• Dr.Thirumalai is an Assistant Professor teaching in the MS in Health Informatics program at UAB. He serves as a Co-Director of UAB's Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Interactive Exercise Technologies and Exercise Physiology for People with Disabilities (funded by NIDILRR/ACL/HHS). He is the Director of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for the UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative and leads and directs the various ICT initiatives for several centers/projects including the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (funded by CDC), multiple NIH-R01s, a PCORI funded comparative effectiveness trial and multiple NIDILRR funded projects.

    He has been involved in technology development and research related to improving the health and function of people with disabilities for the last 19 years. He has received multiple pilot grants and an award for his artificial intelligence supported health coaching platform for glycemic control in people with disabilities.

    He conceptualized, designed and developed the largest online physical activity intervention for people with disabilities that has served more than 40,000 people since its launching in 2012. His dissertation focused on “Online Health Behavior Change Using Social Media”.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2021 Design and rationale for the deep south interactive voice response system-supported active lifestyle study: Protocol for a randomized controlled trialJMIR Research Protocols.  10. 2021
    2021 Correction: Correlates of adherence in a home-based, self-managed exercise program tailored to wheelchair users with spinal cord injury (Spinal Cord, (2021), 59, 1, (55-62), 10.1038/s41393-020-0497-4)Spinal Cord.  59:92. 2021
    2021 Correlates of adherence in a home-based, self-managed exercise program tailored to wheelchair users with spinal cord injurySpinal Cord.  59:55-62. 2021
    2021 Critical factors influencing the decision to enroll in a physical activity intervention among a predominant group of adults with spinal cord injury: a grounded theory studySpinal Cord.  59:17-25. 2021
    2021 POWERSforID: Personalized online weight and exercise response system for individuals with intellectual disability: A randomized controlled trialDisability and Health Journal2021
    2020 Effects of interactive voice response (Ivr) counseling on physical activity benefits and barriers 2020
    2020 Enhancing Transitions From Rehabilitation Patient to Wellness Participant for People With Disabilities: An Opportunity for Hospital Community BenefitFrontiers in Public Health.  8. 2020
    2020 Developing a decision support system for exercise engagement among individuals with conditions causing mobility impairment: Perspectives of fitness facility fitness exercisers and adapted fitness center trainer 2020
    2020 Lessons learned from a blended telephone/e-health platform for caregivers in promoting physical activity and nutrition in children with a mobility disabilityDisability and Health Journal.  13. 2020
    2019 Feedback and strategies from people with intellectual disability completing a personalized online weight loss intervention: A qualitative analysis 2019
    2019 Exercise Training Guidelines for Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, and Parkinson Disease: Rapid Review and SynthesisAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.  98:613-621. 2019
    2019 Rationale and design of a Scale-Up Project Evaluating Responsiveness to Home Exercise and Lifestyle Tele-Health (SUPER-HEALTH) in people with physical/mobility disabilities: A type 1 hybrid design effectiveness trialBMJ Open.  9. 2019
    2019 Comparing the Convergent and Concurrent Validity of the Dynamic Gait Index with the Berg Balance Scale in People with Multiple Sclerosis.Healthcare.  7. 2019
    2019 A mobile app to promote adapted exercise and social networking for people with physical disabilities: Usability study 2019
    2019 Energy expenditure and enjoyment during active video gaming using an adapted wii fit balance board in adults with physical disabilities: Observational studyJMIR Serious Games.  7. 2019
    2018 Rationale and design of the tele-exercise and multiple sclerosis (TEAMS) study: A comparative effectiveness trial between a clinic- and home-based telerehabilitation intervention for adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) living in the deep southContemporary Clinical Trials.  71:186-193. 2018
    2018 Teams (Tele-exercise and multiple sclerosis), a tailored telerehabilitation mhealth app: Participant-centered development and usability studyJMIR mHealth and uHealth.  6. 2018
    2018 Adapting the wii fit balance board to enable active video game play by wheelchair users: User-centered design and usability evaluationJMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies.  20. 2018
    2017 POWERS forID: Personalized Online Weight and Exercise Response System for Individuals with Intellectual Disability: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trialTrials.  18. 2017
    2017 Assessment of active video gaming using adapted controllers by individuals with physical disabilities: A protocolJMIR Research Protocols.  6. 2017
    2016 Active Videogaming in Youth with Physical Disability: Gameplay and EnjoymentGames for Health Journal.  5:333-341. 2016
    2016 Perspectives on Active Video Gaming as a New Frontier in Accessible Physical Activity for Youth With Physical DisabilitiesPhysical Therapy.  96:521-532. 2016
    2004 A system for multiattribute drug product comparison.Journal of Medical Systems.  28:31-56. 2004
    A Mobile App to Promote Adapted Exercise and Social Networking for People With Physical Disabilities: Usability Study (Preprint)
    Design and Rationale for the Deep South Interactive Voice Response System–Supported Active Lifestyle Study: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial (Preprint)
    Feasibility of Teleassessments for Enrollment of Adults with Physical/Mobility Disability in a Home-based Exercise Trial in Response to COVID-19 (Preprint)
    TEAMS (Tele-Exercise and Multiple Sclerosis), a Tailored Telerehabilitation mHealth App: Participant-Centered Development and Usability Study (Preprint)

    Research Overview

  • Telehealth, User Experience, Artificial intelligence, Geotagging of crowdsourced resources to promote community based physical activity, Accessible active video gaming controllers, Smart health coaching platforms with self-contained people with disability specific knowledge bases, Online knowledge-bases for access barriers in the built environment for increased physical activity, web and mobile based health behavior change platforms, and other areas of health informatics.
  • Investigator On

  • Testing Scalable, IVR-Supported Cancer Prevention Interventions in the Rural Alabama Black Belt  awarded by National Cancer Institute/NIH/DHHS 2019 - 2024
  • Scale-Up of an Innovative, Evidence-Based Movement 2-Music (M2M) Intervention for Adults with Physical/Mobility Disability  awarded by Administration for Community Living/DHHS 2018 - 2023
  • Comparative Effectiveness Trial Between a Clinic- and Home-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Telerehabilitation Intervention for Adults with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)  awarded by PATIENT CENTERED OUTCOMES RESEARCH INSTITUTE 2016 - 2023
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Traumatic Brain Injury Model System  awarded by Administration for Community Living/DHHS 2018 - 2022
  • RERC On Exercise And Recreational Technologies For People With Disabilities (RECTECH IV)  awarded by Administration for Community Living/DHHS 2017 - 2022
  • Scale Up Evaluation of a Physical Activity Program for Adults with Physical Disability  awarded by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development/NIH/DHHS 2016 - 2021
  • National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability  awarded by CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/DHHS 2016 - 2021
  • Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers  awarded by Administration for Community Living/DHHS 2015 - 2020
  • Disability and Rehabilitation Research Program  awarded by Administration for Community Living/DHHS 2015 - 2019
  • POWERSforID: A Telehealth Weight Management System for Adults with ID  awarded by UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS (CHICAGO) 2013 - 2018
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Traumatic Brain Injury Model System  awarded by Administration for Community Living/DHHS 2017 - 2018
  • Internet Based System for Managing Obesity in Children with Disabilities  awarded by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development/NIH/DHHS 2013 - 2016
  • Dose-Response Effects of Transformative Exercise in Improving Health and Function in Adults with Spinal Cord Injury and Multiple Sclerosis  awarded by Department of Education 2013 - 2015
  • Interactive Exercise Technologies and Exercise Physiology for People with Disabilities  awarded by Department of Education 2012 - 2015
  • Private Grant  awarded by TKC GLOBAL SOLUTIONS, LLC 2013 - 2014
  • Improving Health Care Quality through Health IT for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities  awarded by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality/DHHS 2012 - 2013
  • Teaching Overview

  • Dr. Thirumalai teaches in the User Experience track of the MS in Health Informatics program at UAB. His course titled "Managing the user-centered development process" focuses on training the students with applied knowledge on building user-friendly and effective health information technologies.
  • Education And Training

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Management Information Systems, University of Illinois System : Chicago 2016
  • Master of Engineering in Computer Systems Analysis / Analyst, University of Illinois System : Chicago 2009
  • Master of Science in Computer Engineering, University of Illinois System : Chicago 2003
  • Awards And Honors

    Full Name

  • Mohanraj Thirumalai