Amy Pastva, PT, MA, PhD

Amy Pastva Updated Head Shot
Director of PT Research; Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery, Core Faculty
Interprofessional Education and Care Building (IPE)

Dr. Pastva is a Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Medicine, Population Health Sciences, and Cell Biology at Duke University, is faculty in the Duke Clinical Research Institute, Musculoskeletal Therapeutic Area, and serves as Director of Research in the Physical Therapy Division. She is also a Senior Fellow in the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, a Duke Pepper Older American Independence Center (OAIC) Scholar, and Co-Lead of the Health and Mobility Measures Core of the Duke Pepper OAIC. She serves on the Research Committee of the Academy of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy and on the Editorial Board of the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Journal. With expertise in physical rehabilitation, exercise physiology, and cellular and molecular physiology, she understands bodily processes at the functional level, organ physiological level, and cellular and molecular level; this skill set is vital to leading or collaborating on projects that involve physical activity and exercise interventions, especially for medically complex and/or older adults with serious illness such as heart failure, stroke, respiratory failure, and cancer, and for translating relationships among biophysiological data and functional performance outcomes. Dr. Pastva’s research dossier includes pragmatic and explanatory multisite clinical trials funded by international federal grants, the National Institutes of Health, and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Dr. Pastva is also interested in the use of simulation and team-based learning principles in physical therapy and interprofessional curricula.


  • 1991 B.S. Physical Therapy, University of Scranton, Scranton, PA
  • 1994 M.A. Applied Physiology, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
  • 1998-2000 Doctoral Student, Applied Physiology Teachers College, Columbia University
  • 2004 Ph.D. Program, Cellular and Molecular Physiology, University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB)
  • 2004-2006 Post-doctoral Fellowship, Department of Cell Biology, Duke University Durham, NC


  • Expertise in management of geriatric patients with disorders of the cardiovascular and/or pulmonary systems.
  • Steering Committee and Mentor, DUHS Cardiovascular and Pulmonary PT Residency Program.


Dr. Pastva bridges her expertise in physical therapy and physiology to investigate physical rehabilitation strategies for optimizing the health and function of individuals living with chronic cardiovascular and/or pulmonary diseases and/or surviving critical illness. In these experiments, Dr. Pastva is investigating novel therapeutic techniques that can be implemented either early in hospitalization or after hospitalization to mitigate the physical, cognitive, and psychological impairments that can accompany acute or acute on chronic illness.

She has participated as a clinician-scientist at the principle investigator and co-investigator levels on university-, foundation-, and NIH-funded projects where she developed or assisted in the development of the innovative rehabilitative strategies for patients with multiple chronic conditions and/or medical complexity aimed at improving patient-centered outcomes of physical function, quality of life, and healthcare utilization. She regularly presents her research findings at inter/national conferences of societies such as the American Physical Therapy Association. 

Awards and Honors

2008   National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease's K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award

2009   Scholarship to present at the International Conference of the American Thoracic Society

2011   Selected Participant, Course in Scientific Leadership and Management, Sponsored by Dean Nancy Andrews, Duke University School  of Medicine

2011   Claude D. Pepper Scholar Award in Aging Research, Duke University Pepper Center

2013   Appointed Senior Fellow, Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development

2014    Appointed, Clinical Practice Guideline Development Group – Physical therapy management of critically ill patients in the ICU, American Physical Therapy          Association, Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Section

2014     American Thoracic Society Foundation Unrestricted Grant award recipient

2015     Best Platform Presentation, APTA Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Section, Combined Sections Meeting

2015     Best Student Presentation, APTA Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Section, Combined Sections Meeting (awarded to her mentees)

2015     Best Student Presentation, Duke DPT Capstone Day (awarded to her mentees)

2015     Research Podium Award, Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association

2017    Nominated, Duke School of Medicine Master Clinician/Teacher Award

2017   New and Noteworthy, Clinical Practice Today e-newsletter from Duke Health, Orthopaedics Issue and General Medicine Issue, Supine cycle allows patients to exercise in ICU,

2017    Nominated/Appointed, Duke Chancellor’s Translating Duke Health Cardiovascular Initiative Steering Committee

2018    Selected Participant, Interprofessional Simulation Faculty Development Workshop, Sponsored by Duke AHEAD, Duke University School of Medicine

2019    Society for Healthcare In Simulation, Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE)

2020    Selected Participant, Academic Leadership, Innovation, and Collaborative Engagement (ALICE) Program for women faculty development, sponsored by the Office of Faculty, Duke University School of Medicine

2020    Best Research Platform Presentation, APTA Cardiovascular, and Pulmonary Section, Combined Sections MeetingSelected Grants

Selected Grants


CYCLE RCT: International RCT of early in-bed cycling with mechanically ventilated patients

  • Awarded by:  Canadian Institute of Health Research 
  • Goal:  Determine whether in-bed cycling will improve clinical/functional outcomes and health service utilization compared to usual care in those who are critically ill.
  • Role:  Steering Committee/Duke Site Principle Investigator    

Achieving Blood Pressure Goals after Stroke – PLACER

  • Awarded by:  Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute 
  • Goal:  Multicenter patient-randomized trial to examine the comparative effectiveness of Intensive Tailored Telehealth Management versus Intensive Clinic Management to control BP among stroke patients discharged home from the hospital or rehabilitation facility.
  • Role:  Steering Committee/Consortium Principle Investigator    

Community use of rehabilitation after stroke

  • Awarded by:  National Institute of Child and Human Development 
  • Goal:  Determine the effectiveness of a transitional care model in improving access to and appropriate delivery of post-acute stroke physical rehabilitation care.
  • Role:  Executive Committee/Co-Principle Investigator    

Remotely Monitored, Mobile health-supported High Intensity Interval Training after COVID-19 Critical Illness (REMM HIIT-COVID-19)    

  • Awarded by:  National Institute of Child and Human Development 
  • Goal:  Multicenter randomized trial to determine whether treatment with multidomain structured and progressive post-acute exercise will improve functional recovery and quality of life in patients who have experienced COVID-19 critical illness.
  • Role:  Executive Committee/Co-Principle Investigator    

Physical Rehabilitation for Older Patients with Acute HFpEF-The REHAB-HFpEF Trial

  • Awarded by:  National Institute of Aging 
  • Goal:  Phase III national trial to determine whether an innovative, transitional, tailored, progressive, multi-domain physical rehabilitation intervention will improve the combined endpoint of rehospitalizations or death and secondary outcome of major mobility disorder for hospitalized acute decompensated heart failure patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.
  • Role:  Executive Committee/Lead of Intervention Management Core    

Duke Claude D. Pepper Older American Independence Center (OAIC)

  • Awarded by:  National Institute of Aging
  • Goal:  Understand and optimize physiologic reserve and physical resilience in older adults.
  • Role:  Co-Investigator/Co-Lead of Health and Mobility Measures Core

Physical therapist management of critically ill patients in intensive care

  • Awarded by:  American Physical Therapy Association (2015-2018)
  • Goal:  Develop the clinical practice guidelines for the physical therapist management of critically ill patients in the intensive care setting.
  • Role:  Core Development Group


REHAB-HF:  A Trial of Rehabilitation Therapy in Older Acute Heart Failure Patients                

  • Awarded by:   National Institute of Aging
  • Goal:  Multicenter randomized clinical trial (Wake Forest, Duke, Thomas Jefferson) to test whether, in addition to standard care, a progressive, multi-domain rehabilitation intervention administered to elders with acute decompensated heart failure beginning early in hospitalization and continuing for 3 months will improve functional and utilization outcomes.
  • Role:  Steering Committee/Co-Investigator/Intervention Lead

Early supported discharge for improving functional outcomes after stroke

  • Awarded by:  Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute
  • Goal:  Determine whether transitional care and early supported discharge for stroke patients who go home directly from the hospital improves patients’ daily function compared with usual care.
  • Role: Steering Committee/Co-Investigator/Intervention Lead

Duke Roybal Center – Pilot Project HF Active

  • Awarded by:  National Institute of Aging
  • Goal:  Develop a tailored physical activity toolkit for older adults with heart failure.
  • Role:  Co-Principle Investigator (with K Hall)


  • Awarded by:  Oncology Nurse Foundation
  • Goal:  Test the efficacy of Build Stamina, a 3-month multidomain exercise program, improves function and quality of life in adults with acute leukemia.
  • Role:  Co-Investigator/Intervention Lead

ERiCC: Early Rehabilitation in Critical Care

  • Awarded by: American Thoracic Society 
  • Goal: Determine whether functional electrical stimulation-assisted cycling will improve physical and neurocognitive outcomes compared to usual care in those who are critically ill.
  • Role: Principle Investigator 


  • Awarded by: National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia 
  • Goal:  Multi-site randomized clinical trial (University of Melbourne/Austin Health, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Royal Brisbane) to determine whether functional electrical stimulation-assisted cycling will improve physical and neurocognitive outcomes compared to usual care in those who are critically ill.
  • Role:  Steering Committee/Duke Site Principle Investigator 

Impact of age on outcomes associated with early mobilization in medical intensive care

  • Awarded by: Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association Foundation 
  • Goal: Retrospective trial to assess the impact of age on clinical and functional outcomes in patients who were critically ill in the medical intensive care unit and who participated in an early mobility program.
  • Role: Co-Principle Investigator (with V.Sabol)

The in vivo role of surfactant protein A in allergen-mediated lung disease.

  • Awarded by: National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease
  • Goal: To determine the role of surfactant protein A in modulating the transition between innate and adaptive immunity and influencing airway physiology using murine models and cell isolates.
  • Role: Principle Investigator