KU Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science
In addition to teaching in the physical therapy and rehabilitation science doctoral programs as an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, Sandra Billinger, PT, PhD, FAHA, also has a joint appointment in the School of Medicine in the Department of Neurology and in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at KU Medical Center. She is the course director of PTRS 826 Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy and is a Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist through the American College of Sports Medicine.
Billinger has practiced as a physical therapist since 2004 in the areas of cardiopulmonary and neurological rehabilitation. She has delivered numerous lectures related to exercise testing and interventions in the stroke population, and she currently serves as director of the REACH Laboratory.
Billinger was appointed the school's interim associate dean for research in July 2016 and served in that role until September 2017.
Activities at the state and national levels include serving as current chair of the Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery Committee and as a member of the Stroke Council, both of the American Heart Association. She was lead author for the 2014 American Heart/Stroke Association Physical Activity and Exercise Recommendations for Stroke Survivors, and received AHA fellowship status in 2004.
Billinger is also contributing member of the American Physical Therapy Association. She served on the research committee of the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary section, was the lead person for the nominating committee of the Neurology Section and is an editorial board member of the Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy.
At KU Medical Center, Billinger leads the Physical Activity Work Group for the A Healthy U initiative. Billinger has received the Golden Synapse Award (2012) for Best Manuscript published in the Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy, the Early Career Achievement in the School of Health Professions Alumna Award (2013) and the Margaret L. Moore Award for Outstanding New Academic Faculty Member from the American Physical Therapy Association (2014).
Billinger earned a Bachelor of Science in physical education with a minor in gerontology from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan., in 2002. She received her Master of Science in physical therapy in 2004 and her PhD in Rehabilitation Science in 2008 from the University of Kansas. Billinger continues her work at the KU Medical Center as faculty member in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science.
Billinger's research interests are aimed at examining the cardiovascular and pulmonary changes that occur in people with chronic disease specifically after stroke. She is interested in understanding the cellular mechanisms that influence vascular function after stroke and how exercise, as a therapeutic intervention may affect vascular health.
Lab Group Site
The overall goal of the REACH laboratory is to understand the cardiovascular and pulmonary adaptations to chronic disease (heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and cancer).
Sandra A. Billinger, PT, PhD, FAHA
913-945-6685 (office), 913-945-6630 (lab)