DIDACTIC FACULTY

Morris “Rick” Beato, PT, DPT, GCS, NCS, CEEAA
Dr. Rick Beato is the Director of the UCF & Orlando Health Neurologic Residency Program. He is a clinical assistant professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Central Florida’s School of Kinesiology and Physical Therapy. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from the University of Perpetual Help in 1999 and received his post-professional clinical doctorate from the University of South Dakota in 2014. He became board certified as a clinical specialist in neurologic physical therapy in 2011 and in geriatric physical therapy in 2012. He is a Certified Exercise Expert for the Aging Adult and is trained on Neuro IFRAH & LSVT. Rick is the immediate past chair of the Geriatric Specialty Council and the current Maintenance of Specialty Certification (MOSC) Liaison for the council. Rick is a recipient of the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy’s Outstanding Service Award. He is active in the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy as previous chair of the Awards Committee, NCS Online Review Coordinator of NCS Committee, and the co-chair of the PTA Advance Proficiency Task Force for Neurology. He currently serves on the Membership, Practice and Continuing Education Committees of the Florida Physical Therapy Association and is the inaugural chair of the FPTA Neurology Special Interest Group.

 

Gerald Smith, PT, PhD
Dr. Smith teaches the neuroscience and neuroanatomy components of the UCF-Orlando Health Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program. He is an associate professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Central Florida teaching anatomy, neuroscience and neurologic based courses. He graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy and received his PhD in Anatomy with Neuroscience concentration from Virginia Commonwealth University. He attended a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Neurobiology at Georgetown University. He is a member of the International Brain Research Organization and the National Stroke Association. Dr. Smith has published articles on brain activation and recovery in stroke patients in numerous scientific journals including the Journal of Neurologic Rehabilitation, Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Stroke and the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy.

 

William J. Hanney PT, DPT, PhD, ATC, CSCS
Dr. Hanney is an assistant professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Central Florida teaching research and orthopedic manual therapy. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science/ Athletic Training from the University of West Florida, his Master of Science in Physical Therapy and Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of Saint Augustine Health Sciences, and his PhD in Physical Therapy from Nova Southeastern University. He is the Associate Editor of the Strength and Conditioning Journal. He has multiple articles published in numerous journals including Physical Therapy, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy and American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. He is also a recipient of the Strength and Conditioning Journal Editorial Excellence Award. Dr. Hanney is the research advisor and teaches the research component UCF-Orlando Health Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program.

 

James W. H. Sonne, PhD
Dr. Sonne is an Assistant Professor of Gross Anatomy and Neuroscience for University of Central Florida’s Physical Therapy Program where he also researches the effects of physical exercise on animal models of neurodegeneration. He earned his Ph.D. in 2013 from the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine for his pre-clinical, translational studies on the prevention of Parkinson’s disease using a novel peptide delivered to the brain non-invasively by nasal spray. He holds certificates in Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) for Clinical Trials by the U.S. FDA and a Graduate Teaching Certificate in the Human Anatomical Sciences. He is the Director of the Bioquantification Analytical Laboratory and the Director of the Gross Anatomy Laboratory of the UCF DPT program.

 

Nicole Dawson, PT, PhD, GCS
Nicole Dawson is an Assistant Professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Central Florida and Co-Director of the Innovative Mobility Innovative (IMOVE™) Lab.  She graduated from Ohio University with a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy in 2002. Dr. Dawson is a Board Certified Geriatric Physical Therapist with over 15 years of clinical experience along with a PhD in Adult Development & Aging Psychology from Cleveland State University. Her current area of research includes developing non-pharmacological interventions to improve functional and psychosocial outcomes in patients with dementia, identifying predictors of falls in older adults with cognitive impairment, as well as gaining a better understanding of the illness experience of individuals with dementia. Dr. Dawson has been published in peer-reviewed journals including The Gerontologist and the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy. She has presented at numerous international and national conferences on the subject. She became an item-writer in 2016 and was a member of the GCS Standard Setting Task Force.

 

Jennifer Tucker, PT, DPT, MS, PCS
Dr. Tucker is the Director of the University of Central Florida’s “Go Baby Go” and “Knights on the Go Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation Cafe”, a program that promotes early mobility for children and adults with motor impairment. She earned her post professional doctorate from the University of South Alabama, her Master of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Indianapolis and her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Alabama. She is Board Certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties and was a member of the Pediatric Specialization Academy of Content Experts. She completed a research fellowship at the UCF College of Health and Public Affairs. She is a core faculty member for the UCF DPT program where she teaches basic and advance neurologic and pediatric courses. Dr. Tucker is also a faculty member of the UCF & Orlando Health Neurologic Residency Program.  She is a recipient of the Florida Physical Therapy Association’s Award for Excellence in Academic Teaching.

 

Laurie Neely PT, DPT, NCS
Dr. Neely is a Clinical Assistant Professor and the Director of Clinical Education in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Central Florida.  Dr. Neely is board certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in Neurologic Physical Therapy and has over 10 years of clinical experience in the acute care setting with an emphasis on cardiopulmonary and neuro-trauma patient populations.  She was the founder and a facilitator of the Annapolis Stroke Club at Anne Arundel Medical Center prior to relocating to Florida.  She is active in campus wide interprofessional activities and community service and has presented at numerous state and national conferences on interprofessional education and clinical education including APTA’s CSM, NEXT and Educational Leadership Conference.

 

CLINICAL FACULTY

Erin Jones, PT, DPT, NCS, CBIS
Dr. Jones is the Residency Coordinator for the UCF-Orlando Health Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program. She is a Board Certified Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy, as well as a Certified Brain Injury Specialist by the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists. She is the Rehabilitation Educator at Orlando Heath Rehabilitation Institute. She received her Master’s in Physical Therapy degree from the University of Central Florida in 2008 and went on to earn her transitional Doctorate in Physical Therapy degree from A.T. Still University in 2012. She has been a co-director on two grants, one to host a two-day conference on spinal cord injury for healthcare practitioners in the community, and the other to develop an adaptive CrossFit program for individuals in the community living with spinal cord injury and disease.  Dr. Jones have presented several times at the APTA NEXT Conference on different topics including crisis response and management of patients with spinal cord injury in the acute care setting. Erin regularly presents at the Florida Physical Therapy Association Annual and Spring conferences. Her specialty includes rehabilitation of patients with traumatic and neurologic injury.

 

Christine Davidson, PT, DPT, NCS
Dr. Davidson is a clinical faculty for the UCF-Orlando Health Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2007 and received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at University of Florida in 2010. She received her board certification in neurologic physical therapy in 2015. Her subspecialties include stroke and brain injury rehabilitation. Dr. Davidson is a certified clinical instructor by the American Physical Therapy Association. She currently works at the inpatient rehabilitation unit of the Orlando Rehabilitation Institute. She is also the Chair of the Florida Physical Therapy Association East Central District and is the Secretary of the FPTA Neurology Special Interest Group.

 

Shannon Schlissel, PT, DPT, NCS, CBIS
Dr. Schlissel is a Board Certified Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy, as well as a Certified Brain Injury Specialist by the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists. She currently works as a clinical rehabilitation specialist for Orlando Regional Medical Center. She received her Master of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Scranton. She earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from A.T. Still University in 2014. She is certified as basic and advance credentialed clinical instructor by the American Physical Therapy Association.  She has co-authored a grant for spinal cord injury augmented and adaptive communication and is the founder of the Orlando Health Stroke Support Group.  She regularly presents at the FPTA Annual and Spring Conferences on topics such as communication strategies in patients with aphasia and management of spinal cord injury.  Her specialty includes acute care rehabilitation of patients with traumatic and neurologic injury. She is a clinical faculty for the UCF-Orlando Health Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program.

 

Patricia Bobrick, PT, MHS, MSCS, ATP
Ms. Bobrick is a Multiple Sclerosis Certified Specialist by the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Center. She is also a certified Assistive Technology Practitioner by the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America. She graduated with a bachelor of science in physical therapy from Wayne State University and a Master of Health Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Florida. She currently sees patient at Orlando Health’s Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Center of Central Florida. She is a previous recipient of the Above and Beyond Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She is a clinical faculty for the UCF-Orlando Health Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program.

 

Marissa Conrad, PT, MS, NCS, CBIS
Ms. Conrad is a Board Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties and a Certified Brain Injury Specialist by the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists. She also received a Certification of Achievement for Vestibular Rehabilitation competency from Emory University School of Medicine. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Wake Forest University and graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy. She is a clinical faculty member for the UCF-Orlando Health Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program. She currently works at the Orlando Rehabilitation Institute outpatient clinic as the lead of the vestibular and concussion rehabilitation programs.

 

Rachel Gonzalez, PT, DPT, NCS
Dr. Gonzalez is a Board Certified Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy. She currently works as a clinical rehabilitation specialist for Orlando Regional Medical Center. She received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Central Florida in 2010. She is a certified basic and advanced credentialed clinical instructor by the American Physical Therapy Association. She recently presented at the APTA NEXT conference on treatment for patients with spinal cord injury in the acute care setting. She has also presented at the Southern Regional Burn Conference on Early mobility in the trauma ICU and critical care polyneuropathy in the burn injured patient.  Her specialty includes acute care rehabilitation of patients with traumatic and neurologic injury as well patients who suffer from burn injury. She is a clinical faculty for the UCF-Orlando Health Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program.

 

Kristen Cezat, PT, DPT, ATP/SMS
Dr. Cezat is RESNA certified Assistive Technology Professional as well as Seating and Mobility Specialist.  She currently works as a clinical rehabilitation specialist at Orlando Health Rehabilitation Institute’s inpatient rehabilitation where her specialties include rehabilitation of patients with traumatic and neurologic injury as well as wheelchair evaluation/training for adults with neurologic conditions.  She received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from University of Central Florida in 2011.  She recently presented at Spinal Cord Injury Treatment across the Continuum in 2017 on topics including Seating and Mobility as well as Basic Transfer/Basic Bed mobility techniques.  She is an adjunct faculty in the University of Central Florida’s physical therapy program for neurology courses on topics such as spinal cord injury and wheelchair mobility.

 

Mariel Repetto, PT, MSPT, CBIS
Ms. Repetto is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist by the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy. Ms. Repetto has 12 years of experience working with patients with neurological conditions. She is a recipient of the Outstanding Physical Therapist/Physical Therapy Assistant Team Award from the Florida Physical Therapy Association and from the American Physical Therapy Association. She is the current treasurer of the Greater Orlando Spinal Cord Injury Network.

 

Robyn Vellenilla, PT, DPT, MSCS
Ms. Vallenilla is a Multiple Sclerosis Certified Specialist by the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Center. She received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of Florida. She currently sees patient at Orlando Health’s Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Center of Central Florida. She is the coordinator of the multiple sclerosis support group and has presented on the Florida Physical Therapy Association Annual Conference on rehabilitation of multiple sclerosis patients.

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