Ken Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR

Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR Professor Emeritus

Email: kottenba@utmb.eduSCOPUS | Google Scholar
Research Area: Research methods, functional assessment, rehabilitation outcomes

Untitled Document


  • BS 1972 University of Montana, Missoula
  • BS 1975 University of Central Arkansas, Conway
  • MS 1976 University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • PhD 1982 University of Missouri, Columbia

  • 2021- Professor Emeritus, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences, UTMB
  • 2018-2021 Associate Director, Center for Recovery, Physical Activity and Nutrition, UTMB
  • 2018-2021 Director, Rehabilitation Sciences PhD Program (2000-15), Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, UTMB
  • 2001-2021 Professor, Department of Internal Medicine (Geriatrics), UTMB
  • 2000-2018 Director, Center for Recovery, Physical Activity and Nutrition (formerly Center for Rehabilitation Sciences), UTMB
  • 2000-2021 Professor and Director, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences & Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research (2000-15), SHP, UTMB
  • 1999-2021 Associate Director, Sealy Center on Aging, UTMB
  • 1995-2021 Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Professions (SHP), UTMB
  • 1995-2001 Vice Dean, School of Health Professions, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, UTMB
  • 1992-1995 Associate Director, Center for Functional Assessment Research; Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, SUNY
  • 1990-1994 Associate Dean, School of Health Related Professions; Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY)
  • 1982-1990 Assistant, Associate, & Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • 2020 Geriatric Society of America (GSA) Excellence in Rehabilitation of Aging Persons Award
  • 2017 100 most influential people in occupational therapy, American Occupational Therapy Association (selected as part of the Centennial Celebration of the American Occupational Therapy Association)
  • 2016 Gold Key Award, American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • 2013 Presidents' Commendation (in honor of Wilma L. West) from the American Occupational Therapy Association & American Occupational Therapy Foundation (only 14 Commendations awarded)
  • 2012 Founding Member, Academy of Research Mentors, UTMB
  • 2011 Blue Ribbon Panel National Institutes for Health (Medical Rehabilitation Review across the NIH)
  • 2010 Edward Lowman Award, American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • 2010 Distinguished Faculty Research Award, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, UTMB
  • 2005 Russell Shearn Moody Distinguished Chair in Cognitive Rehabilitation, UTMB (endowed)
  • 2003 Award of Merit, American Occupational Therapy Association (Highest Award) 2002 Leone Award for Administrative Excellence, University of Texas Medical Branch
  • 2001 Fannie Kempner Adoue Distinguished Professor, University of Texas Medical Branch (endowed)
  • 2000 Best research article (senior author), American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • 1998 Commencement Speaker, School of Health Related Professions, State University of New York at Buffalo
  • 1997 Sidney & Elizabeth Licht Award for Excellence in Scientific Writing, American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • 1993 Dean's Award – Scholarly Excellence, School of Health Related Professions, SUNY at Buffalo
  • 1988 A.J. Ayres Award, American Occupational Therapy Foundation
  • 1976 Phi Kappa Phi Academic Honor Society Outstanding Achievement Award
  • 2014 Gerontological Society of America (Health Sciences Section)
  • 2005 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • 1984 American Occupational Therapy Association

Received continuous federal funding as a principal investigator since 1984 totaling more than $40 million.

  1. Puebla Neira, D.A., Hsu, E.S., Kuo, Y-F., Ottenbacher, K.J., Sharma, G. (2021). Readmissions Reduction Program, Mortality, and Readmissions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.  American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.  203, 5, 649–651 Sep 1. doi: 10.1164/rccm.202002-0310OC.
  2. Na, A., Middleton, A., Haas, A., Graham, J.E., Ottenbacher, K.J. (2020). Impact of diabetes on 90-day episodes of care after elective total joint arthroplasty among Medicare beneficiaries. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American. 102, 24, 2157–2165. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.20.00203.
  3. Hong, I., Westra, J.R., Goodwin, J.S., Karmarkar, A., Kuo, Y.F., Ottenbacher, K.J. (2020). Association of pain on hospital discharge with the risk of 30-day readmission in patients with total hip and knee replacement. Journal of Arthroplasty. Dec;35(12):3528-3534.e2.
  4. Bhavnani, S., Dang, B., Penton, R., Visweswaran, S., Bassler, K., Chen, T., Raji, M., Divekar, R., Zuhour, R., Karmarkar, A., Kuo, Y-F., Ottenbacher, K. J. (2020) How High-risk comorbidities co-occur in readmitted patients with hip fracture:  Big data visual analytical approach. JMIR Medical Informatics. Oct 26;8(10):e13567. PMCID: PMC7652691.
  5. Downer, B., Pritchard, K., Thomas, KS., Ottenbacher, K.J. (2020). Improvement in ADLs during a nursing home stay and one-year mortality among older adults with sepsis. Journal American Geriatrics Society. 69, 938-945. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16915
  6. Downer, B., Al Snih, S., Chou, L.N., Kuo, Y.F., Raji, M., Markides K.S., Ottenbacher, K.J. (2020). Changes in Healthcare Use by Mexican-American Medicare Beneficiaries Before and After a Diagnosis of Dementia. (2020) Journal Gerontology A: Biology & Medical Sciences. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glaa236
  7. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. Oct 8; S1525-8610(20)30712-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2020.08.021.
  8. Li C.Y., Karmarkar A., Kuo Y.F., Mehta H.B., Mallinson T., Haas A., Kumar A., Ottenbacher K.J. (2020). A comparison of three methods in categorizing functional status to predict hospital readmission across post-acute care. PLoS One, 15(5):e0232017. eCollection 2020. PMCID: PMC7205206.
  9. Hreha, K.P., Fisher, S.R., Reistetter, T.A., Ottenbacher, K.J., Haas, A., Li, C.-Y, Ehrlich, J.R, Whitaker, D.B., Whitson, H.E. (2020). Use of the Icd-10 Vision Codes to Study Ocular Conditions in Medicare Beneficiaries with Stroke. BMC Health Services Research. 20, 1, 8, #628. DOI: 10.1186/s12913-020-05484-z. PMCID: PMC7346474.
  10. Howrey, B.T., Al Snih, S., Middleton, J.A., Ottenbacher, K.J. (2020).  Trajectories of Frailty and Cognitive Decline Among Older Mexican Americans. Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. 75(8), 1551-1557. MCID: PMC7357562.
  11. Li C.Y., Al Snih S., Chou L.N., Karmarkar A., Kuo Y..F, Markides K.S., Ottenbacher K.J. (2020). Frailty transitions predict healthcare use and Medicare payments in older Mexican Americans: a longitudinal cohort study. BMC Geriatrics, 20(1):189. PMCID: PMC7268381.
  12. Welsh R.L., Wild D.L., Karmarkar A.M., Leland N.E., Baillargeon J.G., Ottenbacher K.J., Graham J.E. (2020). Predictors of discharge settings following total knee arthroplasty in Medicare patients. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2020 Sep;101(9):1509-1514.
  13. Li C.Y., Karmarkar A., Kuo Y.F., Haas A., Ottenbacher K.J. (2020). Impact of Self-Care and Mobility on One or More Post-Acute Care Transitions. Journal of Aging and Health. 2020 Dec.,32(10):1325-1334. PMCID: PMC7718286.
  14. Knox, S., Downer, B., Haas, A., Middleton, A., Ottenbacher, K.J. (2020). Function and Caregiver Support Associated with Readmissions during Home Health for Individuals with Dementia. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 101(6), 1009-1016. PMCID: PMC7279123.
  15. Sodhi, J.K., Karmarkar, A., Raji, M., Markides, K.S., Ottenbacher, K.J., Al Snih, S. (2020). Pain as a predictor of frailty over time among older Mexican Americans. Pain, 161(1), 109-113. PMCID: PMC6923536
  16. McGrath, R.P., Ottenbacher, K.J., Vincent, B.M., Kraemer, W.J., Peterson, M.D. (2020). Muscle weakness and functional limitations in an ethnically diverse sample of older adults. Ethnicity and Health, Apr;125(3):342-353. Online. PMCID: N/A
  17. Downer, B., Al Snih, S., Raji, M., Chou, L.N., Kuo, Y.F., Markides, K.S., Ottenbacher, K.J. (2020). Healthcare utilization of Mexican-American Medicare beneficiaries with and without Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. PLoS One, 15(1): e0227681.eCollection 2020. PMCID: PMC6961888
  18. Hong, I., Pryor, L., Wong, R., Ottenbacher, K.J., Reistetter, T.A. (2019). Comparisons of the Association of Family and Social Factors with Functional Limitations across the United States, Mexico, and South Korea: Findings from the HRS Family of Surveys. Journal of Aging and Health. 2020 Oct;32(9):1042-1051. PMCID: PMC7124985 (available on 10-01-2021).
  19. Malcolm, M.P., Middleton, A., Haas, A., Ottenbacher, K.J., Graham, J.E. (2019). Variation in Facility-Level Rates of All-Cause and Potentially Preventable 30-Day Hospital Readmissions among Medicare Fee-for-Service Beneficiaries after Discharge from Postacute Inpatient Rehabilitation. JAMA Network Open, 2(12): e1917559. PMCID: PMC6991209.
  20. Hong, I., Goodwin, J.S., Reistetter, T.A., Kuo, Y.F., Mallinson, T., Karmarkar, A., Lin, Y.L., Ottenbacher, K.J. (2019). Comparison of Functional Status Improvements among Patients with Stroke Receiving Postacute Care in Inpatient Rehabilitation vs Skilled Nursing Facilities. JAMA Network Open, 2(12): e1916646. PMCID: PMC6902754.
  21. Knox, S., Downer, B., Haas, A., Middleton, A., Ottenbacher, K.J. (2019). Dementia Severity Associated with Increased Risk of Potentially Preventable Readmissions during Home Health Care. Journal of the American Medical Director’s Association, 21(4), 519-524. PMCID: PMC7127929.
  22.  Kumar, A., Rivera-Hernandez, M., Karmarkar, A.M., Chou, L.N., Kuo, Y.F., Baldwin, J.A., Panagiotou, O.A., Burke, R.E., Ottenbacher, K.J. (2019). Social and Health-Related Factors Associated with Enrollment in Medicare Advantage Plans in Older Adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 68(2), 313-320. PMCID: PMC7015142.
  23. Li, C.Y., Al Snih, S., Chen, N.W., Markides, K.S., Sodhi, J., Ottenbacher, K.J. (2019). Validation of the Modified Frailty Phenotype Measure in Older Mexican Americans. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 67(11), 2393-2397. PMCID: PMC6861608.
  24. Downer, B., Al Snih, S., Howrey, B.T., Raji, M.A., Markides, K.S., Ottenbacher, K.J. (2019). Combined effects of cognitive impairment and pre-frailty on future frailty and death in older Mexican Americans. Aging and Mental Health, 23(10), 1405-1412. PMCID: PMC6534489.
  25. Nastars, D.R., Rojas, J.D., Ottenbacher, K.J., Graham, J.E. (2019). Race/Ethnicity and 30-Day Readmission Rates in Medicare Beneficiaries with COPD. Respiratory Care, 64(8), 931-936. doi: 10.4187/respcare.06475.
  26. Ottenbacher, K.J., Graham, J.E., Fisher, S.R. (2019). Data Science in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Opportunities and Challenges. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 30(2), 459-471. doi: 10.1016/j.pmr.2018.12.003. PMID: 30964441.
  27. Downer, B., Al Snih, S., Chou, L.N., Kuo, Y.F., Markides, K.S., Ottenbacher, K.J. (2019). Differences in hospitalizations, emergency room admissions, and outpatient visits among Mexican-American Medicare beneficiaries. BMC Geriatrics, 19(1), 136. PMCID: PMC6528336.
  28. Jarvis, J.M., Downer, B., Baillargeon, J., Khetani, M., Ottenbacher, K.J., Graham, J.E. (2019). The modifying effect of positive emotion on the relationship between cognitive impairment and disability among older Mexican Americans: a cohort study. Disability and Rehabilitation, 41(13):1491-1498. PMCID: PMC6066465.
  29. Middleton, A., Downer, B., Haas, A., Knox, S., Ottenbacher, K.J. (2019). Functional status is associated with 30-day potentially preventable readmissions following home health care. Medical Care, 57(2), 145-151. PMCID: PMC6358180.
  30. Middleton, A., Graham, J.E., Prvu Bettger, J., Haas, A., Ottenbacher, K.J. (2018). Facility and geographic variation in rates of successful community discharge following inpatient rehabilitation among Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries. JAMA Network Open. 1(7): e184332. Online. PMCID: PMC6324386.