Petra Williams, PT, PhD, NCS

Petra Williams Assistant Professor
Northern Arizona University
Physical Therapy, Flagstaff Campus
Phone: 928-523-7434

Petra Williams PT PhD
Board Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist
Assistant Professor
Flagstaff Campus

Phone: 928-523-7434

Professional Interests

Dr. Williams is a neurorehabilitation physical therapist and in clinical practice since 1994 working with adults after brain injury and spinal cord injury.  Her research interests include movement training/re-training strategies that enhance human performance and functional change and the task specificity of neural adaptations associated with different training and exercise approaches.  Dr. Williams is passionate about teaching and using evidence-based strategies to enhance student success and learning in the classroom and clinic. Dr. Williams has been a full-time physical therapy educator since 2005 and joined the NAU faculty in 2013.  When not at NAU, Dr. Williams is a Level III classifier for the United States Quadriplegic Rugby Association and also enjoys long-distance backpacking with her husband Eric in Grand Canyon and along the Appalachian Trail.

Education and Certifications

Doctor of Philosophy, Biological Sciences, Comparative and Exercise Physiology Program with an emphasis in Neuromuscular Physiology, Ohio University, 2013

Certified Clinical Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy, American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties 2006-2016

Master of Science, Neurological Rehabilitation, Ohio State University, 2002

Certificate in Physical Therapy, Ohio State University, 1994

Bachelor of Arts, History and Literature of Religions, Northwestern University, 1991

Teaching Areas / Courses Taught

PT 550   Pathophysiology Basis of Physical Therapy Practice

PT 560   Neurosciences

PT 511   Normal Human Gait: Observational Movement Analysis

PT 611   Abnormal Gait: Observational Movement Analysis

PT 601   Integrated Clinical Education

PT 635   Neurophysiologic Therapeutics I

PT 636   Neurophysiologic Therapeutics II

Select Publications / Professional Presentations

Carter VA, Wing KT, Gatewood KK, Williams PS.  The value of physical therapist directed intensive whole body rehabilitation for patients with moderate to severe hemiparesis after stroke: a retrospective case series.  Accepted poster IVSTEP conference July 2016.

Williams PS, Hoffman RL, Clark BC. Cortical and spinal mechanisms of task failure of sustained submaximal fatiguing contractions. PLoS One. 2014 Mar 25;9(3):e93284. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093284. 

Williams PS, Hoffman RL, Clark BC. Preliminary evidence that anodal transcranial direct current stimulation enhances time to task failure of a sustained submaximal contraction. PLoS One. 2013 Dec 9;8(12):e81418. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081418.

Clark BC, Manini TM, Kushnick MR, Williams PS, Hoffman RL. Blood flow restricted resistance exercise training with low-mechanical loads: A novel rehabilitation strategy to promote muscle growth and strength.  Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. 2011; 21(5):653-62.

Williams PS, Clark BC. Electromyography in the 21st century: from voluntary signals to motor evoked potentials.  IN: Biomechanics Principles, Trends, and Applications. Ed. Levy JH. Nova Science 2009.

Williams PS, Basso DM, Case-Smith J, Nichols-Larsen DS. Development of the Hand Active Sensation Test: Reliability and Validity. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2006;87:1471-7.