The Tufts Difference? Our Expert Faculty.
With more than 250 years of combined teaching experience, our faculty are trained educators who combine best teaching and learning approaches to deliver our rigorous, hybrid curriculum to the highest professional standards of excellence.
Trained for Online Teaching
The Tufts Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs were specifically designed and tailored to be hybrid from its inception. With this in mind, we recruited faculty with online teaching experience or provided them with the necessary training. They utilize best practices for creating an engaging, dynamic online teaching and learning environment.
Leaders in the Physical Therapy Profession
Tufts DPT faculty are more than excellent educators, they are regarded as leaders in the profession.
- At least 75% of our faculty are actively clinically practicing.
- Over 75% of our DPT faculty have demonstrated advanced clinical knowledge and clinical skills in physical therapy specialty areas.
- All of our Tufts DPT faculty are highly involved in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and other professional associations.
Dedicated to Students' Interprofessional Development
Most importantly, our faculty is dedicated to student growth, and as a student in our DPT program you will have regular access to support and guidance from our faculty either through the academic coaching model in Boston or in your learning community in Phoenix and Seattle.
Learn more about our teams below. Full faculty profiles are available online.
Leadership & Teams
Eric Hegedus, PT, DPT, PhD, MHSc, serves as the chair and professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, under which the DPT programs are housed. Hegedus has had a notable 30-year career as a leader and innovator in physical therapist education, research, and clinical practice. He won the American Physical Therapy Association’s Orthopedic Section James a Gould Teaching Award, a national award given to the single most deserving teaching professor annually. He also was a four-time winner of the “Duke DPT Excellence in Teaching” award and a three-time nominee for Duke Medical Center’s prestigious Master Clinician Educator Award. His research seeks to answer relevant clinical questions in the orthopedic, sports diagnosis and rehabilitation realm and translate the findings to clinical practice.
Alexis A. Wright, PT, PhD, DPT, serves as the program director for the Tufts DPT Boston program. Wright has been invested in DPT education since 2011. Wright was recognized as a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists in 2011 and achieved APTA board-certified orthopedic specialization in 2015. Wright is also a 2019 graduate of the Education Leadership Institute Fellowship through the APTA. She is a frequent research presenter at state, national, and international meetings and a productive author with over 55 peer-reviewed manuscripts in the area of orthopedic physical therapy. Wright currently serves as a content expert item writer for the Orthopaedic Specialty Council of the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. Previous roles included APTA Lecture Awards Subcommittee, APTA Awards Committee, and Nominating Committee Chair of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists. Wright is a 2007 recipient of the Emerging Leader Award for the American Physical Therapy Association and a 2012 recipient of the Dorothy Briggs Memorial Scientific Inquiry Award for the American Physical Therapy Association.
Anthony Carroll, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, FAAOMPT, serves as the director of clinical education. Carroll is a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist and fellow of the American Academy of Manual Physical Therapists. He has served as a clinical educator in various capacities since 2012, including developing and directing a Manual Fellowship Program, providing clinical training for DPT students, residents, and fellows. He has significant teaching experience in an entry-level DPT program and serving as faculty in both a Sports and Orthopedic Residency Program. In addition, he has experience as a site coordinator of clinical education and course coordinator for integrated clinical experiences. Clinically his expertise is in the treatment of spine and chronic pain disorders.
Jennifer Parent-Nichols, DPT, EdD, is a core faculty member and serves as the associate program director and director of student affairs. At Tufts, Parent-Nichols serves on the School of Medicine Anti-Racism (ARC) Committee and the PHPD Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism (DEAR) Committee. She is certified as a pediatric clinical specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. In addition, she has earned certification as a brain injury specialist, provides educational series for the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire, and serves on the advisory board to implement the Return to Learn law in New Hampshire. She also serves as the Chair of the Membership Committee for the Pediatric Academy of the American Physical Therapy Association. She has worked extensively in pediatrics with experience in early intervention, school-based and outpatient therapy, and adolescent sports medicine. Her research areas include neonatal resuscitation, pediatric bracing, pediatric and adolescent sports medicine, and education.
Kimberly Tyler, PT, DPT, serves as the director of clinical education. She is a clinical specialist in neurologic physical therapy through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. Tyler's clinical background and expertise include spinal cord injury rehabilitation. She has been involved in physical therapy education and mentoring for over 17 years with entry-level students and residency-trained physical therapists.
Craig Wassinger, PT, PhD, serves as the director of research and faculty development. Wassinger has been a physical therapist for over 20 years. He has taught entry-level physical therapy students and post-graduate students, residents, and fellows in New Zealand and the United States since 2008. His primary areas of teaching include musculoskeletal exam and rehabilitation, biomechanics, and pain science. In addition, Wassinger is an active scholar with research interests in musculoskeletal pain, shoulder rehabilitation, and educational technologies.
Mark Wilhelm, PT, DPT, PhD, serves as the director of admissions and is a core faculty. He received the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Dean's Excellence in Research Award for the School of Health Professions for his clinical musculoskeletal rehabilitation research and support area of clinical biomechanics research. Wilhelm's scholarship includes over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, and he has co-authored two book chapters. In addition, he serves and treats underserved migrant workers at a pro bono clinic in Northeast Ohio seasonally.
Josh Cleland, PT, PhD, FAAOMPT, FAPTA, serves as core faculty and has published over 300 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals. In addition, he serves the profession in research as an editor for the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy. Cleland is a well-known speaker at national and international levels and has delivered more than 225 keynote lectures and presentations in over 25 countries. He is the recipient of numerous awards from the American Physical Therapy Association, including the Jack Walker Award, the Eugene Michels New Investigator Award, the Chattanooga Research Award, the Rothstein Golden Pen Award for Scientific Writing, the Dorothy Baethke-Eleanor J. Carlin Award for Excellence in Academic Teaching, and the Catherine Worthingham Fellowship Award. He also received Rose Excellence in Research Award in 2013, 2014, and 2015 from the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy.
Jason E. Cook, PT, DPT, PhD, has 13 years of experience teaching in DPT education and serves as core faculty. Cook is a board-certified pediatric specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. Cook teaches and focuses his clinical care in the areas of neurologic and pediatric physical therapy. His research is in care management, comfort, and well-being of individuals with severe forms of cerebral palsy and incorporating phenomenological and mixed methods into research design. He is a board member and Director of Membership, Communication, and PR of the APTA Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy.
Aaron Embry, PT, DPT, PhD, MSCR is a core faculty member of the TUFTS DPT Boston Faculty joining from South Carolina. He completed his graduate clinical and PhD training at the Medical University of South Carolina and has clinical and research experience primarily with individuals with neurological conditions. His dissertation focused on gait analysis of individuals with below knee amputation and analogous healthy control participants wearing a solid ankle foot orthosis using visual feedback to promote symmetry. He has extensive experience in the provision of physical therapy services via telerehabilitation to Veterans with chronic neurological conditions and has worked as outpatient hospital based physical therapist. He has served the American Physical Therapy Association of South Carolina in various committees and is a former chapter president and delegate to the APTA House of Delegates. He has served the APTA DEI task force and committee for the last six years and an APTA Centennial Scholar and Association Leadership Scholar mentor for three years. He serves various community building organizations including the Ujima Institute and the Clemson Black Alumni Council.
Brandon Ness, PT, DPT, PhD, SCS, serves as core faculty. He completed a sports physical therapy residency program and became board-certified in sports physical therapy in 2015. Ness has seven years of teaching experience in both entry-level and post-professional physical therapy education. His clinical practice has primarily included physical therapy evaluation and treatment of NCAA Division I student-athletes and working in college student health. His scholarly interests involve the investigation of athletic injury assessment and rehabilitation. Ness has co-authored 17 publications, 13 professional presentations delivered at national/international conferences and received $24,000 in grant funding. Previously he served as a post-professional program director for a sports physical therapy residency program. He currently serves as a reviewer for several national peer-reviewed sports physical therapy journals.
Alicia Esposito O’Hara, PT, DPT, serves as core faculty. She is a board-certified neurological clinical specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. She has extensive experience mentoring students and clinicians as a Neurological Residency coordinator and senior clinical instructor. O'Hara is active in the American Physical Therapy Association, serving on PDEDGE and as a CPG article appraiser for the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy. She has presented both nationally and internationally in the areas of neurorehabilitation and high-intensity locomotor training. Her research interests include utilizing knowledge translation frameworks to optimize physical therapy outcomes. Her clinical experience includes treating patients with neurological conditions in acute care, inpatient, outpatient, and vestibular rehabilitation settings. She continues to maintain a clinical practice in the acute neurological care and ICU settings.
Neeti Pathare, PT, PhD, serves as core faculty. Pathare has practiced physical therapy in various settings, including acute care, sub-acute care, and outpatient clinics, with an emphasis on cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. She has taught in the entry-level DPT program for the last 14 years. Pathare's primary teaching responsibilities are in the areas of clinical research, cardiopulmonary system, and pharmacology. Her research interests are in the areas of cardiovascular disease and childhood obesity. Pathare has co-authored 22 publications, 45 presentations at national/international conferences and received $35,000 in funding for her scholarship. Pathare currently serves on APTA's Section of Research Communications Committee, Nominating Committee, and APTA's Academy of Education Research Committee. In addition, she serves as a reviewer for cardiovascular and pediatric physical therapy journals. She was awarded the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Sections' (APTA) Mentoring Award in 2014 as a recognition for mentoring professionals in this clinical area of practice. Pathare's research was the recipient of the Robert Salant Research award (New York Physical Therapy Association's conference) in 2011, 2013, and 2017.
Carla Sabus, PT, PhD, has over 17 years of teaching experience in physical therapy and simulation-based education. In addition, she has extensive training in simulation debriefing and feedback. Her clinical practice areas include acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, ALS management, and burn rehabilitation. She has been recognized by the Education Academy of the American Physical Therapy Association with the Distinguished Educator in Physical Therapist Education. Her research areas have investigated the organizational context of innovative and expert practice, simulation-based education, and topics in higher education.
Ron Schenk, PT, PhD, OCS, Dip MDT, FAAOMPT, serves as core faculty and is a fellow of the AAOMPT and is a diplomat in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy. He has served as a post-professional program director for the McKenzie Institute USA Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency and the McKenzie and Daemen OMPT Fellowship programs. He has taught musculoskeletal examination and intervention in professional and post-professional physical therapy programs for 30 years full-time. He has published and presented in relationship to is his clinical practice. His scholarship includes 31 peer-reviewed publications and 68 professional presentations delivered at national and international conferences. He has received the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists' Kaltenborn "Teach I Must" Award and the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Richard W. Bowling - Richard E. Erhard Orthopaedic Clinical Practice Award.
Moyo B. Tillery, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT, serves as core faculty. She is a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist by the American Boar of Physical Therapy Specialties and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists. She has over 11 years of clinical practice experience in the management of acute, occupational, neuromusculoskeletal disorders in the outpatient setting. She also has a strong background in clinical teaching as past regional coordinator of clinical education and clinical instructor to DPT students. Her areas of research interests include professional identity formation of student physical therapists, clinical reasoning frameworks, and the role of the manual physical therapist in the primary care management of acute musculoskeletal disorders. Her active service includes the American Physical Therapy Association, APTA NC, Academy of Orthopedics, Academy of Education, American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists, and the National Association of Black Physical Therapists.
Elizabeth (Betsy) Wonsetler, PT, DPT, PhD, serves as core faculty and the assistant director of student affairs. Wonsetler is a board-certified geriatric specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. Clinically, she practices in the acute care setting. Within the hospital setting, she promotes interdisciplinary and interprofessional internal education focusing on patient-centered care and safety. Wonsetler's research has used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to investigate how the nervous system controls movement in healthy individuals and those post neurologic injury. In addition, she has focused on understanding biomechanics regarding mechanisms that affect the recovery of gait post-stroke. Her scholarship goals moving forward include improving physical therapy interventions and patient outcomes for patients in the acute care setting.
Yakeisha L. Gray, who serves as the Administrative Coordinator for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Tufts University School of Medicine, received her bachelor's in Project Management from Wentworth Institute of Technology. Gray has been with Tufts since 2016 and has worked as a Student Academic Services Assistant in the Graduate Programs Office and a Staff Assistant in the Medical School's Student Affairs/Registrar's Office. In the role of Administrative Coordinator, Gray works closely with the Program Manager to provide day-to-day administrative functions of the Program and support staff for the Program Directors and Faculty. She also works with the Director of Student Services to provide a cohesive atmosphere for all students. In addition, Gray is available to answer any questions about the DPT program.
Dominique (Nicki) Reynolds serves as the Administrative Coordinator for the Clinical Education Team and the Director of Curriculum. In her previous role as Clinical Education Specialist at High Point University's DPT program, Reynolds was responsible for supporting the operations for the experiential learning portion of the program. Before moving to the United States, she worked as a licensed lymphedema therapist in Mexico City. Reynolds was also the Director of Physical Therapy at the Spanish Hospital and previously the National Oncology Rehabilitation Director. She graduated with honors from the physical therapy program at the UVM/ABC Hospital in Mexico and completed her B.S. at Brigham Young University. Consistent with her passion for lifelong learning, she is currently pursuing her MS in Healthcare Administration.
Patty Wagner, PT, serves as the Program Administrator of Clinical Education. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from Northeastern University. Clinically, Wagner has worked primarily in-home care as a therapist and Rehab Manager. She has also worked in acute rehab and sub-acute rehab as a Director of Rehabilitation. In addition, Wagner has been a Lab Instructor at Northeastern University. In her previous role, she served as Clinical Education Supervisor and Adjunct Faculty at Quincy College's PTA program for four years. She has also worked as Site Coordinator for Clinical Education and Clinical Instructor in several clinical settings.
Tawna Wilkinson, PT, DPT, PhD, serves as the program director. Wilkinson has taught in higher education since 2004. She previously served on the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (APTA) as vice-chair of the National Consortium of Clinical Educators and is a credentialed trainer for APTA’s Level 1 Credentialed Clinical Instructor Program.
Melissa Burgemeister, PT, DPT, LAT, ATC, serves as the co-director of student affairs for the DPT-Phoenix Program. Burgemeister has over fifteen years of clinical practice in outpatient orthopedics and sports settings. She has been teaching in higher education, including athletic training, PTA, and DPT programs, since 2006. Her research interests include effective pedagogical strategies for enhancing student learning and student learning outcomes in DPT education.
Tara Dickson, PT, DPT, PhD, serves as the director of clinical education. She is certified as an orthopedic clinical specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties and completed an orthopedic physical therapy residency. In her seven years as a faculty member, she earned the first-ever scholarship funded through the Education Endowment Fund from the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research. She serves nationally on the Nominating Committee for the Residency/Fellowship Education Special Interest Group in the APTA’s Academy of Physical Therapy Education.
Natalie O'Neal, PT, DPT, is the co-director of student affairs. She is a board-certified clinical specialist in geriatrics. She has 15 years experience in acute care, inpatient rehab, and underserved populations. She grew up in rural Montana as a member of the Ft. Peck Assiniboine & Sioux tribes and has spent her career on American Indian/Alaskan Native health issues including founding the first physical therapy network dedicated to AI/AN populations. She is an international speaker on Indigenous health and education outreach. She was selected for the inaugural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for APTA, and she has nine years of teaching experience in DPT and PTA education.
Angela Spontelli Gisselman, PT, PhD, DPT, serves as the director of admissions and is an ABPTS-certified orthopaedic specialist. Gisselman has ten years of clinical practice in outpatient orthopedics and sports settings. Her primary area of scholarship focuses on the role of monitoring the autonomic nervous system via heart rate variability, and its applications in rehabilitation. She serves nationally and internationally as the deputy editor-in-chief for Physical Therapy Reviews.
Linda J. Woodhouse, PT, PhD, is the director of research and faculty development. She has an international reputation with more than 30 years of experience as a clinician, educator, and researcher. In Canada, she served as the inaugural endowed chair in physical therapy (2011-2016), scientific director for Alberta Health Services’ Provincial Bone & Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network (2012-2015), and president of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (2015-2017). In Australia, she was head of the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science (2019-2021) at Curtin University. Her research is predominantly in the musculoskeletal area, developing and evaluating innovative models of integrated interprofessional care.
Kim Dao, PT, DPT, serves as core faculty with primary responsibilities in clinical neuroscience and neurologic practice management. She is a board-certified clinical specialist in neurologic physical therapy with more than fifteen years of clinical practice in acute care, rehabilitation, and outpatient settings. Prior to joining Tufts, she taught physical therapy in a distance-learning program for eleven years, and earned a certificate in E-learning and Instructional Design. She continues to practice clinically and teach professional development courses with the University of Alberta.
Linda Denney, PT, PhD, MAppSc (Manip), is an assistant professor and has over 30 years of experience in physical therapy. She obtained her manual certification from the University of South Australia and a certificate of manual therapy from Curtain University. Denney utilizes her extensive clinical background to translate classroom material into practical application. Her primary focus is orthopedics with an emphasis in biomechanics. Her research topics are two-fold: injury prevention for sports and tactical athletes and exercise prescription for individuals with Parkinson’s disease.
Jeffrey Foucrier, PT, DPT, is certified as an orthopedic clinical specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. He serves as a clinical member on the Washington State Board of Physical Therapy. He has earned certifications as a myofascial pain and vertigo specialist that he incorporates into his educational and clinical pursuits. His clinical work includes orthopedics and chronic pain with experience in interprofessional prophylactic care, community-based, outpatient therapy, and sports medicine. Foucrier has taught in higher education for over five years.
Mallory Kargela, PT, DPT, received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2012 from Grand Valley State University. She is certified as a cardiovascular and pulmonary clinical specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. She has spent much of her clinical career within the acute and intensive care setting providing evidence-based care to critically ill patients. She has taught at the graduate level for physical therapy programs since 2017. Kargela is currently an assistant professor within the DPT-Phoenix program at Tufts University, as well as a research affiliate at Mayo Clinic Hospital. She serves nationally as a conference content reviewer under the APTA’s Academy of Acute Care Physical Therapy.
Ed Mulligan, PT, DPT, has been involved in physical therapy education for over 40 years. He’s a certified orthopedic and sports clinical specialist and licensed athletic trainer. His past professional involvement includes chair of the Sports Physical Therapy Specialty Council, APTA residency/fellowship board member, and current author of the description of specialty practice for sports physical therapy. He is a member of the Orthopedic Academy’s research committee and the lead consultant for the development of accredited foot/ankle fellowship training programs. He’s been awarded the lifetime education achievement award by the AASPT and inducted into their Hall of Fame. He is a published author in over 35 studies from orthopedic and sports related peer-review journals.
Michelle Sawtelle, PT, PhD, has taught in higher education for over eight years with primary areas of expertise in the evaluation and treatment of adults with neurologic movement disorders. She is a board-certified clinical specialist in neurologic physical therapy and serves nationally as the Stroke Special Interest Group (SIG) secretary for the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy. Her research is focused on the kinematic, kinetic, and muscle activation characteristics in the neuro population with a budding agenda investigating the role of nutrition in neuromuscular recovery of function.
Amy Schlessman, PT, DPT, DHSc, has been practicing physical therapy since 2002. She has over 19 years of clinical practice experience in pediatrics and nine years of clinical practice experience with adults in home health, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation centers. She has taught in higher education since 2005 with extensive experience teaching in online and hybrid formats. Prior to joining Tufts, she also served as a faculty liaison in a Center for Teaching Excellence, supporting and training full-time and part-time faculty in best practices in teaching. Her research is focused on pediatric health promotion and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Her scholarship includes over 60 professional presentations at national, state, and regional conferences, and over 100 invited speaker presentations. She serves the APTA’s Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy as Website co-chair, Zoom chair, member of the Communications, Membership, and Public Relations Leadership Committee, and Ohio Pediatric Advocacy liaison. She continues to practice clinically in the school-based setting and teach professional development courses.
Benjamin Stern, MS, DPT, has practiced for over 17 years in an outpatient orthopedic setting. In addition to lecturing in the Orthopedic Residency Program at HonorHealth, Stern has published in multiple journals and books, including, “Orthopedic Physical Examination Tests: An Evidence-Based Approach,” Spine, in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and JAMA. Stern has written multiple grant proposals and his research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health. His current research interests are in nonlinear dynamics and the application of tools from this area to non-contact injury prediction. Stern has also published in the areas of cost and outcomes research and diagnostic accuracy.
Liana Wooten, PT, DPT, PhD, CSCS, has over eight years of clinical practice experience in the orthopedic setting. Her primary area of research interest includes clinical exercise and applied physiology in the context of rehabilitation science and the translation of this information to clinical practice. Wooten has experience in the DPT academic setting teaching courses ranging from to basic sciences to management of complex patients and has received the Golden Apple for her teaching efforts in her time as DPT faculty. Wooten is an active member of the Cardiovascular & Pulmonary, Research, and Education sections of the APTA.
Brandi Gladden, MPH, serves as the program manager. She has spent the last eight years in leadership roles in higher education, and she was the program manager for the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training at Northern Arizona University prior to starting at Tufts. She has worked with students, faculty, staff, and internal and external stakeholders in all capacities, and has been elected to and served on various multi-university committees and teams. Gladden is an Arizona native with an undergraduate degree in physiological sciences from the University of Arizona, and she also holds a Master of Public Health degree, with an emphasis in community health practice from the University of Arizona.
Poppy Hochstetler serves as the program coordinator for the DPT-Phoenix admissions and curriculum education team. She has many years of program coordinator experience and numerous years specifically in admissions and clinical education for graduate level programs. She has worked with a diverse group of stakeholders. Her favorite part about working in admissions and clinical education is being part of the students' journey, from applying to the program all the way through to getting their degree. Hochstetler is originally from Alaska and has live in Arizona for over 10 years.
Courtney LaBeach serves as the program coordinator for the DPT-Phoenix student affairs team. LaBeach received an undergraduate degree in broadcast journalism and sociology from Penn State University. She assists the directors of student affairs with helping students succeed in the program. LaBeach is from Maryland and recently relocated to Arizona. She previously worked as an executive assistant at the Navy Yard in Washington DC.
Brittany C. Reaves serves as the program coordinator for the DPT-Phoenix curriculum and research team. Reaves is an Arizona native, born in Flagstaff, but has lived in beautiful, sunny Phoenix for over 13 years. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and taught in K-5 classrooms previously.
Ashton Rivas-Padilla serves as the program administrator for the clinical education team. She received her Bachelor of Science in hotel and restaurant management from Northern Arizona University. In her previous role as the program coordinator for the Physical Therapy program at Northern Arizona University, she helped with the day to day operations and clinical education. In her previous positions with Northern Arizona University she worked with the clinical education team for the following programs: Athletic Training, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. She brings 13 years of experience in higher education.
Evan Papa, PT, DPT, PhD is the program director of the Tufts DPT Seattle program. He is a seasoned academic leader and a champion of diversity and belonging in DPT education. Papa is a 2022 Faculty Fellow of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, and a graduate of the Fellowship in Higher Education Leadership through the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). He has also been recognized as a two-time recipient of the Emerging Leader Award from the APTA (2017, 2020). His clinical and academic interests focus on postural control and fall prevention in older adults and persons with Parkinson’s disease. He is passionate about teaching and loves spending time in the classroom with students. Papa was the recipient of the Innovative Teacher of the Year Award (2018) and the Clinical Researcher of the Year Award (2020) from the College of Rehabilitation Sciences at Idaho State University.
Shefali Christopher PT, DPT, PhD, LAT, ATC serves as the director of admissions and is a core faculty member of the Tufts DPT Seattle program. She is a clinical specialist in sports physical therapy through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. She is an active member of the APTA American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy (AASPT) and serves as the vice chair for the Running Special interest group. Christopher has numerous publications and presentations related to her research on returning to sport after childbirth. In 2020, she was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award by the AASPT and received the Academy of Pelvic Health Research Grant in 2023. As part of her service, she supports USA paratriathlon at numerous international races and was the medical liaison to the team at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic games.
Kirsten Potter, PT, DPT, MS serves as director of curriculum and assessment. She has been a PT educator since 1993 specializing in adult neurologic rehabilitation. Prior to joining Tufts, she served as Director of a Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning where she held workshops and consulted with faculty to promote high quality teaching. She has numerous publications and presentations related to her research on outcome measurement. She serves the APTA Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapists, including as Co-Chair of the Multiple Sclerosis EDGE Task Force, and she is a faculty member for the Academy of Education’s annual New Faculty Development Workshop.
Kathryn Sawyer, PT, PhD serves as the director of clinical education for the Tufts DPT Seattle program. She is certified as an orthopedic clinical specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. Sawyer has practiced in both inpatient and outpatient orthopedic settings since 2007. Her primary clinical interests include evaluation and treatment of neck and low back pain, and she has collaborated extensively with spinal surgeons to enhance postoperative rehabilitation protocols for patients undergoing spinal surgery. As a clinician, Sawyer mentored numerous DPT students, and she holds advanced clinical instructor certifications from the American Physical Therapy Association and the Texas Consortium for Clinical Education. Her research interests are varied and currently include gait analysis and fall risk reduction in persons with Parkinson’s Disease as well as contemporary issues in DPT clinical education.
James Smoliga, DVM, PhD serves as the director of research and faculty development for the Tufts DPT Seattle program. He has over 15 years of experience working in academia as a researcher and educator. He has published over 75 peer-reviewed journal articles across a variety of disciplines and is the co-recipient of JOSPT’s 2023 Guy Simoneau Excellence in Research Award. His research interests include sports performance optimization, long-term athlete health, and improving the evidence-basis of healthcare research.
Suzanne Fox Trotter, PT, MPT, ScD serves as the director of student affairs of the Tufts DPT Seattle program. She is fellowship trained by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists and her primary clinical area of focus has been in outpatient orthopaedics for large hospital systems and private clinics. She has been in PT education since 2012 and her career highlight was co-founding the non-profit Tesoro Project (www.tesoroproject.org) that provides sustainable interprofessional rehabilitation to the underserved communities in Guatemala.
Arron LaRitchie, serves as the program manager. Prior to joining Tufts, he spent the last eleven years in various leadership roles in higher education at Northern Arizona University, from Administrative Director of a new campus expansion into the Phoenix Bioscience Core, along with various roles in the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training from daily operations to clinical education. He has worked with students and stakeholders across multiple universities, colleges, programs, and state agencies, serving on numerous committees covering a wide range of topics. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and a Business Minor from Arizona State University.