Physical Therapy

The Department of Physical Therapy at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science is dedicated to preparing therapists for a life long commitment to professional growth and the potential to develop into a master clinician. Our highly respected programs educate the entry level and postprofessional practitioners to lead the way in helping people of all ages overcome their functional challenges.



Department News 

Professor Schwertfeger receives APTA Section on Research Award

Professor Julie Schwertfeger, PT, MBA, was the recipient of the 2015 APTA Federal Affairs Liaison Award and honored at  NEXT Conference in June. This award was established in 2004 by APTA’s Board of Directors to recognize outstanding achievements by APTA members in advancing the association’s Federal Government Affairs objectives and activities; to increase awareness among APTA members of the objectives and importance of the association’s efforts to advocate policies and priorities at the federal government; to increase participation in the association’s Federal Government Affairs activities by recognizing the involvement and contributions of individual leaders; and to demonstrate by practical example how physical therapists can play a significant role in influencing federal health care. Julie not only met the criteria, but exceeded it by relentlessly advocating for physical therapy, continuing to educate not only members of Congress on physical therapy issues, but APTA members as well on the importance of being active in the legislative process through DC Fly-ins for the Section on Research and site visits back in Illinois. Furthermore, although she has advocated and served APTA in many ways, she never forgets the importance of mentoring her employees, students, and other therapists about being involved in the legislative process. We appreciate all of her efforts on behalf of the profession.

Faculty Earn Specialization Credentials  

Dr. Jessica Nilles PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT was recently honored as a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapists. She joins two other faculty, Dr. Matthew Nuciforo PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT, CSCS and Dr. Frank DiLiberto PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT as faculty to have achieved such distinction. Dr. Nilles was also honored in 2015 as a  Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. 

Dr. Sara Kovelski Kraut PT, DPT, NCS also achieved board certification recognition as a a Board Certified Neurological Clinical Specialist through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS). Clinical specialists are recognized by ABPTS for advanced clinical knowledge and skills in physical therapy specialty areas. The Program is proud to honor all NINE faculty who have attained this credential of distinction. 

Joseph Hanley DPT'14 honored as IPTA Physical Therapy Student of the Year

Class of 2014 student Joseph Hanley was recently honored as the 2014 Illinois Physical Therapy Association Physical Therapy Student of the Year. The award is given to an outstanding Physical Therapy Student to recognize those students who exhibit superior scholastic ability and potential for future professional contribution. Mr. Hanley helped to reestablish the IPTA Student Special Interest Group (SSIG), after the SSIG had been inactive for several years, and served to establish the inaugural  SSIG banquet "We're All in this Together" a fundraiser for the Marquette Challenge in 2013. Over $7000 was raised at the event in support of the Foundation for Physical Therapy.  The event has received numerous awards including the Foundation’s “Most Creative Fundraiser” Award in 2013 and the Foundation’s “Innovation in Fundraising Award for 2014." Mr Hanley also served as an intern with IPTA. Previous recipients of this award include RFUMS alumni Giovanni Berardi DPT'10 and Kristen Smigelski DPT'11.  Please join us in congratulating Mr. Joe Hanley! 

Physical Therapy Student Awarded Presidential Scholarship

Betsy Montgomery DPT'17  has been awarded the 2015 President Scholarship by the College of Health Professions. The Presidential Scholarship is a scholarship designed for students who demonstrate a commitment to Interprofessionalism and have a vision for excellence in patient centered care through collaboration. As part of the award, Montgomery will direct an interprofessional health promotion and wellness initiative. 

Class of 2016 Awarded Foundation Honorable Mention in 2015 Marquette Challenge

For participation in the 2014 Marquette Challenge the Class of 2016 has been awarded the Foundation Honorable Mention. The Challenge has become the single largest fundraiser for the Foundation For Physical Therapy, the primary source of funding for physical therapy researchers investigating innovative approaches to health delivery services. RFUMS was recognized by the Foundation for our long-standing history of contributions to this important cause by our induction into the Challenge Philanthropy Circle Cornerstone Society in 2010. We remain one of only 6 schools to receive such distinction, an elite group of schools with a legacy of success.

Nicole Oddo, Class of 2014, Awarded Schweitzer Fellowship

Her project is entitled "Healthy Mind, Healthy Body" and will benefit underserved older adults in Waukegan and surrounding communities.
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