Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH, CHES

Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH, CHES received the School of Medicine’s Hidden Gem Award.

Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH, CHESThe award was given at the ceremony held on Thursday, October 11th, 2018.

Dr. Pullen was recognized for her work focusing on the rehabilitation needs of patients with HIV/AIDS and her leadership in regional, national and international service activities. Her work is noticed by many both at Emory and in the greater physical therapy, infectious diseases, public and global health communities. Congratulations Dr. Pullen!

Below is the link to the announcement of this award:

Dr. Bruce Greenfield is the recipient of the Dean’s Teaching Award for the 2017-2018 academic year!

Dr. Bruce Greenfield is the recipient of the Dean’s Teaching Award for the 2017-2018 academic year! This award recognizes faculty for superior teaching within the School of Medicine and signifies the high regard students and colleagues hold for Dr. Greenfield’s dedication and skill in teaching.

Dr. Greenfield introduced reflective practice and narrative into the DPT curriculum, now primarily housed in seminars following students’ early integrated clinical education experiences and in a course he directs (Current Practices in Physical Therapy) embedded in students’ long term clinical internships. A natural extension of his interest in the use of narrative to foster professional development, Dr. Greenfield has advocated for the integration of the humanities into our curriculum and to develop collaborative learning throughout Emory University, which included a Coalition of Liberal Arts (CoLA) course entitled Disability, Resilience, and the Moral Self: Healing and Care Across the Lifespan (offered to selected undergraduate and DPT students to create an environment of collaborative learning that combines the liberal arts with experiential learning in the rehabilitation sciences).

Among his activities at the national and international levels, Dr. Greenfield was recently invited to become a founding member of the Critical Physical Therapy Network (CPN), an international collaborative network of critically-informed academics, clinicians and researchers who draw on the health sciences, social sciences and the humanities to explore, challenge and develop physiotherapy theory and practice. The network is dedicated to promoting critically-informed thinking, research and collaboration through ideas and scholarship from diverse disciplines including anthropology, the arts, cultural studies, critical theory and education. Currently CPN has grown to over 200 members and Dr. Greenfield has built upon his use of narrative in clinical learning to focus on the use of humanities as a way to foster patient-centered care.

Dr. Greenfield is a dedicated teacher, an effective mentor and a thoughtful scholar. He has made significant contributions to Emory, the physical therapy profession and interprofessional education through excellence in teaching. His influence has been broad, profound and long lasting, both institutionally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

A simple, user-friendly app for decision making in the treatment of upper extremity impairments following stroke is welcomed!

The ViaTherapy app, created by Dr. Mark Bayley at Toronto Rehab and Dr. Steven Wolf of Emory University, was launched in 2017 and was recently named one of the Top 5 rehab apps at the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Neurology (ACPIN) meeting held in Manchester, U.K.

Twenty-three clinicians and researchers, and 10 consultants with expertise in the treatment of survivors of stroke and in exploring novel interventions to improve upper extremity function collaborated to develop the evidence-based application (‘app’) for post stroke upper extremity rehabilitation. The emphasis was on factors contributing to optimal limb use. The team gathered evidence to determine best practices to reduce impairments and enhance participation. Patient’s communication, visual perception and cognition were considered according to the extent that they affected the optimal application of interventions to develop the ‘app’. The team evaluated the evidence to support the timely and appropriate provision of interventions and the most defensible outcome measures during a 4-year voluntary information gathering and assimilation effort to develop the sequencing of an algorithm informed by the data and directed by changes in impairment and chronicity.

The findings were first presented at the World Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress in Singapore, 2015. The audience, who were highly favorable to this novel tool offered extensive input and assisted to improve the ‘app’.

So far, 7,750 people have downloaded the app on the iTunes and Google Play stores. The free app provides best practice and evidence-based recovery interventions for upper extremity stroke rehabilitation.

Learn more at

Initial funding to undertake this work came from the Canadian Stroke Network.

Dr. Lena Ting receives the Health Care Heroes Award in the Allied Health Professional category from the Atlanta Business Chronicle. This award recognizes her work using technologies to improve rehabilitation for individuals with movement disorders. We congratulate Dr. Ting on the award!

Lena Ting, PhD, is winner in the Allied Health Professional category, for her work blending science, engineering and robotics to improve rehabilitation for individuals with movement disorders and those who have experienced stroke, spinal cord injury, or lower limb loss. A professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, and a professor of rehabilitation medicine at Emory School of Medicine, Ting’s research focuses on the brain and body interactions that allow us to walk, stand and balance with little thought. Drawing from neuroscience, biomechanics, rehabilitation, robotics and physiology, she has discovered new principles of human and animal motor control that are being used to advance the direction of current physical therapy research. Ting also serves as a mentor and educator to researchers in rehabilitation science and engineering, including serving as a mentor for the National Institutes of Health-funded Training in Grantsmanship in Rehabilitation Research program.

Also see Health Care Heroes Awards.

Celebrating the Latinx Community at Emory: CARAS

Nathalie Rosales, Tami Phillips, Nathalie Angel and Stephanie Tirado

Nathalie Rosales, Tami Phillips, Nathalie Angel and Stephanie Tirado

The fifth annual CARAS (Celebrating Accomplishments and Recognizing Academic Success) was held on May 12, 2018 in the Cox Ballroom. CARAS is a commencement celebration linked to Latinx and Hispanic traditions at Emory. The event celebrates the accomplishments of graduating students who are members of and/or connected to the Latinx community. The ceremony includes the sashing of the stole and lighting of the candle. DPT students Nathalie Angel, Nathalie Rosales and Stephanie Tirado participated in CARAS this year. A faculty/staff member along with the graduating student and parent pair to participate in the cerebration. The family member or mentor presents the student with his or her commemorative stole, which is worn at the Emory University graduation ceremony. The candle lighting is symbolic of the passing of knowledge from faculty/staff to student and from the student to their families and communities. This year DPT faculty Tami Phillips, PT, DPT, MBA accompanied the DPT students to the ceremony.

Students worked with the members of “Belonging and Community Justice”, The Latino Student Organization, HOLA, The Emory LatinX Alumni and The Emory Alumni Association to plan the event. The ceremony was given in English; Spanish, and Portuguese and Latin culture was celebrated through food and music with the students and their families.

CARAS was started out of a need identified by a series of Latinx/Hispanic student focus groups held by the (then) Office of Multicultural Programs and Services.


The Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation, Spring 2018: Bringing together reflections and analysis of the physical, cognitive, emotional, socio-cultural, spiritual, and political elements that comprise humanism in rehabilitation.

The Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation, Spring 2018: Bringing together reflections and analysis of the physical, cognitive, emotional, socio-cultural, spiritual, and political elements that comprise humanism in rehabilitation.

Kathleen Geist DPT, OCS, COMT, FAAOMPT elected to become Vice-President of PTAG (Physical Therapy Association of Georgia)

The Division of physical Therapy is delighted to announce that Kathleen Geist DPT, OCS, COMT, FAAOMPT has been elected to become the Vice-President of PTAG (Physical Therapy Association of Georgia)! This election is a testament to Dr. Geist’s long service to PTAG and her commitment to address the relevant issues in Physical Therapy at the State level. As the VP Dr. Geist will be responsible for the organization and implementation of Chapter programs and membership meetings and shall have the ability to appoint a chair to coordinate the educational activities and programs of the Chapter and its members.

Dr. Geist was also elected to serve as the VP of the Orthopaedic Residency and Fellowship Special Interest Group! The Orthopaedic Residency and Fellowship Special Interest Group (ORF-SIG) serves the Section as an educational and practice resource for members and provides educational programming to Section membership. The leadership team of the ORF-SIG identifies changes in legislation and reimbursement at state and national levels and provides materials to share practice information and areas of concern to members and stakeholders. In addition, the ORF-SIG promotes both scientific foundation and interdisciplinary study within the SIG domain.

She is also a member of the Practice Committee of the Orthopaedic Section which comprises of eight members who work collaboratively to provide advice and counsel to the Orthopaedic Section Board regarding the regulation and scope of orthopaedic practice, promote the exchange of information and educate the Section members pertaining to legislative affairs and clinical practice. The Practice Committee serves as a resource for Section members regarding questions related to orthopaedic physical therapy practice and residency/fellowship educational materials.

Sarah Blanton PT, DPT receives the APTA’s inaugural Societal Impact Award!

The Division of Physical Therapy congratulates Sarah Blanton PT, DPT on receiving the APTA’s inaugural Societal Impact Award! This award recognizes her expertise and continuous contributions to our community, the association and the profession at large. In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Blanton helped to establish the Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation, the first journal of humanities in rehab that has garnered impactful contributions from Who’s Who in the world of Medical Humanities.

Established in 2017, the APTA Societal Impact Award fosters the association’s outward-facing vision and highlights the impact of physical therapy in improving quality of life. The award recognizes leaders within APTA’s member community who demonstrate commitment and dedication to addressing issues related to societal welfare. This award specifically recognizes individuals who exemplify the compassionate nature of the physical therapy profession by exhibiting a distinguished commitment toward philanthropic initiatives, raising public awareness on key societal issues, and demonstrating how physical therapy can be applied to address these issues.

Volunteerism and Service Learning: The DPT Student’s Recent Trip to the Dominican Republic

The Emory Physical Therapy team of four students, one faculty and three alumna recently concluded their trip to the Dominican Republic. The group of students and faculty arrived in the Dominican on March 4, with 4 wheelchairs, 17 walkers, 10 canes, 2 pairs of crutches, and several boxes of other needed medical supplies. During their stay the team visited more than one local hospitals and clinics to evaluate patients and provide care.

Typically, Physical therapy (PT) is considered a “luxury” in the country and is only available to the patients through private insurance which tends to expensive. Thereby, making PT unaffordable to majority of the population. The DPT students worked in teams to conduct home and clinic visits to maximize the number of patients they could serve. The students, met with the local health workers, nurses and doctors who work in these communities. The local care providers were eager to share information about the community, their research and unique patient cases. The team from Emory treated patients of all age groups ranging from 6 months to 82 years old with a wide variety of diagnosis from fractures to a patient with cerebral palsy.

To prepare for the visit the community health workers had created a list of patients they felt would benefit from physical therapy evaluations and interventions. The local health care teams helped to plan the evaluations at the clinic and at the patient’s home depending on the patient’s health conditions. This pre visit planning assisted the Emory team to utilize their time efficiently to provide patient care in each of the communities during their weeklong trip. Among the patients, the students saw, they particularly recall the child with cerebral palsy who was provided with a new wheel chair to replace his broken one.

In addition, Dr, Pullen and one of the students, Clarissa Myers, followed up with the patients seen by the previous group of students who visited the Dominican last year. They were pleased to see the improvements. Particularly, with a woman who had progressed from a near non-ambulatory status to walking in her home without any assistive device.

Overall, the team of students and faculty provided care for nearly 135 patients and distributed medical supplies to a number of clinics and patients.

Perhaps, the uniqueness of this international experience is best captured by our students, Ann, Caitlyn, Clarissa, and Kim who said that they “ (We)are very grateful for the opportunity to serve these patients, but most importantly we have all come home from this trip with a great appreciation and understanding for culture and community. The patients we saw blessed us in so many ways and taught us things that we could never learn in the classroom or clinic back in the states. This experience challenged our minds, creativity, and hearts in the greatest ways possible. “

The students and Dr. Sara Pullen would like to thank everyone for their contribution and support, which made purchasing the much-needed medical supplies and equipment possible! These medical equipment and supplies went to people who truly needed them, and have helped to change their lives for the better. The students and the faculty are also grateful for the local assistance as that allowed the team to be organized and to help as many patients as they could. They acknowledge their local host Ms. Rosa and Ms. Iris for their warm hospitality and for making their stay a great experience in the Dominican Republic! The current students and the faculty also thanks DPT alumni, Courtney Asker DPT 2017, Tiernan Damas DPT 2017and Lucia Rodriguez Vargas DPT 2013, who voluntarily joined from different parts of the country to experience this service learning opportunity. Their commitment to the alma-matter is appreciated.

The international service work specifically connects the students PT training with the service learning component of the Emory DPT program. See more about Volunteerism and Service Learning here.

Caitlin Behler, Clarissa Myers, Ann Colonna, Carmen Tejada, Lucia Rodriguez-Vargas, Dr. Pullen, Rosa Ipania Burgos, Kim Dietrich, Dhaysi Batista Berroa

Caitlin Behler, Clarissa Myers, Ann Colonna, Carmen Tejada, Lucia Rodriguez-Vargas, Dr. Pullen, Rosa Ipania Burgos, Kim Dietrich, Dhaysi Batista Berroa

Tiernan Damas, Dr. Pullen, Lucia Rodriguez-Vargas, Danilo, Kim Dietrich, Courtney Asker, Clarissa Myers, Caitlin Behling, Ann Colonna

Tiernan Damas, Dr. Pullen, Lucia Rodriguez-Vargas, Danilo, Kim Dietrich, Courtney Asker, Clarissa Myers, Caitlin Behling, Ann Colonna

Dr. Pullen (holding X-ray), Kim Dietrich

Dr. Pullen (holding X-ray), Kim Dietrich

service learning

Dominican Republic, March 2018