Kira Battle

Ultimately, our long-term goal is to use these efforts as a foundation in partnership to address patients’ rehabilitative needs across the care continuum.


Doctor of Physical Therapy

Project Team

My main career aspiration is to further the international exchange of physical therapy practices through research and collaboration in order to increase access and quality of care globally. My interest is in post-crisis regions, where the hospital-to-home transition will naturally play a large role in recovery. To work in this area I think it is vital to appreciate the variability in health care access, practice and management across cultures and health care models. Lastly, I value and am excited to be part of an ever-growing collaboration of Duke Doctor of Physical Therapy students with other programs at Duke and abroad.

After participating in the 2016-17 GANDHI team, she received a Bass Connections Follow-on Student Research Award to establish a baseline understanding of the rehabilitation services provided at Mulago National Referral Hospital.

As part of Duke Global Neurosurgery and Neuroscience’s effort to integrate physical rehabilitation into its mission, we have partnered with the Physical Therapy Department of Mulago National Referral Hospital in Kampala, Uganda to conduct research that promotes early mobilization of patients with traumatic brain injury in the acute care setting.  

Not only does early mobilization allow us to begin addressing patient needs near the beginning of the care continuum, but it has been shown to improve functional outcomes in this population.

Our first step is taking a multifaceted approach to understanding baseline practice at the Neurosurgical Ward of the Mulago National Referral Hospital.

First, we are utilizing behavioral mapping to systematically track physical activity patterns of patients. This data will measure the amount, location, time and type of physical activity undertaken by the patient, as well the persons present at bedside with the patient throughout the day. At the same time, this data will quantify the effect of severity of condition and length of ward stay on physical activity levels and intensity. Describing these patterns will contribute to an initial assessment of current physical behavior over space and time.

Secondly, we are incorporating interviews with healthcare staff in the ward to evaluate perceptions of physical activity in critically-ill patients, which will highlight opportunities for education and facilitation of early mobilization.

Finally, while completing this study, we are also spending time alongside physical therapists in the ward to observe and participate in treatment sessions. This one-on-one time provides critical lessons on current daily practice and will promote vital relationships for in-country collaboration.

Once knowledge on current practice is established, our next steps are to develop and test interventions that will assist in the implementation of early mobilization in the ward. Ultimately, our long-term goal is to use these efforts as a foundation in partnership to address patients’ rehabilitative needs across the care continuum.