Tara L. McIsaac, PT, PhD

Tara L. McIsaac, PT, PhD

Tara L. McIsaac, PT, PhD

School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Phoenix Campus

Academic Appointments


  • Physical Therapy (Phoenix)


  • Professor

Teaching Activity

  • PTD504 Evidence Based Practice 1
  • PTD514 Evidence Based Practice 2
  • PTD520 Neuroscience
  • PTD533 Motor Control and Motor Learning


Dr. McIsaac has over 29 years of clinical experience treating adults with neurological conditions, focused in the recent 17 years on the neurodegenerative disorders of Parkinson disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Dr. McIsaac’s research focuses on the interaction of attention and movement (multi-tasking) in older adults and people with neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson disease. Her recent NIH-funded project used a driving simulator to identify how difficulties with multi-tasking affects drivers with Parkinson disease, aiming to develop targeted interventions that will extend the years of safe driving. Her other topics of scholarship include the use of horses in therapy for people with neurodegenerative disorders (hippotherapy), and the use of drumming as a therapeutic tool.
When not working, she and her wife, Marcia, and their dog, Jesse, can usually be found roaming the country in their camper, hiking, biking, and horseback riding, or relaxing with a good book or films.

Research and Scholarship

Research and Scholarship Interests

  • Cognitive Motor Interaction; Neurorehabilitation, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Motor Learning and Control

Current Research Projects

    • Perspectives on healthcare access and equity of people with Parkinson’s disease identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, or two-spirit, Michael J Fox Foundation (under review). This research explores the perspectives and experiences related to healthcare of LGBTQ+ people with Parkinson disease, care partners, and healthcare providers.
    • Multi-limb Control in Parkinson's Disease: Implicit and Explicit Control of Attention, NINDS/NIH R15NS098340-01A1. This research explores attention and motor control in a driving simulator environment in people with Parkinson disease.
    • Hippotherapy for axial symptoms, gait and posture in people with Parkinson disease. This research explores the use of horses in physical therapy intervention to reduce trunk rigidity and improve gait and balance in people with Parkinson disease.
    • Whole-body drumming to music for people with Parkinson disease: Effects on gait, time perception, mood, and quality of life. This research explores the therapeutic effect of large-amplitude (BIG) movements while drumming to music.