Top Stories of 2021

As we close out another year we want to look back to some of the top stories of 2021 for our School.  They are in no particular order and reflect the top stories read on our website and social media based on views.

1. New Faculty & Staff Members

This past year we hired several new faculty and staff for our various programs within the School. They included the following:

Tamara N. Gravano, PT, DPT, EdD Assistant School Director of Curriculum and Assessment and Associate Professor

Gary Cohen, PhD, LAT, ATC – Assistant Professor Professional Athletic Training Program

Mathdany Clark, MBA – Academic Services Administrator

2. Athletic Training Programs move to the School

As of January 1, 2021, the University of South Florida (USF) Professional Athletic Training Program and the Post-Professional Advanced Athletic Training Program moved from the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine into the School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences (SPT&RS).

To read more visit:

3. Morsani College of Medicine Academy of Distinguished Faculty

The USF Health Morsani College of Medicine recently celebrated and welcomed the first ever inductees to the MCOM Academy of Distinguished Educators during a small ceremony in July. This included two of our Physical Therapy (Drs. Haladay & Ditwiler) and one of our Athletic Training (Dr. Tritsch) faculty members.

To read more visit:


4. Orthopaedic Residency Program Re-Accredited

The USF Health Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency program was recently awarded a ten year re-accreditation by the American Board of Physical Therapy & Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE). This is the longest accreditation length a program can be granted by this organization that oversees PT residencies and fellowships. These opportunities allow physical therapists to become specialized and advance their knowledge and clinical practice beyond their generalist training in a DPT program.

To read more visit:

5. Faculty & Staff Appointments, Service, and Recognition

Rebecca Edgeworth Ditwiler PT, DPT, Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy & Associate Professor 

Appointed to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Ethics and Judicial Committee. Read more here:

2021 FPTA Fred Rutan Award for Excellence in Service

Aimee Klein, PT, DPT, DSc, Professor, Assistant School Director, and Director USF Health Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program

Promoted to the rank of Professor at USF

Shayne Tarrance, PT, DPT, WCS, BCB-PMD, Assistant Professor 

Appointed to the clinical practice guidelines (CPG) steering committee of the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy (APHPT).

Kelly Collins, PT, DPT, OCS – Assistant Professor

Promoted to Chair APTA Lymphatic Disease SIG

Rebecca Lopez, PhD, LAT, ATC – Associate Professor, Professional Athletic Training Program

Promoted to Assistant School Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Received the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Athletic Trainer Service Award (ATSA)

Stefanie Bond, PT, DPT, GCS

Selected to be an item writer for the Geriatric Clinical Specialist Exam

Appointed to FPTA Geriatrics Special Interest Group

Jamie Holloway, PhD, PT, DPT, PCS – Assistant Professor

Promoted to Chair of the Early Intervention Special Interest Group for APTA Pediatrics

Bini Thomas, PT, DPT, MSA, EdD – Assistant Professor

Appointed to APTA Acute Care Finance Committee

Jeremy Turkall, MS – Manager, Educational and Student Affairs

Selected for APTA PTCAS Work Group

USF Health Shared Student Services Member of the Year

USF Health Culture Coin Recipient

6. Athletic Training Sling Bags Campaign

In early fall 2021, our athletic training students in the Professional Athletic Training Program received a Nexus Deadbug Sling bag to welcome them to the program and profession. Not only was this the first type of gift giving event hosted by the program, but the gift also carried several additional meanings. The bag itself was created by one of our Post Professional Advanced AT program alums, J. Ostia to help change the bag game for athletic trainers. The bag allows for better storage, easier access, and overall helps athletic trainers provide better healthcare services in action.

To read more visit:

7. Return to Campus

During 2020 our program quickly transitioned to a virtual/hybrid format due to the pandemic to ensure the health and safety of our entire community. Then this fall 2021 we shifted back to normal operations with a full return to campus. All of our lectures, labs, simulations and more shifted back to their normal operations, but following all safety measures. The ability to make these shifts and changes speaks to our programs flexibility, expertise, and collaboration of our faculty and staff.

8. Clinical Education and Alumni Clinical Instructors

An important part of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)  is the clinical education component, which gives students hands-on, real-world experience under a licensed physical therapist. Our program has always thrived due to our strong community partnerships and our clinical affiliations throughout Tampa, Florida, and our Nation. During Spring 2021, five of our current students had the chance to train under five of our alumni who were serving as clinical instructors (CI).

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9. Dr. Swisher Awarded Mary McMillan Lecture Award

Laura Lee “Dolly” Swisher was recently awarded the 53rd American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Mary McMillan Lecture Award. The Mary McMillan Lecture is the most distinguished honor an active APTA member physical therapist or life member can receive. This lecture is regarded as one of the keystone events of APTA programming. This award recognizes those who have demonstrated exemplary skills in the areas of administration, education, patient care, management, and research.

To read more visit:

10. The Black Experience in Physical Therapy

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and our USF Doctor of Physical Therapy program students organized and hosted “The Black Experience in PT: A Panel Discussion” in February 2021. This jointly hosted virtual discussion started the conversation on the necessity of diversity within our profession, the importance of it, and steps we can start to take. Only 5% of practicing Physical Therapists and 3% of Physical Therapy students are African American. Lack of diversity in healthcare is an ongoing issue that has a significant effect on the minority patient population and the care that they receive. This panel discussed the hurdles faced by minority physical therapists, as well as health disparities witnessed in the field and their responses to them.