Lorie Gage Richards, PhD portrait
  • Chair, Occupational & Recreational Therapies
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Physical Therapy & Athletic Training
  • Associate Professor, Occupational & Recreational Therapies

Research Summary

My research has focused on developing/refining motor rehabilitation based on principles of neuroplasticity and motor learning for persons with stroke; most of my work consists of clinical trials of such interventions, using clinical assessments and kinematic analysis to measure changes in arm/hand function and TMS and fMRI to measure neural changes and to predict response to therapy. New interests include other populations with motor impairments and cognitive and visual rehabilitation.


  • PhD, Psychology, Syracuse University
  • MS, Psychology, Syracuse University
  • BS, Occupational Therapy, Elizabethtown College


I began my career by earning a BS in Occupational Therapy from Elizabethtown College. I then worked as a clinical therapist for 3 years before deciding that I did not know enough and returned to school. I completed an MS and PhD in Experimental Psychology from Syracuse University, with an emphasis in cognitive neuropsychology. My first faculty position was at the University of Kansas Medical Center where I was first introduced to clinical research, having the great fortune to participate in a Claude D. Pepper grant emphasizing rehabilitation after stroke, and learning how to teach at the university level. I subsequently joined the faculty at the University of Florida and became a Research Health Scientist with the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center, where I continued to develop my expertise in clinical trials in stroke rehabilitation. I moved to the University of Utah in 2011 to be the Chair of the Division of Occupational Therapy.  I am enjoying the challenging nature of being a Chair at a research intensive university that also prides itself on excellence in education.  

Other occupations

Occupational therapists believe in a balance of work, rest and play and that there are other occupations besides employment that contribute to health and quality of life.  When I'm not at the University, I spend my time with my family (husband: Tom and children: Alia and Ian). The children are now young adults and I enjoy watching them make decisions about their lives and maturing into wonderful, productive adults. My furry childred, cats Dracula, Pourris, and Kuomi, also keep me busy.  I am an avid knitter and meet with several knitting groups thoughout the week.  My husband and I like to camp and hike and are loving the opportunities to do that in Utah!  I've recently joined a Spanish-language and a French-language groups to brush up on skills with those languages.  In between those activities, you'll probably find me with my nose in a novel.  I like any good people stories, but my favorite genres are fantasy and historical fiction.