For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

 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.

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

View Profiles

News & Events



On January 11, US News and World Report published their 2017 Best Jobs list and 52 of the top 100 are in health care. Nurse practitioner and physician assistant are number two and three on that list with no surprise as the demand for more skilled health care professionals skyrockets. Susannah Snider, personal finance editor at U.S. News said in a press release about the jobs list, "Health care jobs often require a human element, so they can't be exported or entirely replaced by robots – at least not yet.
“Continued growth in the health care sector, low unemployment rates and high salaries make these jobs especially desirable. Plus, individuals can pursue a range of health care positions that require varying levels of skill and education," furthered Snider. While the opportunities for PAs and NPs expand practically every specialty — orthopedics, endocrinology, cardiology, pediatrics — a reported 80% of nurse practitioners choose primary care whereas a study from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) states physician assistants tend to practice outside of primary care. 
Regardless of the position a person chooses, it’s all good news for CNHP. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics cited nurse practitioner and physician assistant among the fastest growing occupations with 35% and 30% growth respectively. This expansion can be attributed to a few factors including a move to patient-centered care models and an aging population. But another reason is the expansion of coverage for an additional 20 million people through Affordable Care Act. “The ACA recognized physician assistants as an essential part of the solution to the primary care shortage by formally acknowledging them as one of the three primary care health providers,” said Patrick Auth, PhD, MS, PA-C, CNHP clinical professor and department chair. “They also committed to expanding the number of PAs by providing financial support for scholarships and loan forgiveness programs, as well as by funding the training of 600 new PAs,” he continued.
“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed millions of Americans to have access to insurance to pay for the cost of their health care. That meant hospitals and providers reduced their cost of indigent care.  While these figures have presented a hopeful outlook on what new health care reform may mean, one recent report has portrayed a potentially much different outcome.
The study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund revealed repealing the ACA, likely starting with the insurance premium tax credits and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility would result in a doubling in the number of uninsured Americans while having widespread economic and employment impacts. In 2019, the study predicts a loss of 2.6 million jobs nation-wide, primarily in the private sector, with around a third of them in the health care industry. Pennsylvania could see around 137,000 jobs lost. 
Elizabeth W. Gonzalez, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, associate professor and department chair of the doctoral nursing program and Kymberlee Montgomery, DrNP, CRNP-BC, CNE ’09, associate clinical professor and department chair of the nurse practitioner program, both suggest that it is too early to tell what any real impact will be to healthcare or employment. “The ACA also lowered Medicare spending by allowing people to enter into share savings plans with accountable care organizations where providers are reimbursed based on the quality, not the quantity, of their services,” Gonzalez said. “This emphasis on quality has resulted in significant savings, lower cost of health care for seniors, individuals with disabilities, low income families, and children. The ACA encourages a focus on the patient experience and this has led to some wonderful innovations because clinicians are being paid to focus on ways to enhance the quality of the care they provide patients,” she added. 
“The Affordable Care Act introduced patients to the role of the nurse practitioner. Patients were forced to see us for primary care — nurse practitioners provided care at a lower cost,” stated Montgomery. “Now patients want to see us because of the level of care we provided.” There are just so many unknowns where the ACA is concerned. While the current administration seems determined to repeal the law, they haven’t yet put forth a replacement that will provide affordable healthcare for those who would undoubtedly lose what they currently have. It’s uncertain whether a new law might be proposed that would guarantee that no jobs created under the ACA are lost or if patient outcomes will decline.” But both Gonzalez and Montgomery feel that advanced practice nursing will continue to be a cost effective way to deliver outstanding clinical services. While it’s tough to speculate, Montgomery thinks opportunities for nurse practitioners will continue to grow regardless. “Who knows, it might make it better for the nurse practitioner especially because we provide high-quality, comprehensive care at lower costs,” she said.

By: Roberta Perry and Kinzey Lynch `17



Leon F. Vinci, DHA, CNHP adjunct faculty in Health Sciences Administration, was selected as national Technical Adviser for Climate Change with theNational Environmental Health Association (NEHA) for 2016 - 2017. 

NEHA is an international organization with over 5,000 members with the mission “To advance the environmental health professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all.” NEHA is recognized as having achieved an established standard of excellence known as the Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian credential.

As the Climate Change technical advisor, Vinci will review and provide guidance to the NEHA Annual Educational Conference concerning presentations and research in the field of Climate Change and its intersection with human health.

CNHP second-year DPT students won the 2016-17 VCU-Marquette Challenge’s November “Challenge of the Month!” The VCU-Marquette Challenge is a national competition between physical therapy schools to raise money for the Foundation for Physical Therapy for PT research. For this year's Marquette Challenge, CNHP DPT students created a variety of prints from stamps that were carved into linoleum blocks. Images were related to movement and PT as well as their hometown cities. Their prize is a Whole Foods gift card to share.

The John and Jinnie Chapel ACHIEVE Center and Dragon Lounge opened on January 18 as the culmination of several years of work by CNHP professor Nyree Dardarian, MS, RD, LDN ‘06. This space is a “hang-out” for student-athletes where they can take advantage of the fueling station. The station extends access to nourishment before and after practice and gives athletes an opportunity to meet and interact with the Dragon’s sports dietitian (and alumna), Andrea Grasso Irvine, MS, RD, LDN ‘13 and Drexel nutrition sciences interns. 

Roberta Waite, EdD, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, ANEF, professor and assistant dean of Academic Integration and Evaluation of Community Programs, doctoral nursing department, participated at the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and American Academy of Nursing. The topic of the January 11 panel discussion, moderated by CNHP’s Professor and Dean Emerita Gloria Donnelly, PhD, RN, FAAN, FCPP was “Registered Nurses: Partners in Transforming Primary Care: A Critical Conversation.” 

Waite addressed using practices and positive outcomes of nurse-led health centers to enhance curricula and reconfigure clinical experiences for nursing programs. She also spoke to how these centers might partner with acute care settings to integrate efforts and focus even more acutely on social determinants of health.

Judging by the questions Donnelly prepared for the panel, a big focus was on evolving primary care delivery and how the nursing profession might contribute to the next ten years, what that looks like for the job market, for improving care experiences and reducing per capita costs.


Maggie O'Neil, PhD, PT, MPH, ’99, associate professor, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, and Paul Diefenbach, PhD, associate professor, Digital Media Department, Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, were invited to present at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health Special Needs Consortium on January 17, 2016.

A common theme for the event was the use of technology in working with children with special needs and their families. O’Neil and Diefenbach presented and PSNC participants tried their customized games to promote active recreation, health, fitness and fun children with special needs.

A study which CNHP Creative Arts Therapies faculty Girija Kaimal, EdD, MCAT ‘01 conducted about the effects of creativity in reducing cortisol was cited in Reader’s Digest Canada. Kaimal was also featured in HERe adding her expertise about using art therapy to help stave off employee burnout. 

Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, an associate professor in doctoral nursing and nutrition sciences was featured on Fox29 News about a new treatment for chronic wounds.

Paul Nolan, MCAT, MT-BC, LPC , ’82, adjunct faculty and former director of the music therapy program, was featured on Newsworks about making resolutions for the New Year that actually work.

Chair of the nutrition sciences program Stella Volpe, PhD, RD, LDN, FACSM and vice chair and director of doctorate physical therapy program Kevin Gard ‘92 were interviewed about staying healthy during the winter months for

Stephen F. Gambescia, PhD, MEd, MBA, MHum, MCHES, clinical professor of health services administration drafted an opinion piece in PennLive about the banning of e-cigarettes.

Nancy Gerber, PhD, MCAT ’77, associate clinical professor and the director of the doctoral creative art therapies program, was interviewed by about coloring being a respite from the crazy, fast-paced lives we lead.


Nyree Dardarian, MS, Human Nutrition ’06, was quoted in Men's Health magazine in an article on the causes of heartburn. 
Alyssa Robertson, MSN ’11, joined DeSales University as an instructor of nursing in the Department of Nursing and Health. 
Olubola Sode, BSN ‘06, has been promoted from nursing administrative supervisor to chief nursing officer and vice president for patient services at the Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation in Pomona, New Jersey. 
Meghan Bubnis, DPT, DPT ‘06, will open Mindful Movement LLC in October, a fitness studio and rehabilitation clinic that offers group and private instruction in Allentown, Pennsylvania. 
Julia Burton, CRNP, MSN ‘16, joined Mount Nittany Physician Group Pediatrics as a certified registered nurse practitioner. 
More News & Events