Distinguished Scientist Joseph Norman, Ph.D.

Joseph Norman, Ph.D.

Joseph Norman, Ph.D.

This profile is part of a series to highlight the researchers who will be honored at a ceremony for UNMC’s 2016 Scientist Laureate, Research Leadership, Distinguished Scientist and New Investigator Award recipients.

The Distinguished Scientist Award

The Distinguished Scientist Award — which is sponsored by the chancellor — recognizes researchers who have been among the most productive scientists at UNMC during the past five years.

  • Name: Joseph Norman, Ph.D.
  • Title: Professor, UNMC Department of Physical Therapy Education, College of Allied Health Professions
  • Joined UNMC: 1992
  • Hometown: Schenevus, N.Y.

Research focus:
Chronic heart failure

The goal of my research is to investigate the use of physical exercise to improve the physiologic response and quality of life of individuals with cardiopulmonary disorders, as well as to examine strategies for improving adherence to exercise protocols to achieve positive outcomes. I have been fortunate to collaborate with a number of outstanding investigators at UNMC over the years. Currently our interdisciplinary team’s focus is on evaluating strategies to improve adherence to the exercise guidelines outlined by the American Heart Association and Heart Failure Society of America for individuals with chronic heart failure.

My research will make a difference because:
For individuals with heart failure, there are a number of physiological and psychological benefits achieved from regular exercise training, which have a positive impact on mortality, quality of life, physical function and hospitalization rates. Although we now have a better understanding of the type and dose of exercise needed to achieve these benefits from exercise training in the short-term, long-term adherence tends to remain sub-optimal. Our research into using behavioral strategies and interventions to improve exercise adherence on a long-term basis will benefit individuals with heart failure as they achieve and maintain exercise adherence at an appropriate level to sustain the health benefits over the long term.

The best advice I’ve ever been given is:

  • From my parents: “Always be willing to try new things” and “Just do your best.”
  • From my mentor, Dr. CW Miller: “Don’t be afraid to fail. That is often when you learn the most.”

Three things you may not know about me

  • My wife, Joan, and I have four great children who never cease to amaze me.
  • I come from a family of nine and am a first-generation college graduate.
  • I am a Secular Franciscan.


  1. Michael Huckabee says:

    Congratulations, Joe. So thankful for your many contributions to CAHP.

  2. Sherri Turpen says:

    Congratulations Joe! What an honor! So much hard work! An awesome accomplishment! Well deserved!

  3. Eldon Lauber says:

    Congratulations Joe ,this is a well deserved honor for you. I've always admired your devotion to all you do and the humble attitude in how you do it. May God continue to bless you in all your endeavors.

  4. Virgie Powers says:

    Congratulations Joe! I had never thought about the many specialties of PT, especially for heart patients, until I was exposed to you and the faculty that work with you. This honor for your hard work is well deserved.

  5. Mary Norman says:

    Brother Joe ! Congratulations ! Wish we could have been there to see you but most of us were able to watch the LiveStream. All the best ! From one of the Family of NIne.

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