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 Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences Department

Developing Industry Leaders

Through technology-enhanced practice facilities and cutting-edge research labs, Drexel’s PT programs allow students to develop advanced skills through evidence-based clinical practice, teaching and research.

Physical Therapy Department

For over 30 years, Drexel’s nationally ranked Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Programs have provided a rich, technology-infused environment for students to develop skills in evidence-based clinical practice, teaching, and research. Drexel’s faculty, through structured instruction and mentorship, strives to develop leaders who excel in health care settings, classrooms and research labs.

Drexel’s nationally and internationally recognized faculty members are among the most highly respected and productive academicians, researchers and clinicians in the country with expertise in a variety of specialty areas. Through their work, they have developed numerous local, national and international clinical teaching and research collaborations and garnered funding from a variety of different agencies. Drexel’s research laboratories and funded researchers provide students with the opportunity to pursue exciting initiatives in multiple areas. 

Many of our faculty have won numerous teaching awards and over half of the faculty members continue clinical practice. The department’s faculty practice, Drexel University Physical Therapy Services, has sites at the 11th Street Family Health Services, in the Drexel University Recreation Center on Drexel’s University City Campus and in the Parkway Building on Drexel’s Center City Campus. Students in the department’s programs get the opportunity to work with faculty in these clinical settings to help refine their patient care skills.  The faculty believe that co-treating patients with developing clinicians helps to foster strong, innovative clinical decision making skills in its graduating clinicians.

Additionally, Drexel’s clinical practice facilities are closely aligned with its research labs and other disciplines within the college so that faculty and students have the opportunity to make connections between patient care and discoveries in the lab as well as appreciate the interaction amongst the entire healthcare team.  The College of Nursing and Health Professions includes Nurses, Physician Assistants, Couple and Family Therapists, Nutritionists, and Creative Art Therapists.  A 37,000 square foot multidisciplinary clinical and research facility on the center city campus helps facilitate interaction amongst these groups and provides opportunities for each discipline to contribute to optimal patient care.


Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
Become a competent, compassionate and innovative physical therapist.

Doctor of Health Science in Rehabilitation Sciences (DHSc)
Take a leadership role as an educator and master clinician in Rehabilitation Sciences.

Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Sciences (PhD)
Prepare for a leadership role as a researcher and educator in rehabilitation sciences.

Certificate in Advanced Practice in Hand and Upper Quarter Rehabilitation
If you are a PT or an OT, participate in advanced study of the hand and upper quarter rehabilitation—designed for occupational and physical therapists.

Certificate in Advanced Practice in Pediatric Rehabilitation
Participate in advanced study of pediatric rehabilitation—designed for occupational and physical therapists.

Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program
Participate in a comprehensive curriculum of didactic and structured mentorship to develop into evidence-based practitioners ready and able to advance the profession and patient care in the community.

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Faculty

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News & Events



Maggie O’Neil, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, was invited to participate in a visiting research professor lectureship as a part of her sabbatical in the spring. O’Neil was invited to participate in research activities and seminars at the University of Queensland from March 10- 25, 2014.  Stewart Trost, a professor at the University of Queensland’s (UQ) Department of Human Movement Studies, is a research collaborator on many of O’Neil’s grant projects that examine objective measures of physical activity in youth who have physical disabilities (cerebral palsy) and those with chronic conditions (obesity).  O’Neil was granted a Drexel International Travel Award to support her travel to Australia for this opportunity.

During her time at UQ, O’Neil worked closely with Trost on the data analysis and dissemination plan for the NIH R24 multi-site pilot study that was conducted in Boston, Massachusetts and Wilmington, Delaware. Trost is the expert research and statistical team member for this project, entitled “Measuring Physical Activity in Youth with Cerebral Palsy.” Therefore, it was very timely for Dr. O’Neil to accept and participate in this visiting research professor lectureship.

O'Neil in AustraliaAs a visiting professor, O’Neil attended research seminars conducted by faculty and international visiting professors in the Department of Human Movement Studies. She attended seminars and presented at the Queensland Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Research Center (QCPRRC), which is a collaborative center between the Royal Children’s Hospital and the University of Queensland. O’Neil was invited to present there by her research colleague, Roslyn Boyd, the director of the QCPRRC and an international research partner on former grants and publications.

O’Neil has submitted two manuscripts which were favorably reviewed and are now in revision. She is in the process of preparing three other manuscripts as an outcome of this project and visit. Further, O’Neil and Trost are collaborating on another grant that was recently funded. “I am very thankful for the Drexel International Travel Award to support my time in this wonderful opportunity!” O’Neil said.


Healthcare delivery often takes our students, alumni, faculty, and staff at the Drexel College of Nursing and Health Professions much farther than Philadelphia’s city limits, with opportunities extending to places all around the globe.

For the last five years, in partnership with the service organization Hearts In Motion, students, alumni, faculty, and staff from the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Department have traveled to Guatemala to provide care for hundreds of patients. This year, the group served over 180 native Guatemalans and even provided continuing education seminars for local physical therapists and students.

Guatemala tripAccording to Sarah Wenger, an assistant clinical professor in the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Department, “Watching the students helping and experiencing a new culture was grounding. It seemed that the students felt fortunate to be there.”

A country with a severe lack of access to healthcare resources and professionals, coupled with the lowest literacy rate in Central America, Physical Therapy students were exposed to the real health issues facing the world today. According to Kevin Gard, a clinical professor in the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Department, the local government-operated hospitals are crowded and have a different standard for cleanliness than most American hospitals. “It was jaw-dropping,” he said.

Drexel’s five year history of providing clinical physical therapy services in Guatemala has grown rapidly over the years. “The neat thing is that this trip has evolved,” explained Gard. “It used to be just a simple volunteering trip, but now we ask ourselves about how we can make a bigger impact and about what happens when we aren’t there.” For the faculty, alumni, and students, many of whom have attended several if not all of the trips to Guatemala, the experience is life-altering and affects their careers in the United States. 

For both Drs. Wenger and Gard, they noted that the native Guatemalans were so happy and thankful for the efforts of Drexel’s team. “We were providing people with care they didn’t have, and they were just really grateful,” said Gard.

This trip also opened up the opportunity for students and faculty to work together like they never have before. “When we go to Guatemala, the formalness of the faculty-student relationship kind of goes away when ultimately trying to help the patient. It was good for students to see faculty in this hands-on role, as opposed to the role of a lecturer,” elaborated Gard.

When asked why he returns to Guatemala year after year, alumnus Tony Greco, DPT ‘11, says that it’s a nice break from the norm. “I don’t have to justify care to an insurance carrier who may or may not care if the patient actually gets better,” Greco said. “I get to treat a diverse range of problems and work on my Spanish- all things I don’t get to do at home. The people are very gracious, very thankful for the help we give them. It’s a blast.”

For Greco, who has attended the trip every year since its inception, the service opportunity has had a significant impact on the way he treats patients in the United States. “It’s helped me cultivate a ‘do a lot with a little’ mentality when I’m in the clinic,” he said. “I’m prescribing exercise with minimal to no equipment, just as I would in Guatemala.” Greco has a “No Excuses” program, the core tenet of which being that “you can do your homework just about anywhere, without being weighed down by or tied to gimmicky equipment.”

For Wenger, this trip is only the beginning of what she and other faculty hope will be a lasting commitment by Drexel physical therapists. “We would love to keep relationships going strong with the physical therapists in Guatemala City. We are looking to extend our impact even more and are also looking to get more students to volunteer.” This is the first year during which several of the faculty members provided continuing education programming for practitioners in Guatemala City.

To access photos and additional accounts of this year’s trip to Guatemala, please visit


Melanie Carminati, DPT ’14, BS ‘11 joined East Northport Physical Therapy in New York as a physical therapist.

Katie Gallagher, ACE ‘13 was appointed to the women's lacrosse coaching staff at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. In addition, she coaches for Step Up Lacrosse, where she develops and presents material on collegiate athletes and recruitment and delivers lacrosse training and education to athletes in areas within Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia, Washington D.C., Oregon, California and New Jersey. Gallagher previously served as women's lacrosse coach at Eastern High School in Voorhees, New Jersey. Also, she spent six years with Elevate Lacrosse Camps in Baltimore, working with top head coaches to develop summer league camps and seminars regarding the recruitment process in Division I lacrosse.

Robert Longenecker, DPT ’14, a physical therapist, has joined HARTZ Physical Therapy in Lititz, Pennsylvania. Longenecker is responsible for directing the rehabilitation process of individuals with orthopedic impairments and to help them return to, and exceed, their prior functional levels. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and the Pennsylvanian Physical Therapy Association. His specialties include lower extremity and overuse injury treatment.

Allison Parker, MS, RD, LDN Nutrition and Food, ’03 was interviewed in an article, “Dietitian Spotlight Series: Allison Parker, Grocery Store RD,” on nutritionist Megan Ware’s website. Parker is a registered and licensed dietitian for Mariano’s, a brand grocery store with locations in the Chicago area. Previously, she worked as a clinical dietitian at Strong Memorial Hospital and for the U.S. Apple Association.

Judith Smith, MS, Medical Technology, MCP ‘81 Vice President, In Vitro Diagnostics and Quality, Translational and Regulatory Sciences at Precision for Medicine, presented a webinar on submitting data to the FDA.

Jennifer Vonarb,  MPT, HU ’87 was interviewed in an article, "Conejo Valley Physical Therapy aims to use experience to improve patient care," in the Ventura County Star newspaper in California in which she discussed her career as a physical therapist and owning her own business. Vonarb, a licensed physical therapist and certified lymphedema therapist, is the owner of Conejo Valley Physical Therapy in Thousand Oaks, California.

Angela “Sadio” Watson, MCPHU ‘01 was profiled in an article, “African dancer Angela Watson shares healing power of dance, drumming,” featured in Allentown, Pennsylvania’s newspaper, The Morning Call. Watson performed a show called "Healing African Drums" at the Allentown Public Library as a part of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council's Commonwealth Speaker program. She is a former Fulbright scholar and the founder of Camara Arts, a Philadelphia-based organization whose mission is to research, preserve and teach traditional African folk arts.

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