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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



All About Stephanie:

I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio where the first 18 years of my life consisted of hours upon hours of dance classes and dance competitions. I also have a great passion for travel and learning new languages. My favorite place in the world is Israel; I‘ve traveled there seven times! While in high school I sought out Drexel University for its 3+3 BS/DPT program and locale in the middle of an east coast city. My three undergrad years at Drexel were great and flew by quickly. I was a dancer and choreographer in the Drexel Dance Ensemble, spending my free time exploring Philly and the surrounding big cities. PT school started a whole new chapter where my classmates became my family members. I left the east coast for my first two clinical experiences at a large trauma hospital in Albuquerque and an outpatient clinic in downtown Chicago. The three years of PT school at Drexel were so special thanks to the amazing faculty members. Each professor greatly inspired and motivated me to be a part of this profession.

What made you decide to pursue a degree in Physical Therapy?

With a passion for dance, I knew I wanted to pursue a kinesthetic career and one that would help people. Physical Therapy is exactly that. Initially I had hoped to become a therapist for a large dance company working closely with dancers, but after my undergraduate co-op experience as a therapy aide at Magee Rehab hospital my interests shifted to that of neurorehab. Specifically, stroke recovery.

Where are you working now?

I live in Los Angeles, California and work at Glendale Memorial Hospital. I have a unique opportunity at this hospital where I can treat patients in acute care and also in the acute rehab facility. In the acute care hospital I see patients in every unit including the ICU. This area of Southern California is very diverse, and in a normal day of work I speak 5-7 different languages!

What is your favorite part of being a Physical Therapist?

So many great aspects of this profession! How could I choose one? To start, I love having the opportunity to motivate my patients. Being a patient in the hospital is not easy; it is emotionally and physically draining. When I enter a patient’s room my goal is to get them out of bed and back to doing what they love, restoring a part of their dignity and independence. Therapists are some of the best listeners, teachers, friends, coaches, and shoulders/hips/thighs to lean on (literally).

You recently had a very interesting and ultimately rewarding experience.  Tell us about it.

On Friday, January 16, I was evaluating a patient that was set to be discharged from our hospital. He had been admitted for about 48 hours with Atrial Fibrillation. He was completely independent prior to admission, though during my evaluation he presented with moderate gait ataxia. It was odd since he had (-) finger to nose and (-) heel to shin tests. His blood pressure was high, and when the nurse attempted to give him blood pressure medicine, he kept coughing on the water. I immediately called the code for rapid response team, though the nurse was at the bedside telling me I was overreacting. Once the team came, they assessed for strength deficits and didn't find any. When they asked the patient to smile he had no facial droop. Then when I said he was having difficulty swallowing they asked the patient if he ate breakfast. The patient answered yes, he had eaten breakfast. I kept trying to explain that if he had a cerebellar infarct he wouldn't have strength deficits or a facial droop but I wasn't being heard. The rapid response team eventually left the room feeling that the patient was stable, but I was still uncomfortable. I begged the nurse for a stat CT and as it turned out, he had a cerebellar bleed.

It took a lot to go against what the nurse and rapid response team were telling me. I could've begged for this stat CT and very well have been wrong. I would've delayed discharge and scared the patient and his family for no reason. But, somehow I had the confidence to follow my intuition. I thank all of the Drexel PT faculty and staff for giving that to me.

In your account, you say that both the nurse and the rapid response team felt that the patient was stable and that he needed no CT.  What made you insist on the CT?

A common saying in healthcare is that strokes are like snowflakes; no two strokes are ever the same.  Yet, the nurses and those on the rapid response team have been trained to look for hemiparesis (weakness on one side of the body) or a facial droop when detecting a stroke. Physical Therapists have a more in-depth ability to assess for other signs including deficits in balance, coordination, and sensation. Three red flags were present that made me insist on the CT scan. First, the patient exhibited significant coordination deficits affecting balance and his ability to walk. This was a drastic difference in his functional ability from just two days prior. Second, the patient’s blood pressure was dangerously high. Lastly, while attempting to take medication the patient exhibited signs of difficulty swallowing.  I was resolute knowing that if a stroke had occurred in the cerebellum, the nurses wouldn’t see the signs they were looking for. With all three of these red flags, I felt our hospital would be doing a large disservice to the patient if we sent him home without further investigation.

Furthermore, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my professors here. I can recall countless soapbox lectures (ahem, Dr. Ebaugh) where they drilled into us the idea that as DPT’s we do have the expertise to stand our ground for our patients.  

What is your advice to students interested in a career in Physical Therapy?

If you want to be a motivator, someone that creates goals and then provides the tools to succeed, don’t let textbooks or hours of study deter you from choosing a career that will reward you every day. And if you do decide to pursue Physical Therapy, be open to learning about the many different patient populations that need your help.   


Whether by plane, train, or automobile, Drexel alumni, students, and friends converged in downtown Indianapolis to attend the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Combined Sections Meeting and Drexel University Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences reception on February 6, 2015.

In conjunction with APTA and the Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO), Drexel DPT students had the opportunity to network and connect with faculty and alumni who are now seasoned PT professionals.

The reception was part of a week filled with educational seminars, presentations, networking opportunities and forums. Students had the option to attend numerous seminars, which provided education in both beginner and advanced level topics such as Sports Orthopedics. Students also had the opportunity to attend daily poster forums where they could learn about current research being done by working PTs. Lastly, they were able to visit the “Exhibit Hall,” where several different sponsors and employers provided information about career opportunities and current trends in PT technology. Drexel College of Nursing and Health Professions also hosted a unique alumni event, where DPT students met Drexel PT faculty members and DPT alumni.

The benefits offered to students were endless. According to Drexel DPT student Kayla Kotteles, “I gained knowledge about different sections of physical therapy and learned about a lot of new research. I also really enjoyed being around people in my future profession for a few days and seeing the world of physical therapy. I gained confidence after attending the educational sessions and realizing I know so much of the information.” 


One of the best ways for students to find new opportunities, whether for employment, volunteering, mentoring, or personal growth, is by networking.  For this reason, the CNHP Alumni Network and CNHP Student Senate host an annual Alumni/Student Career Networking Event.  This year’s event, held on Thursday, February 26, was also sponsored by Drexel University Student Affairs. 

CNHP Alumni Network President Feruza Esanova, BSN ‘09, kicked the evening off with her own story mentioning how she went from Drexel grad to a nurse at Cornell Medical Center and Hospital for Special Surgery.  She then introduced a panel of CNHP alumni who told the crowd about their journey including their experiences at Drexel to what they’ve done since graduation to lead them to their present careers.  The panel members represented Doctoral, Graduate, and Undergraduate Nursing, as well as Nutrition Sciences and Physical Therapy.  Each had a very different story to tell and stressed that you should be open to any opportunity that comes your way.

  • Rita K. Adeniran, DNP ’11 – Following her basic nursing education from Lagos University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria, Adeniran earned her BSN at Wider University, a Master’s in Nursing Science and Health Care Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, and finally her Doctor of Nursing Practice at Drexel.  She previously served as the Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Global Ambassador of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, before becoming President and CEO of Innovative and Inclusive Global Solutions, as well as accepting a faculty appointment with Drexel Nursing and Health Professions.
  • Sara Nesheim, BSN ’10 – During her time at Drexel, Nesheim became the founder and president of Drexel’s chapter of the Student Nurses Association of Pennsylvania.  After graduation, she began her career as a baccalaureate prepared nurse at Hahnemann Hospital before branching out to Cancer Treatment Centers of America for additional ICU experience.  Nesheim recently moved to Cooper University Hospital’s ICU and Cardia Care Unit. 
  • Louise Baca, MSN ’06 – Baca earned her bachelor’s degree at Thomas Jefferson University and later came to Drexel to earn her master’s degree.  She worked in oncology nursing for over 15 years and is now the Administrator of the Oncology Service Line for Kennedy Health.  In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member in the RN to BSN program at Drexel. 
  • Abby Duffine Gilman, MS ’12 – Gilman is currently the Project Manager for the Health Futures Initiative, but worked as a clinical dietician after earning her bachelor’s degree in Health & Exercise Science from Syracuse University and her master’s degree in Human Nutrition from Drexel. Gilman is an adjunct faculty member at Drexel has also been published in two textbooks, highlighting her research in Magnesium & the Metabolic Syndrome and Child Obesity.
  • John Kristel, MPT ’97 – Kristel earned his bachelor’s degree from Temple University and his master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Drexel. He began his career in Physical Therapy before earning his MBA from Temple’s Fox School of Business.  He has held many roles, including Chief Operating Officer of Graduate Hospital, Director of Operations, Director of Rehabilitation, and Manager of Physical Therapy, each at Hahnemann University Hospital.  Kristel is now President & CEO of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation.

After the panel presentation, students and alumni were invited to enjoy refreshments and network with each other.  Niket Subhedar, HSAD ’15 said “Speaking with the alumni was great; John Kristel in particular because he came from a similar background in health care like me, but was also able to pursue an MBA, to make his passions for health care and business converge. As a student who is interested in both health care and business, it was awesome to learn about the path he took to get to where he is today.”

The Alumni/Student Career Networking Event takes place each February.  If you have any suggestions regarding future events or frequency, please contact

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