Dr. Irene Davis joins Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and Harvard Medical School

Dr. Irene Davis

BOSTON - Dr. Irene Davis, one of the foremost experts on the biomechanics of running, has joined the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network as the Director of the Spaulding National Running Center, and will hold a faculty position in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School. A renowned researcher and clinician, Dr. Davis is known in running communities as "The Barefoot Running Professor" for her advocacy and innovative work for barefoot and minimal footwear running.

"The high quality of Dr. Davis's clinical and research expertise speaks for itself. Having someone of her regard join our department further strengthens our goal of being a leader in the care and research into the biology of recovery and the prevention of injuries. Her expertise will not only serve to enrich the spectrum of care we can offer but will be a great resource to the dynamic running community that exists in our region," said Dr. Ross Zafonte, VP of Medical Affairs, Education and Research for the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Davis received her Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from the University of Massachusetts, and in Physical Therapy from the University of Florida. She earned her Master's degree in Biomechanics from the University of Virginia, and her PhD in Biomechanics from Pennsylvania State University. She previously served as professor in Physical Therapy and Director of Running Injury Lab at the University of Delaware, where she was recently honored with a Professor Emeritus appointment. In addition, she was the Director of Research for Drayer Physical Therapy Institute.

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Davis has established relationships between faulty mechanics and overuse injuries such as tibial stress fractures and patellofemoral disorders. This has led to the development of innovative interventions such as gait retraining, aimed at altering faulty running mechanics. She is interested in the mechanics of barefoot and minimal footwear running and is effect on injury rates, and is a barefoot runner herself. She has received funding from the Department of Defense, Army Research Office and National Institutes of Health to support her research related to stress fractures. She serves as a consultant for patients with lower extremity problems related to overuse.

Dr. Davis has given nearly 300 lectures both nationally and internationally and authored nearly 100 publications on the topic of lower extremity mechanics during running. She has been active professionally in the American Physical Therapy Association, the American Society of Biomechanics, and International Society of Biomechanics. She is also a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association and a Past-President of the American Society of Biomechanics. She has organized and coordinated national research retreats on topics of the foot and ankle, anterior cruciate ligament injuries and patellofemoral pain syndrome. She has been featured on ABC World News Tonight, Good Morning America, Discovery, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Parade and Time Magazine.

The Spaulding National Running Center being established by Dr. Davis will be based at the Spaulding Hospital Cambridge campus and will focus on the treatment and prevention of running-related, musculoskeletal injuries. The Center will be comprised of Running Injury Clinic, where runners will be evaluated and treated, the Running Research Laboratory, where running biomechanical studies will be conducted. For more information click here or call 617-573-2700.

About the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

A member of Partners Healthcare, The Spaulding Rehabilitation Network includes Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital its main campus, a 196-bed facility, located in Boston, as well as Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cape Cod, two long term care facilities Spaulding Hospital Cambridge and Spaulding Hospital North Shore and two skilled nursing facilities, as well as twenty-three outpatient sites throughout the Greater Boston area. Spaulding is a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School as well as the official rehabilitation hospital in New England continually ranked since 1995 by U.S. News and World Report in its Best Hospitals survey with a #4 ranking in 2010. For more information, please click here.

Media Contacts

For media inquiries, please contact the Spaulding Communications Department at (617) 952-5325 or by email