/geront/gnt166.

Awards and Recognition

Grant Activity

Mobile Technology to Extend the Reach of Physical Therapist Exercise Prescription for Individuals with Osteoarthritis. Gell (PI). Center for Aging University of Vermont. The goal of this project is to assess the effectiveness of mobile technology to support physical therapy home exercise adherence for people with hip and knee osteoarthritis.

Mobile technology to support physical therapy exercise for people with arthritis: A Qualitative Study. Gell (PI). The goal of this project is to explore barriers and preferences for adults with OA and physical therapists for use of mobile technology applications to support PT exercises. The University of Vermont Extra Promotion of Research and Scholarly Success Grant.

Health Coaching for Rural Cancer Survivors. Dittus (PI) Gell (Co-I). The goal of this project is to test the feasibility of a phone-delivered health coaching intervention for physical activity, nutrition, and stress management to rural breast cancer survivors. Victoria Buffum Endowment Fund.

Bemobile: Text messaging to support physical activity in cancer survivors. Gell (PI). The goal of this project is to test the feasibility of an intervention to support exercise adherence in cancer survivors after discharge from oncology rehabilitation. The University of Vermont Vice President for Research REACH Grant.

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

  • PT 303 - Health Promotion for Physical Therapists
  • PT 330 - Psychosocial Aspects of Disability and Health
  • PT 428 - Research Project