Rehabilitation Research Career Development (RRCD) Program

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Kari S. Kretch, PT, DPT, PhDScholar Bio

Research Assistant Professor
Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
University of Southern California

Research Areas

Physical therapy intervention to promote exploration, learning, and global development for infants at risk for cerebral palsy



Lead Mentor

S. Dusing, PhD, PT


  • 2019 University of Southern California DPT
  • 2015 New York University PhD
  • 2010 New York University MA
  • 2007 Vassar College BA

Current Research Funding

NIH/NICHD K12 HD055929, PI K. Ottenbacher 2021 - Present: Rehabilitation Research Career Development Program K12 Scholar

Mentored Research Grant, APTA Pediatrics, PI: Kretch 2021 - 2022: Effects of posture and seating on learning opportunities in infants at risk for cerebral palsy 

Recent Publications

Kretch, K. S., Willett, S. L., Hsu, L., Sargent, B. A., Harbourne, R. T., & Dusing, S. C. (in press). “Learn the Signs. Act Early.”: Updates and implications for physical therapists. Pediatric Physical Therapy.

Dusing, S. C., Harbourne, R. T., Hsu, L., Koziol, N. A., Kretch, K. S., Sargent, B., Jensen-Willett, S., McCoy, S. W., Vanderbilt, D. L. (2022). The SIT-PT trial protocol: A dose-matched randomized clinical trial comparing 2 physical therapist interventions for infants and toddlers with cerebral palsy. PTJ: Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Journal.

Koziol, N. A., Butera, C. D., Kretch, K. S., Harbourne, R. T., Lobo, M. A., McCoy, S. W., Hsu, L., Willett, S., Kane, A. E., Bovaird, J. A., & Dusing, S. C. (2022). Effect of the START-Play physical therapy intervention on cognitive skills depends on caregiver-provided learning opportunities. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics.

Kretch, K. S., Koziol, N. A., Marcinowski, E. C., Kane, A. E., Inamdar, K., Brown, E. D., Bovaird, J. A., Harbourne, R. T., Hsu, L., Lobo, M. A., & Dusing, S. C. (2022). Infant posture and caregiver-provided cognitive opportunities in typically developing infants and infants with motor delay. Developmental Psychobiology, 64(1), e22233.

Kim, A., Kretch, K. S., Zhou, Z., & Finley, J. M. (2018). The quality of visual information about the lower extremities influences visuomotor coordination during virtual obstacle negotiation. Journal of Neurophysiology, 120, 839-847.

Franchak, J. M., Kretch, K. S., & Adolph, K. E. (2018). See and be seen: Infant-caregiver social looking during locomotor free play. Developmental Science, 21.

Kretch, K. S. & Adolph, K. E. (2017). The organization of exploratory behaviors in infant locomotor planning. Developmental Science, 20.