Academy of Research

Virgil Mathiowetz, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA 


Dr. Mathiowetz  is Associate Professor in the Program in Occupational Therapy, Center for Allied Health Programs, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Retrieved on July13, 2015 from  His research interests include fatigue management in chronic conditions, multiple sclerosis, task-oriented approach to CNS dysfunction, stroke, functional outcomes, motor control  and motor learning, assessment of hand strength, dexterity, and hand function (Retrieved on July 13, 2015 from  

As of November 2018, Dr. Mathiowetz is co-investigator and site coordinator on a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) research study entitled "Comparing the Effectiveness of Fatigue Management Programs for People with MS".  The study's PI is his former doctoral student, Matt Plow, PhD, of Case Western Reserve University. The purpose of the $4.8 million study is to compare the effect of three modes of delivering the Managing Fatigue course—two telerehabilitation formats (teleconference or internet) and one traditional format (one-on-one, in person) used in clinical practice—on outcomes important to people with MS (ie fatigue and its impact on physical, mental, and social function).  The study will conduct a multicentered randomized clinical trial using a pragmatic design among 610 participants with MS. UMN site will be responsible for collecting outcome data from about 200 participants and will deliver the one-to-one, in-person format. The two telerehabilitation formats will be delivered remotely. This project hopes to fill an important gap in the understanding of MS treatment.  




Q and A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.

Persistent, Focused, Committed.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?

I hope to improve the quality of care for the clients that we serve by improving the quality of OT assessments and interventions. 

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?

Find a strong mentor.

Beside your own areas of inquiry, what is one research priority that you believe is important for the future of occupational science and occupational therapy?

PCORI emphasis on comparative effectiveness studies.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.  

Mentors have both challenged and supported me in exploring research ideas and methodologies.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work. 

I enjoy racquetball as an enjoyable aerobic exercise and an opportunity to be competitive with persons much younger than me!

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?

The most surprising aspect has been the fact that so many people have cited my early research on the measurement of grip and pinch strength. The most rewarding aspect has been the fact that my research has helped change OT assessments and interventions for the better! I believe that it has improved the quality of care that we provide to our clients. In addition, the opportunity to mentor future researchers and academicians has been very rewarding. 



Mathiowetz, V, Yu CH & Quake-Rapp, C.  (2015 Apr 22). Comparison of a gross anatomy laboratory to online anatomy software for teaching anatomy. Anatomical sciences education, doi: 10.1002/ase.1528. [Epub ahead of print]. 

Yu CH & Mathiowetz V.  (2014). Systematic review of occupational therapy-related interventions for people with multiple sclerosis: part 1. Activity and participation. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, 27-32.  

Yu, CH &  Mathiowetz, V.  (2014). Systematic review of occupational therapy-relatedinterventions for people with multiple sclerosis: part 2. Impairment. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, 33-38.   


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