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Alumni in Action

Physical Therapy

Our alumni are scholars, practitioners, and leaders in the profession of physical therapy. Meet alumni of the program and learn more about how they are using their NYU degrees.

Jael McCants (DPT '19)

Jael McCants, DPT 2019

Jael was the 2019 New York Physical Therapy Association Minority Student Award winner as well as the 2019 NYU Steinhardt Doctoral Student Convocation Speaker alternate.

NYU allowed a space for me to hone my core values. Empathy, tolerance, and compassion are woven into the fabric of my being; I am committed to cultural competence, constantly exploring the ways our social identities matter in therapeutic alliance, patient safety, and beyond. In the classroom, I focused my airtime on encouraging these discussions. 

In my last summer as a student, I completed a clinical affiliation at the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma (NISMAT), an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy clinic with a focus on sports-related research and rehabilitation. NISMAT provides an excellent example of how commitment to evidence-based practice drives patient recovery and produces thoughtful PTs. While at NISMAT, I was given the opportunity to present a staff in-service and chose to discuss considerations for working with LGBTQIA+ patients in the outpatient physical therapy setting. As a queer woman of color, I am acutely aware of disparities that impact this special population and aim to create ongoing conversation about how they can be best served and above all, respected. With experience in workplace diversity and inclusion, I hope to bring this unique skillset to the clinic environment to enhance the greater cultural competence of our profession.

Rena Eleazar (DPT '14)

Rena surrounded by basketball players.

I co-founded Match Fit Performance with fellow NYU alum Erwin Seguia in 2017. My NYU PT education informed the work I am doing now by encouraging critical thinking, not only in patient care but in serving the community as a whole. The problem solving that was required of us in the program helped me see things differently once I started my career. I received my board certification to become a Clinical Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy in 2018. On the path to taking the exam and ongoing since, I have been able to work with different sports teams, including the Gotham Knights Rugby Football Club, the New York Empire from the American Ultimate Disc League, and the Brooklyn Nets G-League Team, the Long Island Nets. I have been featured in Brit + CoImpactSelf, and the Keep Moving Forward Podcast.

Saam Eslami wearing graduation attire.

I have two physical therapy clinics and the education I received from NYU highly influences my daily clinical practice. An NYU degree represents a high-quality standard of clinical practice and this is what I always feel from my patients' satisfaction.

Saam Eslami (MA '03)

Tzu-Hao “Hubert” Kuo (DPT-PPT '15)

Hubert Kao

I am working in a private practice providing physical therapy and acupuncture. I am also adjunct faculty teaching anatomy at New York College of Health Professions where I received my master's in Acupuncture. My NYU education gave me comprehensive clinical thinking and differential diagnosis skills. I am now certified in Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Imaging and pursuing a certificate in Functional Medicine to continue learning and providing precise evaluation and diagnosis.

Jennifer Rubinacci Lehman (DPT '01)

Jennifer Rubinacci Lehman standing in front of a poster wearing a conference badge.

I have worked at New York-Presbyterian Hospital at Columbia University Medical Center since I graduated from NYU in 2001. Several of my clinical education experiences at NYU allowed me to observe various settings at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. These varied experiences in the outpatient and cardiopulmonary departments helped me to understand the role of PTs along the continuum of care and to realize that I truly loved working in the hospital setting. My education at NYU prepared me to enter the field as a generalist and to treat patients in all of the different departments of a large academic medical center. After practicing for eight years, I received my Geriatric Clinical Specialist Certification from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists. Currently, I am the supervisor of the inpatient rehabilitation unit. My role allows me to continue to learn each day through patient care, administrative responsibilities, and research. 

Robert Lin (DPT '11)

Robert standing in front of a sign for the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center

I am currently the Physical Therapy Department Manager at an orthopedic physical therapy clinic in the Bay Area. I work alongside orthopedic surgeons and certified hand therapists seeing various musculoskeletal conditions. NYU has given me the leadership skills and fundamental knowledge to administer the highest level of care and manage a high-quality facility. Over the years I have had the privileged opportunity to work as a sports medicine volunteer at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to help the Paralympic and Olympic athletes pursue their dreams. I also provide sports medicine coverage for tennis, rugby, and marathons, and I plan on volunteering my time to provide PT services to underserved areas in Mexico with a nonprofit.

Pamela Donlan

I transitioned from a clinical to an academic path later in my career, and in doing so, was able to reflect back on how strong and comprehensive NYU's curriculum was both didactically and clinically. NYU truly prepares all graduates for success in all domains of physical therapy.

Pamela Donlan (BS '85), Assistant Clinical Professor at Northeastern University

Ashleigh McAdam (Clinical Residency in Orthopedic Physical Therapy '18)

Students posing with program director Kevin Weaver.

Ashleigh (center left) posing with Clinical Residency Program Director Kevin Weaver and other members of the 2018 cohort.

Deciding to apply to the NYU Clinical Residency in Orthopedic Physical Therapy was the best decision I have ever made professionally and personally. To be accepted into this residency was a true honor and has changed my life. It is because of this residency and the mentorship I received that I am a more confident, knowledgeable, and effective clinician. I am sincerely grateful to New York University and to Dr. Weaver for this life-changing experience that has enabled me to better serve my patient population and has placed me on the track to teach and share my knowledge with future Doctors of Physical Therapy.

Stephen Chao (DPT '09)

Stephen Chao

Currently, I am a clinical assistant professor in the DPT program at the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York. I teach gross anatomy, kinesiology, and intro to orthopedics. Most recently, I directed the completion of the construction of a new anatomy dissection lab in our program. Later this year, professional continuing education courses will commence in the lab for health professionals in clinical anatomy. In addition to my academic duties, I am the director of a boutique outpatient orthopedic clinic in Manhattan. NYU's DPT program has a specific focus on leadership, administration skills, and professional presenting. These skills created a strong foundation as I have transitioned from clinician to administrator, practice manager, and teacher. Our course work in critical research inquiry prepared me well to operate now as an academic professor presenting research evidence to my students as well as creating new research.

Zachary Gubitosi (DPT '18)

Zachary Gubitosi dancing with a patient in a wheelchair.

Due to the excellent experience I had at NYU and all of the great opportunities I had being in New York, I am now a pediatric physical therapist at Children's Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. I work in their inpatient rehab facility and my focus is working with children with traumatic brain injuries. I work with all disciplines in the hospital in order to provide children of all ages with a plan of care to rehabilitate from all types of brain injuries. Without the experiences offered to me at NYU's DPT program, I would not have been able to obtain this job right out of school and I couldn't be happier.

Casey Smith in a white coat

I focus on treating pregnant and postpartum women as well as men with pelvic health issues, and I am thankful that my education at NYU was comprehensive. NYU's women's health segment was very inclusive and I was exposed to many conditions and treatments... and the didactic and clinical foundation enabled me to think about patients as a whole person and treat from the inside out.

Casey Smith (DPT '13)

Kat Borkowska (Clinical Residency in Orthopedic Physical Therapy '19)

Katarzyna Borkowska holding a bouquet of flowers standing next to a person in scrubs.

Applying for the NYU Clinical Residency in Orthopedic Physical Therapy was one of the best decisions I made professionally. Thanks to my mentors, Dr. Shou-An Liu, Dr. Weaver, and Dr. Lombardo, I became a better clinician and I grew as a person. I’m very grateful to my mentors who helped me recognize my strengths as a therapist. These strengths were built on and have tremendously changed my everyday practice. After only one year, I’m more confident, more efficient, and have a much broader understanding of anatomy, pathology, and biomechanics. Most importantly, my approach to patients is more individualized and successful. I am grateful to my patients, mentors, and NYU staff for this life-altering experience.

Outstanding Physical Therapy Alumni

Meet more outstanding alumni of the Department of Physical Therapy,

Read More

Alumni Interviews

The Path to Alleviating Pelvic Pain: An Interview with Denise Jagroo (DPT ’02)

Denise Jagroo earned her doctorate in physical therapy from NYU Steinhardt in 2002. "I feel truly blessed to have found my calling," she says.

Meet the Physical Therapy Department's Oldest Living Alum

Trudy Schwarz is the department’s oldest living alum at age 100. Her advice for students at the beginning of their careers? “Stay active and interested physically and mentally.”