Paula Donahue, DPT, MBA, CLT

Paula Donahue, DPT, MBA, CLT

Assistant Professor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Physical Therapist III, Vanderbilt Dayani Center for Health & Wellness

Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital
2201 Children’s Way
Suite 1318
Nashville 37212
(615) 322-0738

Interests

Dr. Donahue's focus is on acute, outpatient, and home care therapy primarily addressing orthopedic, oncologic, and geriatric conditions.  She has a special research interest in the treatment of lymphedema in breast cancer survivors.

Education

CLT:                             
Certified Lymphedema Therapist, The Academy of Lymphatic Studies, Chattanooga, TN
2011

Graduate:                              
MBA, (Masters of Business Administration), The Johns Hopkins University Carey Business
School, Baltimore, MD                  
2007

DPT:                                      
Doctor of Physical Therapy, Northwestern University School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
2002

Undergraduate:                              
BS, Biological Anthropology and Anatomy, Duke University, Durham, NC
1998

Past Academic and Professional Appointments

Physical Therapist
Select Specialty Hospitals, Nashville, TN
2010-2011

Occupational Health Physiotherapist
Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust, Oxford, England
2008-2009

Research Description

Dr. Donahue's research interests are in the areas of lymphedema, oncology, and manual techniques impacting tissue extensibility. She is collaborating with the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science (VUIIS) on breast cancer related lymphedema (BCRL) research, specifically development of non-invasive imaging techniques that are intended to better inform patient management and optimize lymphedema treatment interventions. While the reported incidence of lymphedema varies from 6-54% and the risk increases with time since treatment, currently it is not possible to determine a patient's specific risk for BCRL. If such a distinction could be made, early therapeutic intervention could be administered effectively to high-risk patients with the goal of preventing, or delaying, BCRL onset. Paula has helped demonstrate that new non-invasive MRI techniques that utilize "spin labeling" principles can measure lymphatic fluid flow dynamics and lymphatic node metabolic properties, which correlate with lymphatic obstruction. Importantly, as these methods utilize the magnetic properties of water as an endogenous tracer, they are completely non-invasive and therefore can readily be 1) implemented into standard clinical protocols, 2) applied in longitudinal studies, and 3) used to evaluate lymphatic property responses to therapeutic interventions.

Research Poster on Non-Invasively Measuring Lymphatic Flow: Clinical Implications


Selected Publications