Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH, CHES

Sara Pullen, DPT, MPH, CHES

Associate Professor
Division of Physical Therapy
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
Emory University School of Medicine

Office: 1462 Clifton Road, Room 212
Atlanta, GA 30322
Phone:   (404) 712-5112 (Office)


Dr. Pullen joins the Emory DPT faculty after six years of clinical practice. She has worked in varied settings in Atlanta, Boston and New York City and has performed pro bono medical and public health work in Latin America and in the U.S. Dr. Pullen’s research interests lie in developing and implementing physical therapy protocols and interventions for people living with HIV/AIDS. She has worked extensively in the community and on a national level with this population and in 2009 was elected the Georgia State Representative to the Latino Commission on AIDS’ Deep South Project. She brings her expertise in community/public health and clinical physical therapy to her position as the director of the Service Learning program and coordinator for the dual degree DPT/MPH program.

Dr. Pullen’s research focuses on physical rehabilitation at different stages of HIV disease, primarily in the physiological effects of long-term HIV infection including chronic pain, neuropathy and musculoskeletal impairments. She is a collaborator with Emory’s NIH Center for AIDS Research as well as the Canada-International HIV and Rehabilitation Research Collaborative. Her research also examines physical rehabilitation for underserved populations, namely in identifying barriers to rehabilitative care for health-disparate individuals and communities. List of published work.


Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, MPH, 2009
Simmons College, DPT, 2004
Wesleyan University, BA, 1997


Faculty Fellow, Office of University-Community Partnerships, Emory University 2011-2012.

International Scholar Award, World Confederation for Physical Therapy’s HIV/AIDS, Oncology and Palliative Care Division. This award is given to an internationally recognized scholar and educator in the emerging, critical field of HIV/AIDS and rehabilitation, and recognizes someone who has made significant contributions to clinical professional service and scholarship in this field, 2015.

International Scholar Award, World Confederation for Physical Therapy’s HIV/AIDS, Oncology and Palliative Care Division, 2015.

American Physical Therapy, Health Policy and Administration Section Global Health Special Interest Group Social Responsibility Research Award, 2015.

Developmental Core Mentorship Program, selected as a junior HIV researcher for NIH-funded mentorship program, National Institutes of Health Center for AIDS Research, Emory University, 2015-2016.

Scientific Poster Award, National Institutes of Health Center for AIDS Research at Emory University, “The Role of Physical Therapy in Chronic Pain Outcomes of Adults Living with HIV”, 2016.

“Rising Star Researcher” Award, National Institutes of Health Center for AIDS Research at Emory University, 2016.

Top Submission Award for Clinical Science Category for “ Physical Therapy as Effective Treatment for Chronic Pain Outcomes and Decreased Analgesic Use” presentation. Emory University School of Nursing, HIV and Aging: From Mitochondria to the Metropolis Conference. Atlanta, November 2017.

Outstanding Faculty Recognition for Educator Appreciation Day, Emory School of Medicine Recognitions Committee. 2018.


Pullen S, Gilman K, Hunt K, Lowery A, Rodriguez Vargas L, Rolle T, Tsoumas A. Physical Therapy as an Adjunct Treatment for People Living with HIV/AIDS: An Allied Health Perspective. J Allied Health. 2014; 43(2):e11-17.

Pullen S, Pak J, Pieton C, Saunders M, Shelus M, Webster L. Physical Therapy for People Living with HIV/AIDS: A Provider Needs Assessment – Phase II. J Allied Health. 2014; 43(3). e45-52.

Pullen S, Chigbo N, Nwigwe E, Chukwuka C, Amah C, Idu S. Physiotherapy Intervention as a complementary treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS Res Pall Care. 2014; 6: 99-107.

Pullen SD. Musculoskeletal considerations in HIV Disease: A Critical review. OA Musculoskeletal Medicine. 2014 Sep 17;2(2):18

Pullen S. Formative Evaluation of an International Service Learning Program: An Innovative Approach to Medical Education. Journal of Community Engagement and Higher Education. 2015; 7(1).

Foster J & Pullen S. International service learning in the Dominican Republic: An asynchronous pilot in interprofessional education. J Interprof Care. 2016 Feb 6:1-2.

Kapasi ZF, Pullen S, Greene B, Herdman S, Johanson MA. The Role of Dual Degrees in the Physical Therapist Education Program at Emory University. J Phys Ther Educ. 2016; 30(1), 31-39.

Pullen S. HIV, Chronic Pain and Health Disparities: The Increasing Role of Physical Therapy in a National Public Health Priority. J Rehab Onc. 2016; 34(4), 158-159.

Pullen S, Bruns E, Dawkins N, Harvey H, Miller C, Sperle C. HIV/AIDS in Physical Therapy Education Programs: A Curricular Needs Assessment. J Phys Ther Educ. 2017; 31(1), 80-85.

Pullen S. HIV and Chronic Pain, Part 2: Addressing the Opioid Public Health Crisis. J Rehab Onc. 2017; 35(4):197-198. PMID: 29662723

Pullen S. Physical Therapy as Non-pharmacological Chronic Pain Management of Adults Living with HIV: Self-Reported Pain Scores and Analgesic Use. HIV/AIDS Res Pall Care, 2017; 9:177-182. PMCID: PMC5609779

Pullen S. HIV, Trauma and Support: Caregiving in the Age of #MeToo. J Rehab Onc. 2018 (Issue TBA)

Pullen S. Chronic Pain Mitigation and Opioid Weaning at a Multidisciplinary AIDS Clinic: A Case Report. J Rehab Onc. 2018 (Issue TBA)

Pullen S, Crowder, C, Frank L, Hayes R, Johnson A, Racine L, Zeluff B. Chronic Pain Management in Adults Living with HIV: Self-Reported Pain Scores and Analgesic Use. Under review at J AIDS STDs as of July 2018.

Pullen S, Brandon D, Colonna, A, Denton M, Ina M, Lancaster G, Schmidtke AG. Physical Therapy Intervention for Chronic Pain Management and Opioid Reduction Among People Living With HIV. Under review at Physical Therapy Journal as of June 2018.