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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.

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



Dr. Dana Kemery has been selected to receive a Medallion Award at Rowan University in honor of her dissertation work. She will receive this honor at a special ceremony that is part of Rowan's upcoming graduation.
During the Nurse Anesthesia Program Class of 2017’s graduation program on May 4th, Joseph Rubertone, PhD, MPT, Associate Clinical Professor in Health Sciences and Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Departments was awarded the “Didactic Instructor of the Decade” by the graduating students.
The Physician Assistant Class of 2016 earned a 100% pass rate for first-time takers on the Physician Assistant Certification Examination.
Nihad Almasri, a Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences alumna was featured in the 40 Under 40 group this year. She is a BSN graduate and now working as a human rights advocate for the United Nations.
Nancy Gerber, PhD, Natalie Carlton and CAT PhD students traveled to the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry in Urbana, IL at the University of Illinois. Two of our first year PhD students, art therapist Jessica Drass and music therapist Ming Yuan Low, participated in all aspects of the conference and presented with Gerber and Carlton on a panel entitled "Translation in Arts Based Research: A Creative Arts Therapies Perspective."  The presentation was well received with lively conversation.  This annual international conference attracts scholars from 40 countries and delivers presentations on a variety of approaches to qualitative research including arts-based research, mixed methods research, ethnography and autoethnography, grounded theory and more. The conference is committed to a theme of social justice and political action using research to contribute to diminishing cultural disparities, oppression and prejudices. 
A CNHP clinical professor was among the recipients of a Provost Award for Outstanding Scholarly Productivity. Denise Wolf, MA, ATR-BC, LPC received the Adjunct Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence at this year’s Provost's Awards for Teaching, Scholarship and Professional Service.
Sponsored Research
Girijia Kaimal, EdD is the recipient if a 2017 Faculty Summer Research Award for a project titled Assessing the Feasibility of Virtual Reality-Based Art Therapy (VR-BAT). The proposed project is a mixed methods pilot research study that will examine the feasibility of virtual reality-based art therapy (VR-BAT) sessions by collecting qualitative and quantitative outcomes data on a range of tools including Tiltbrush (a digital painting tool used to create three-dimensional images in virtual reality (VR)).  Virtual reality therapies have been used in the past for reducing phobias and delusions but the applicability for creative arts therapies has not yet been examined. Art therapy is a mental health profession that offers patients/ clients non-verbal forms of self-expression as a means to learn about self and function more effectively in the world (  This would be the first study of its kind to examine the effectiveness of these creative virtual digital tools to enhance psychological health and well-being through creativity, interactivity, and problem solving in an immersive environment. The funds are to try feasibility of virtual reality technology for art therapy. The research team includes the research project team includes Natalie Carlton, PhD, Abby Dougherty , PhD and Arun Ramakrishnan, PhD.
Jerome Dugan, PhD and Layla Booshehri, PhD have been awarded an R03 grant from the National Institutes of Health for their project entitled Reducing Health Disparities Among Minority Households Through Improved Financial Decision Making: Evidence from Negative Income Transfers Generated by the Affordable Care Act. 
The investigators will examine the impact of recent health regulation on the economic security of households and the financial strategies households can utilize to reduce health disparities. Drs. Dugan and Booshehri are the co-PIs of the Health Economics Analytics Laboratory (HEAL), where they apply computational and data-driven techniques to address policy failures in the health and welfare systems.
Publication and Presentations
Work by Janell Mensinger, PhD have been accepted for publication and/or presentation. It includes:
Paper presentation titled Changing physical activity: The cost of weight stigma at the 5th Annual International Weight Stigma Conference, Prague, Czech Republic. (Mensinger, J.L., & Meadows, A. (June, 2017)).
Senior Health Science student Margaret Calamari was selected to presenting the research she and Mensinger are working on together at the 1st annual Week of Undergraduate Excellence (May 1-5, 2017). The title of the presentation: Exploring Mediating Mechanisms Relating Weight Status to Healthcare Avoidance
Mensinger, J.L., & Meadows, A. (2017). Internalized weight stigma mediates and moderates physical activity outcomes during a healthy living program for women with high BMI. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 30, 64-72. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2017.01.010
Hill C. R., Feltz, D. L., & Samendinger, S. (2017). The relationship between barrier self-efficacy and physical activity in adolescents: A meta-analytic review. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity. San Diego, USA.
Finley, M, Goodstadt, N, Soler, D, Somerville, K, Friedman, Z, Ebaugh, D. Reliability and validity of active and passive pectoralis minor muscle length measures. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy (2017,)
Michael Bruneau Jr, PhD accepted an invitation to be an invited speaker for an “Exercise and Fitness in Obesity” symposium at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting in Harrisburg, PA on November 3rd and 4th. He also accepted an invitation from the editor to write an editorial commentary entitled "Traditional vs. Nontraditional Risk Factor Assessment in Chronic Kidney Disease: A Case for Laser Doppler flowmetry?" that was published ahead of print for the May edition of the Journal of Hypertension.
Samendinger, S., Forlenza, S. T., Winn, B., Max, E.J., Kerr, N.L., Pfeiffer, K. A., & Feltz, D. L. (in review; Psychology of Sport & Exercise) Introductory Dialogue and Köhler Group Dynamics in Software-Generated Workout Partners.
The dissertation of Stephen Samendinger, PhD was nominated and an award application package was submitted this month for the J. Richard Hackman Award for the Dissertation that Most Significantly Advances the Study of Groups. The award sponsor organization is INGroup (Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research). The award recipient will be selected in May and is then recognized at the INGRoup conference this summer, and on the INGRoup website, receives a commemorative plaque, and receives complementary registration and an invitation to present their dissertation in a feature session at the 2018 INGRoup conference.


A team of health services administration students, all Drexel Society of Future Health Leaders members presented a case at the Health Care Leadership Network  of the Delaware Valley’s (HLNDV) 2nd Annual Student Case competition. Based on a report created by Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania abstracts were submitted on solution to the issue of  ‘primary care desserts.’  Competition was tough, as we competed with undergraduate students, as well graduate student from the Philadelphia area .This was a great experience that truly emphasized the importance of teamwork in the world of health care.
There were six students, in total, from CNHP. One group included Nick Mahoney, Karol Zhong and Julie Knerr and the other, finishing in second place, included Kelley Martin, Toni Ross and Maureen Dorce. 
A paper by health sciences student Taylor Collins and her professor, Krista L. Rompolski, PhD has been published. “Hypothalamic Amenorrhea: Causes, Complications & Controversies” appears in Journal of Student Research in Volume 6, Issue 1.
Stella Lucia Volpe, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences, was the recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award at the Annual Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN) Symposium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The award recognizes Volpe’s outstanding contribution to research in the field of dietetics and her commitment to scholarship.
Margaret Finley, PT, PhD, associate professor, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, is one of six faculty to receive a career development award from the Office of Faculty Affairs for 2017- 2018. The award is designed for tenure-track faculty members to increase their exposure to colleagues at other institutions who will be mentors and collaborators. Finley’s proposal is the "Biopsychosocial Approach to Musculoskeletal Pain with Applications to Spinal Cord Injury." As part of her award activities, Finley will visit the labs of Richard Shields, PT, PhD, FAPTA and Laura Frey Law, PT, PhD at the University of Iowa. Steven George, PT, PhD, Duke University, and Shields will give presentations at Drexel University. Collectively, the mentors will provide a foundation for application of genetic phenotype biomarkers and measurement of psychosocial behaviors in adults with spinal cord injuries. 
Ryan J. Clancy, MSHS, MA, PA-C, DFAAPA, clinical instructor in the physician assistant program, has been recognized as a Distinguished Fellow of AAPA. Clancy earned this national recognition due to his outstanding contributions to patient care and the profession during his years as a physician assistant. He also demonstrated significant dedication and involvement in the community of Philadelphia.
Health Administration Press (HAP) will be publishing a book co-edited by Stephen F. Gambescia, PhD, MEd, MBA, MHum, MCHES, professor in health services administration about “Managing the Nonprofit Health Organization in the New Economy.” HAP is a leading publisher of health administration and is affiliated with the Association of Health Care Executives (AHCE).
CNHP is hosting the 6th Annual Philadelphia Area Simulation Consortium: Assessment and Evaluation in Simulation on June 15, 2017. The consortium provides opportunity for specialty-specific breakout sessions, presentations featuring innovative uses of simulation for education, research, simulation technicians, and administrators; and to promote regional networking for hospital based and academic simulation centers. Key note speakers include Tony Errichetti, PhD, CHSE and Kathie Lasater, EdD, RN, ANEF, FANN.
Sherry Goodill, PhD, BC-DMT, NCC, LPC, Creative Arts Therapies department chair, moderated a panel discussion, "The Arts and Healing" on Thursday, April 6 as part of a performance by Jessica Lang Dance at the Prince Theater, presented by NextMove Dance. The panel also included veteran Mike Mulligan, who spoke about his use of the arts in his recovery and healing process. The performance that followed featured all new work by Jessica Lang Dance, including "Thousand Yard Stare," a physically riveting tribute to veterans set to Beethoven's String Quartet #15. The title refers to the blank and bewildered gaze of the shell-shocked soldier returning from war. 
The official establishment of The Center for Family Intervention Science (CFIS), the first research center in the College of Nursing and Health Professions was recently announced. The Center is directed by Guy Diamond, PhD, associate professor and faculty member in the Couple and Family Therapy department. The CFIS will foster interprofessional collaborations among faculty interested in research that promotes family strengths and reduces barriers to child and family health and wellbeing. The Center is committed to working with diverse populations throughout the life span and in both university and community settings. PhD students and post-doctoral fellows in the College interested in family-centered interventions will have opportunities to engage in Center activities. The Center will also support training, clinical, and policy-related activities related to family intervention science. 
Sponsored Research
Brandy-Joe Milliron, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Nutrition Sciences was awarded $22,300 for her project Heart Healthy Cooking Lab: Youth Exploring Wellness through Gardening. 
Clare Milner, PhD, associate professor, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, was awarded $14,000 for her project Impact Shock and Risk of Stress Fracture in Walking, Marching and Running. 
Both projects involve interprofessional research teams. Funding is for one year. The findings will enable the investigators to apply for extra-mural funding.
Ming Yuan Low, student in PhD Program in Creative Arts Therapy was recently awarded a research grant by the Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Music Therapy Association for his study entitled ‘The Music Interaction Scale: Examining Inter-rater Reliability of a New Nordoff-Robbins Scale’. This study will be in collaboration with the AJ Autism Institute at Drexel and the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Center at New York University. Low’s research advisor is Joke Bradt, PhD, MT-BC, Associate Professor, Department of Creative Arts Therapies.


Joseph M. Grosso, Jr. (AS, Physical Therapist Assistant, HU, `90; BS, Health Science & Society, HU, `92) is now an employee benefits senior sales representative at OneAmerica.
Stefani Tsirigotis, NP (MSN `17) joined the trauma and acute care surgery department at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital as a nurse practitioner.
Petros Arzoumanidis’ (BS, Health Science, `11) business, Workout Anywhere in Woodbury, New York, won "Best of Long Island" in Medical Health News.
Sarah Spader, PA (BS, Health Science, `15; MHS, Physician Assistant, `17), a physician assistant at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, passed the Physician’s Assistant National Certifying Exam in January.
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