Deborah Backus PT, Ph.D., FACRM

Vice President of Research and Innovation

Deborah Backus, PT, Ph.D., FACRM, is the vice president of research and innovation. Dr. Backus is a grant-funded researcher, physical therapist and educator with more than 30 years of experience in the neurorehabilitation field, most recently as director of multiple sclerosis research at Shepherd Center. 

Dr. Backus started working at Shepherd Center in 1989 after earning a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from the Sargent College at Boston University. Wishing to learn more about how to improve patients' function, she left to pursue her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Emory University. She eventually returned to Atlanta in 2004 and rejoined Shepherd Center, this time as part of the spinal cord injury research team. 

In 2012, she became the director of multiple sclerosis research following the formation of the MS Rehabilitation and Wellness Research Program.  Since then, she has been instrumental in facilitating clinician involvement in research activities, translation of evidence into clinical practice and uptake of technology into clinical programs. She assumed her current role as vice president of research and innovation in March of 2021.

In her spare time, Dr. Backus loves to exercise, cook and spend time outside enjoying a glass of wine with family and friends.