Dr. Patricia Heyn

Associate Professor,
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

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University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Arvada, CO

Dr. Patricia Heyn

Associate Professor,
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus


Patricia C. Heyn, PhD, FGSA, FACRM is an Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. She earned a PhD in Applied Exercise Physiology/Gerontology from the University of Central Florida followed by two Post-Doctoral Fellowships. She was awarded in 2002 with her first fellowship in Cognitive/Neurological Rehabilitation supported by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) from the HHS Administration of Community Living. She conducted her fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, mentored by Dr. Kenneth Ottenbacher where she studied the effects of physical and cognitive therapies in individuals with brain injury, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and related cognitive disorders. Her investigations include the associations between lifestyle behavior, sex hormone, diabetes, and interactive technology on cognitive function. She completed her second Fellowship in Geriatric Medicine in 2007 supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIH). She studied the associations between mild cognitive impairment (MCI), ethnicity, age, education, physical activity levels, and metabolic syndrome as well as clinical trials for hypogonadal older men and older individuals with metabolic syndrome and MCI. She has important, relevant research expertise in activity-induced brain function and lifestyle behavior medicine. Dr. Heyn also studied the effects of multi-sensory therapy and virtual-reality intervention on cognitive and physiological function. Her current research interests include developing and evaluating interactive technologies for cognitive and physical rehabilitation and investigating the effects of behavioral interventions on cognitive function and metabolic syndrome on individuals aging with complex disabilities. She is constantly designing behavioral treatments and patient-centered outcomes research for individuals with physical and/or cognitive disabilities. She has distinctive knowledge on how to synthesize and evaluate the quality of the evidence from the literature. Her meta-analysis on the effects of exercise training for individuals with dementia is recognized as the Number #1 Top 25 SciVerse ScienceDirect: Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Hottest Article. She has been involved in several international academic programs and scientific projects. In December of 2006, her research was featured in one of Argentina's leading newspapers, La Nación, after she delivered a keynote lecture at the 6th Neuropsychological Argentinean Congress. The National Alzheimer's Association features Dr. Heyn's research on the effects of exercise on dementia on its Maintain Your Brain ™ - the Science Behind the Recommendations website. Her research is also frequently cited in various media such as View of Washington, ABC 7 News, and other related media and scientific news reports.​

Areas Of Expertise

  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Assessment
  • Assessment: Cognitive Assessment
  • Assessment: Functional Assessment
  • Behavior
  • Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Systems: Treatment
  • Caregiving
  • Clinical Practice
  • Cognition
  • Cognition: Learning and Skill Acquisition
  • Cognition: Memory
  • Cognition: Problem Solving and Reasoning
  • Cognition: Use of Language and Semantic Processing
  • Cognition: Visual and Spatial Processing
  • Computer Technology
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Disability
  • Exercise
  • Exercise: Other
  • Exercise: Physiology
  • Exercise: Programs
  • Gerontology
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Promotion: Diet/Nutrition
  • Health Promotion: Exercise
  • Health Promotion: Other
  • Health Promotion: Screening
  • Health Promotion: Stress Reduction
  • Health Services
  • Longevity
  • Musculoskeletal and Motor System
  • Obesity
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation: Chronically Ill Elders
  • Rehabilitation: Hearing-Disabled Elders
  • Rehabilitation: Mentally Disabled Elders
  • Rehabilitation: Physically Disabled Elders
  • Rehabilitation: Post-Operative Elders
  • Research
  • Research: Other
  • Research: Research Methods
  • Research: Research Theory/Models
  • Successful Aging


  • Medicine