Associate Professor, Exercise Science Program Director

Dr. Susan Kasser’s teaching and research within the Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Science centers around physical activity and exercise in clinical populations. Her scholarship focuses on identifying the underlying mechanisms of postural dyscontrol in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and evaluating exercise-based interventions aimed at mitigating balance impairment and reducing falls in those with the disease. Dr. Kasser also has extensive clinical experience. For the past 23 years, she has directed MS IDEAL, a campus-based fall prevention program offering tailored exercise and balance training for people with MS

Research and/or Creative Works

Grants
  • Research Incentive Grant, CNHS University of Vermont, 2012-2013. Effects of functionally-based sensori-motor exercise on strength, balance, mobility, and physical activity in adults with multiple sclerosis. Role: PI.
  • Research Incentive Grant. CNHS University of Vermont, 2009-2010. Effects of cognitive-motor dual-tasking on postural control in adults with multiple sclerosis. Role: PI.
  • Research Incentive Grant, CNHS University of Vermont, 2008-2009. Health beliefs, intention and exercise behavior in multiple sclerosis. Role: PI. 
  • Research Incentive Grant, CNHS University of Vermont, 2008-2009. Psychological health, falls and physical activity in adults with multiple sclerosis. Role: PI.
Mentored Research Activities
  • Honor's College Thesis, University of Vermont, Caroline Pisinski 2015-present. Cognitive Motor Interference During Balance and Gait Activities in Individuals with MS.
  • Faculty Mentor, Victoria Wood, 2013-2016. Understanding resilience in multiple sclerosis: implications of falls and mobility impairment.
  • Faculty Mentor, Avery Marcus and Laurel Cole, 2013-2016. Effect of an acute bout of exercise on the durability of balance, mobility, and affect in adults with multiple sclerosis.
  • CNHS Research Incentive Grant/Faculty Mentor, Amanda Goldstein, 2011-2013. Symptom variability, affect, and function in ambulatory persons with multiple sclerosis: understanding patterns and time-bound relationships.
  • Faculty Mentor, Parminder Padgett, 2009-2011. Reliability of the Balance Evaluation Systems Test (BESTest) for people with balance impairment.
  • Honor’s College Thesis, University of Vermont, Kelly Groll, 2011-2012. Disease-related and cognitive-behavioral factors associated with physical activity in adults with multiple sclerosis.
  • URECA/Faculty Mentoring grant, University of Vermont, Kristen LeClerc, 2011-2012. Relationship among balance, stress, coping and physical activity in adults with multiple sclerosis.
  • URECA/Faculty Mentoring grant, University of Vermont, Amy Steadman, 2009-2010. Fear of falling, balance, and physical activity levels in adults with Multiple Sclerosis.

Publications

  • Stoeckel, K, Kasser SL. Spousal support underlying self-determined physical activity in adults with multiple sclerosis. [published online ahead of print, 2020, Jul 15]. Dis Rehabil.
  • Kasser SL, Zia A. The mediating role of resilience on quality of life in individuals with multiple sclerosis: a structural equation modeling approach. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2020,
  • Kasser SL, Jacobs JV, Sibold J, Marcus A, Cole L. Employing body-worn sensors to detect changes in balance and mobility after acute aerobic exercise in adults with multiple sclerosis. International Journal of MS Care. 2020;22(1):1-6.
  • Wood V, Kasser SL. Spousal support and self-determined physical activity in individuals with multiple sclerosis: a theory-informed qualitative exploration. Disability and Health Journal. 2020; 13(1):10835.
  • Kasser SL, Kosma M. Social Cognitive Factors, Physical Activity, and Mobility Impairment in Adults with Multiple Sclerosis. Behavioral Medicine 2018, 44(4):306-313.
  • Kasser SL, Goldstein A, Wood PK, Sibold J. Symptom variability, affect and physical activity in ambulatory persons with multiple sclerosis: understanding patterns and time-bound relationships. Disability and Health Journal. 2016; 1-7.
  • Kasser SL, Jacobs JV, Ford M, Tourville TW. Effects of balance-specific exercises on balance, physical activity, and quality of life in adults with multiple sclerosis. Disability and Rehabilitation 2015, DOI: 10.3109/09638288.2015.1019008
  • Kasser SL, Jacobs JV. Understanding and treating balance impairment in multiple sclerosis. JCOM 2014;21(9):419-431.
  • Kasser SL, Jacobs JV, Littenberg B, Foley JT, Cardinal BJ, Maddalozzo GF. Exploring physical activity in women with multiple sclerosis: associations with fear of falling and underlying impairments. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2014;93:461-469. PMID: 24398582.
  • Padgett P, Kasser SL. Exercise for managing the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Phys Ther J 2013;93:723-728.
  • Kasser SL, Rizzo T. An exploratory study of fitness practitioner intentions toward fitness programming for individuals with multiple sclerosis. Disabil Health J 2013;6:188-194. PMID: 23769477.
  • Kasser SL, Lytle RK. Inclusive physical activity: promoting health for a lifetime (2nd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2013.
  • Padgett PK, Jacobs JV, Kasser SL. Is the BESTest at its best? A suggested brief version based on inter-rater reliability, validity, internal consistency, and theoretical construct. Phys Ther J 2013;92(9):1197-1207.
  • Kasser SL, Kosma M. Health beliefs and physical activity behavior in adults with multiple sclerosis. Disabil Health J 2012;5(4):261-268.
  • Jacobs JV, Kasser SL. Balance impairment in people with multiple sclerosis: Preliminary evidence for the Balance Evaluation Systems Test. Gait Posture 2012;36(3):414-8.
  • Jacobs JV, Kasser SL. Effects of dual tasking on the postural performance of people with and without multiple sclerosis: a pilot study. J Neurol 2011;259(6):1166-1176. (Abstract)
  • Kasser SL, Jacobs JV, Foley JT, Cardinal BJ, Maddalozzo GF. A prospective evaluation of balance, gait, and strength to predict falling in women with multiple sclerosis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2011;92:1840-6. (Abstract)
  • Kasser SL. (2009). Exercising with multiple sclerosis: insights into meaning and motivation. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly 2009;26(3):274-289. (Abstract)
  • Kasser SL, Lytle R. Inclusive physical activity across the lifespan. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers, 2005.
  • Kasser SL, McCubbin JA, Hooker K. Variability in constraints and functional competence in adults with multiple sclerosis. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2003;82(7):517-525. (Abstract)
  • Kasser SL, Stuart ME. Psychological well-being and exercise behavior in adults with and without multiple sclerosis. Clin Kines 2001;55(4):81-86.

Associations and Affiliations

  • North American Federation of Adapted Physical Activity
  • Multiple Sclerosis Consortium
Susan Kasser, Ph.D.

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Areas of Expertise

  • Postural control and fall risk in adults with multiple sclerosis
  • Physical and psychological outcomes of exercise for individuals with multiple sclerosis
  • Physical activity and health in people with multiple sclerosis

Grants

  •  UVM Undergraduate Research Fellowship (Kaley Ahern), 2018. Computer-based cognitive training on balance and mobility in adults with multiple sclerosis. Role: Faculty Mentor.
  • Research Incentive Grant, CNHS University of Vermont, 2017-2018. Cortical involvement and cognitive motor interference during walking in individuals with multiple sclerosis. Role: PI (Co-I M. Cannizzaro).
  • Research Incentive Grant, CNHS University of Vermont, 2012-2013. Effects of functionally-based sensori-motor exercise on strength, balance, mobility, and physical activity in adults with multiple sclerosis. Role: PI.
  • Research Incentive Grant. CNHS University of Vermont, 2009-2010. Effects of cognitive-motor dual-tasking on postural control in adults with multiple sclerosis. Role: PI.
  • Research Incentive Grant, CNHS University of Vermont, 2008-2009. Health beliefs, intention and exercise behavior in multiple sclerosis. Role: PI.
  • Research Incentive Grant, CNHS University of Vermont, 2008-2009. Psychological health, falls and physical activity in adults with multiple sclerosis. Role: PI.

Mentored Research Activities

  • Kaley Ahern. Computer-based cognitive training on balance and mobility in individuals with multiple sclerosis. UVM Exercise Science Undergraduate, Spring 2017 – 2018.
  • Narissa McCarty, Samantha Sayer. Self-determination and exercise regulation in adults with multiple sclerosis. UVM Exercise Science Undergraduates, Fall 2018 – 2019.
  • Brittany Belanger. Cortical involvement and cognitive motor interference during walking in individuals with multiple sclerosis. UVM Neuroscience Undergraduate, Spring 2017 – 2019.
  • Kyle Hinsdale, Casey Little, Kaley Ahern. Cognitive-motor interference and axial loading during balance and gait in individuals with multiple sclerosis. UVM Exercise Science Undergraduates, 2017–2019.
  • Kurtis Stoeckel. Contribution of spousal support to self-determined physical activity in individuals with multiple sclerosis. UVM Exercise Science Undergraduate, 2017-2019.
  • Fiona Larsen. The relationship of mindfulness, resilience, and physical activity in people with multiple sclerosis. UVM Exercise Science Undergraduate, 2016 – 2017.
  • Sierra Martin. Understanding resilience in multiple sclerosis: implications of falls and mobility impairment. UVM Exercise Science Undergraduate, 2016 – 2018.
  • Caroline Pisinski. Cognitive Motor Interference During Balance and Gait Activities in Individuals with MS. 2017.
  • Victoria Wood,. Understanding resilience in multiple sclerosis: implications of falls and mobility impairment. 2013-2016
  • Avery Marcus and Laurel Cole,. Effect of an acute bout of exercise on the durability of balance, mobility, and affect in adults with multiple sclerosis. 2013-2016.
  • Amanda Goldstein,. Symptom variability, affect, and function in ambulatory persons with multiple sclerosis: understanding patterns and time-bound relationships. 2011-201

Education

  • Ph.D.; Oregon State University
  • M.S.; University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
  • B.S.; University of New Hampshire

Contact

Phone:
  • 802-656-7742
Office Location:

306D Rowell Hall

Courses Taught

  • EXMS 150 - Introduction to Exercise Science
  • EXMS 260 - Adapted Physical Activity
  • EXMS 263 - Exercise Prescription for Special Populations