New! PT Alumni Facebook Group

In the News: Dr. Colleen Brough Featured on CNN Segment on Running Analysis

New Programs Take the Stage: Fellowship in Performing Arts and Clinical Residency in Orthopedics

GREAT GRADS: Leah Wylie, DPT Class of 2019 Twin Brothers with Cerebral Palsy Taught Leah Wylie About Movement

Great Grads: Karlie Gross, DPT Class of 2019: A Torn ACL  Started Her PT Career

Student News: Samantha Vargas, DPT Class of 2020, Explores Domestic Violence on IPE Day

Great Grads: Tiffany Maye, DPT 2019, Receives APTA’s Minority Scholarship Award

DPT Faculty Members Launch New Peer-Reviewed Journal

New! PT Alumni Facebook Group

The Columbia University Program in Physical Therapy has established a private Facebook group for alumni. All are invited to join! Once you’re in, you can invite other alumni. You can post job opportunities and other news, as well as connect with your classmates. There is also a brief survey we would like everyone to fill out, indicating where you are working, your class year and contact information. This information is required by our accrediting body, CAPTE.  To join the group, please email Stephanie Henkin at, and provide your name and class year.

In the News: Dr. Colleen Brough featured on CNN segment on running analysis

Dr. Colleen Brough, founder and director of the Columbia RunLab, lent her expertise to this CNN segment on how running analysis can help prevent injury.

Dr. Colleen Brough








New Programs Take the Stage: Fellowship in Performing Arts and Clinical Residency in Orthopedics

The Columbia University Programs in Physical Therapy are pleased to announce the addition of two exciting new programs.  

The physical therapy programs have partnered with West Side Dance Physical Therapy (WSDPT) to create the Columbia University Irving Medical Center/West Side Dance Performing Arts Fellowship.  It will give physical therapists with advanced orthopedic clinical skills a structured educational experience to advance their knowledge and skills in performing arts PT.   The Fellowship will provide a diverse and dynamic environment for post-graduate fellowship study, practice and research featuring opportunities to work with elite dancers from New York City Ballet (NYCB) and the School of American Ballet (SAB).

Ashley Bouder doing Grand Jete
Ashley Bouder of New York City Ballet in Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gathering. Photo credit: Paul Kolnik

The program’s director is PT faculty member Dr. Laurel Daniels Abbruzzese. She commented, “I am thrilled to be partnering with Marika Molnar, referred to by Dance Magazine as the ‘Mother of Dance Medicine.’ She is truly an icon in our field, and was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Performing Arts Special Interest Group of the APTA Academy of Orthopedics.”  Dr. Abbruzzese added, “With its campus in New York City and proximity to a thriving arts community, Columbia has a long history of attracting students that want to work with dancers and performing artists. Columbia offers specialty coursework, research opportunities, and clinical placements in performing arts. Now, through this partnership with WSDPT, we are able to offer post-professional education in this specialty area of physical therapy practice.”  Learn more about the Fellowship and how to apply.   

The Columbia Physical Therapy Residency in Orthopedics' mission is to provide advanced orthopedic physical therapy clinical training and promote excellence and leadership in the field. Directed by PT faculty member Dr. Michael Johnson, the program is designed for the licensed professional. The Residency’s curriculum will feature resident-driven and case-based elements, and will prepare residents for future leadership in the areas of their greatest interests, whether clinical, educational, research, administrative, or service.

Program goals will be achieved through didactic education, mentored teaching opportunities, professionally mentored patient care experiences and independent patient care. Residents will be selected for affiliate clinical locations, which

Dr. Michael Johnson working with a patient
Dr. Michael Johnson working with a patient

include New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and SPEAR Physical Therapy. At these locations, residents can look forward to clinical and professional mentorship from established clinicians and educators in the field of orthopedic physical therapy. 

Dr. Johnson commented, “SPEAR Physical Therapy has established itself as one of the premier outpatient physical therapy practices in the country and has joined Columbia to further establish its footprint in the clinical education setting. New York Presbyterian Hospital is rated as one of the top hospitals in the U.S every year, and its musculoskeletal rehabilitation center is renowned.”   Learn more about the Clinical Residency in Orthopedics and how to apply

For further information about the Performing Arts Fellowship, please contact Dr. Laurel Daniels Abbruzzese ( and for the Clinical Residency in Orthopedics,  Dr. Michael Johnson (


GREAT GRADS: Leah Wylie, DPT Class of 2019
Twin Brothers with Cerebral Palsy Taught Leah Wylie About Movement


Leah Wylie, DPT Class of 2019, grew up with twin brothers afflicted with cerebral palsy. “I learned about movement from them”, she says, “I saw how they used their bodies to do what they needed to do.”  A double major in heath science and psychology at Colorado State University, she came to New York after graduation to solidify her educational and career path.  She found a job working as a medical assistant to a physiatrist.  She was “fascinated with movement,” and loved the idea that physical therapy was a field where you keep learning and growing.

Leah in front of PT OT mosaic
Leah Wylie, DPT Class of 2019

Leah applied to many PT schools, and in fact had known some Columbia graduates at a facility where she worked during her exploratory time in New York.

What “sealed the deal” about Columbia for her was interview day.  “I felt respected,” she commented. “My interview with [faculty member] Dr. Stacy Kinirons was more about, ‘Is this the right place for you?’  It turned out to be a conversation about our passions.” Leah was also impressed that the day seemed driven by the students. “I appreciated the opportunity to spend a lot of time with them and really learn about life as a Columbia DPT student.”

In terms of career goals, she is passionate about neurology. While she feels she is not quite ready for a residency, in the short term Leah looks forward to working in a hospital setting. She enjoys interprofessional collaboration and counts IPE Day and e-linc among her favorite experiences at Columbia.  Over the long term, Leah eventually would like to pursue a PhD or EdD, but initially wants to gain a varied clinical foundation so she can discover what research area interests her most.

For incoming DPT students, Leah’s advice is “find something that gives you balance with your academic life.” In Leah’s case it was playing women’s rugby with the New York Rugby League. She stopped playing in order to avoid injury but remained active in the community and is still involved in the organization. The other thing she advocates strongly is that students should get involved in some of the unique elective and volunteer opportunities to practice what they’ve learned under the supervision of licensed PTs, such as service learning experiences in Guatemala, CoSMo, and Stand Tall.


Great Grads: Karlie Gross, DPT Class of 2019
The Road to her DPT

Karlie Gross (DPT Class of 2019) is the daughter of a personal trainer mom and a sports enthusiast dad, and she always had an interest in things medical.  She was active in high school athletics, playing a number of competitive sports. However, a torn ACL from playing soccer and subsequent recovery that included physical therapy, started her on the road to her chosen career.

She started shadowing PTs in various clinics during her senior year of high school, and enjoyed spending time with patients and watching their progress. “I loved it immediately”, she said. “It’s a lot of problem solving, and I never get bored doing that.”  She saw that it was a profession in which “you are constantly learning and challenging yourself.”

Karlie hails from California and spent her undergraduate years at San Diego State University majoring in kinesiology. During this time, she logged around 1400 hours as an aide in various PT clinics (75 are required for the Columbia DPT program). Karlie became actively involved in research, working in the Rehabilitation Biomechanics Lab where she became fascinated with movement.  Her undergraduate research involved exploring movement patterns and noting differences between individuals with and without low back pain.

Karlie working on a colleague
Standing: Karlie Gross, DPT Class of 2019

When it was time to apply to physical therapy school, Columbia University was high on her list. She always wanted to spend time in the East. She was impressed with the interview process and the faculty at Columbia, recalling, “I felt at home right way!”

Columbia’s DPT program offers a unique combination of advanced track electives, teaching and research opportunities, and Karlie took full advantage. Karlie’s ultimate career goal has always been to work clinically, conduct research, and teach. Thus, she took every opportunity to enhance her knowledge and skills. She was a TA for Anatomy Lab, Kinesiology and Biomechanics, and PT Management of Orthopedic Conditions courses where she was able to enhance her teaching skills and develop strategies to work with individuals with different learning styles. She helped develop supplementary materials for Dr. Lisa Yoon’s PT Management of Pediatric Conditions course. She has also been involved in a faculty research project,  Dr. Jean Timmerberg’s research with adolescent athletes.

For Karlie, the best thing about Columbia’s program was the “amazing faculty and the opportunities that were available”. In particular she enjoyed the Women’s Heath and Vestibular electives. She states that “the knowledge gained from these electives has been invaluable during my clinical experiences.”  She was also involved with programs such as CancerFit, CanWarriors, and Spinal Mobility, which provided patient care experiences supervised by licensed physical therapists outside of the classroom or lab.

In the short term, she’s hoping to get into an orthopedic residency program in order to take advantage of mentorship opportunities early on in her career, and continue teaching and conducting research.

Her goal is to combine the clinical and academic, and pursue a PhD “in a few years” after gaining more hands-on clinical experience.

Her advice to incoming DPT students: “Constantly strive to grow, and challenge yourself to seek knowledge outside of the didactic curriculum through exploring programs like CancerFIT, CanWarriors, and service learning in Guatemala.” 


Student News: Samantha Vargas, DPT Class of 2020, Explores Domestic Violence on IPE Day

IPE Day: On April 2, 2019, for the second year, faculty, staff, and students of all professional health schools at Columbia joined together for a series of interdisciplinary workshops held throughout the day. Samantha facilitated a workshop on domestic violence along with Kristen Slesar, LCSW, MS, an expert in the field. Samantha reflects on her experience.

I facilitated a course on intimate partner violence, entitled “The Murder of Women: Intimate Partner Violence and the Role of Health Care”, along with Kristen Slesar, LCSW, MS. We recognized the difficulties of preparing a class on this sensitive subject because it addressed an often secretive social issue. We challenged the notion that intimate partner violence is simply a social or criminal justice matter. We discussed how to strike a balance between being respectful and sensitive toward a patient who is  vulnerable while challenging the comfort of the health professional. My objective as a presenter was to help expand the role of health care professionals, explore how roles and responsibilities of members within interprofessional health care teams can complement one another, and dispel myths about domestic violence. 

L: Samantha Vargas R: Kristen Slesar in classroom
L-R: Samantha Vargas and Kristen Slesar

Preparation was challenging. I questioned how effective we could be in a two-hour workshop.  How we could make this experience feel authentic across unfamiliar disciplines, and how could this session be relevant for everyone? It was important that information be shared in such a way that participants across disciplines could be actively engaged and learn enough to apply the information to their respective careers. 

With these objectives in mind, we designed a class that highlighted biases from the healthcare professional, confronted myths around intimate partner violence, and created cases that adapted real patient backstories that would prompt action from healthcare professionals.  The three case scenarios were set in an outpatient physical therapy office, a dental office, and the ER. During class we equipped students with assessment tools adapted from injury assessment screens, and abuse assessment screens.  We put students into groups composed of different healthcare professionals to encourage interprofessional discussion. The students were to work collaboratively and utilize an assessment tool to screen a patient, and try to reach them in the best way possible.  

Through the exercises, we discovered that students were relying on each other’s knowledge to practice reaching a patient. No single professional was able to address all of the talking points; in fact, the best learning occurred though communal learning. Some of the discoveries made by the participants included the realization that they were likely to have seen a patient who was a survivor or was actively experiencing partner violence. They may have missed the signs, and they might have let other professionals explore this sensitive area because they felt it was outside of their scope of practice. 

Class notes on whiteboard
Notes from class

The crux of this interprofessional experience was best illustrated by one participant’s comment, “When I assessed the patient, I missed a sign because I’m not an expert in this field. But my group member who is an expert saw something, and shed light on the case for us.” That speaks to the power of interprofessional education.


“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou 





Great Grads: Tiffany Maye, DPT 2019, Receives APTA’s Minority Scholarship Award

Tiffany Maye has been named a recipient of the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) Minority Scholarship Award. The award recognizes physical therapy students in their final year of study for their professional character and academic excellence. 

Portrait of Tiffany
Tiffany Maye, DPT Class of 2019

Tiffany commented, "It is a tremendous honor to be selected as a recipient of this award. The (APTA) has played a key role in my professional development as a student physical therapist through abundant learning opportunities at the local and national level. By attending numerous conferences and networking, I have been able to learn from the leaders of our profession and find a warm community of skilled clinicians to grow with as I start my career. 

I value the APTA's dedication to supporting diversity and service initiatives among minority communities through this award. Representation truly matters."

Congratulations, Tiffany!







DPT Faculty Members Launch New Peer-Reviewed Journal

A new physical therapy journal emphasizing clinical education will launch on May 1, 2019. The new peer-reviewed, online open-access, Journal of Clinical Education in Physical Therapy (JCEPT) brings together clinicians and academic educators to promote advances in physical therapy education and educational research, and stimulate analysis and discussion of topics in clinical education with the ultimate goal of improving health care delivery and outcomes. 

JCEPT provides a modern venue to publish works of scholarship in teaching and learning. JCEPT publishes education research, reviews and critical appraisals, descriptive models of teaching methods, and clinical education or resident/fellow case reports related to clinical physical therapy. The recurring Inter-Professional Corner is dedicated to clinical education scholarship from related health professions or collaborations with physical therapists. In addition to the traditional double-blinded review process, JCEPT also provides an optional open peer review process to enhance communication among authors, reviewers, and editors. Through collaboration and communication, JCEPT aims to develop scholarship ability in the clinical education community within and beyond the physical therapy profession.

Drs. Christopher Kevin Wong and Jean Fitzpatrick Timmerberg
L-R: Drs. Christopher Kevin Wong and Jean Fitzpatrick Timmerberg, Co-Editors-in-Chief, JCEPT

The Journal of Clinical Education in Physical Therapy has been started by Christopher Kevin Wong, PT, PhD, and Jean Fitzpatrick Timmerberg, PT, PhD—both from the Columbia University Programs in Physical Therapy—and from the Digital Scholarship Department of the Columbia University Library.  Dr. Wong is currently Associate Director for Faculty Development. He has directed both physical therapy and physical therapist assistant programs, published widely in the areas of prosthetics and orthopedics, and serves as an Associate Editor for another journal. Dr. Timmerberg is currently Associate Program Director. She has coordinated clinical education at both clinical and academic institutions, published impactful physical therapy education scholarship, and served in multiple leadership roles in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). They are joined by the distinguished JCEPT editorial board made up of clinical and academic educators from around the country that represent multiple clinical specialties, roles in academic and clinical physical therapy education, and areas of clinical research. 

JCEPT looks forward to developing clinical education in physical therapy and inter-professional scholarship by publishing research, reviews, and teaching methods regarding the preparation for and development of clinical practice; as well as exemplary critically appraised topics or reflective resident/fellow case reports. Follow JCEPTon Twitter: @jcept_columbia. Visit the website for more information and/or to submit papers.