Katharine E. Alter, MD

Katharine E. Alter, MD, is a Pediatric and Adult Physiatrist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, where she is a Senior Research Clinician and Medical Director of the Functional and Applied Biomechanics Section in Rehabilitation Medicine. Prior to joining NIH full time in 2014, she was the Medical Director of Rehabilitation Programs at Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital (1998-2014) and a staff physiatrist at National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC (1989-1998).

Dr. Alter is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Adult and Pediatric), and the American Board of Electrodiagnostic and Neuromuscular Medicine. She is the President-Elect of the International Neurotoxin Association, and also serves on the Publications Committee of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine and the Editorial Board for Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology.

Dr. Alter’s clinical and investigative interests include the assessment and treatment of neurological and musculoskeletal impairments in children and adults. This includes movement disorders, cerebral palsy, stroke, dystonia, spasticity, and neuromuscular disorders. She is recognized for her expertise in spasticity management in patients with upper motor neuron syndromes and focal dystonias, including runner’s dystonia and complex forms of cervical dystonia.

She is currently a co-investigator on multiple studies at the NIH, including botulinum toxin therapy for neurological and pain disorders; optimizing outcomes from chemodenervation procedures; noninvasive functional brain imaging; and advanced neuromuscular ultrasound imaging techniques for neuromuscular and musculoskeletal disorders.

At the NIH, Dr. Alter is actively involved in postgraduate medical education of National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Clinical Fellows and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residents from Georgetown/Medstar. She also maintains a clinical practice outside of NIH at Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital.

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