Physical Therapy Faculty

Benjamin Boyd
Associate Professor
I have been a physical therapist since 2002 and an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist since 2008. I continue clinical practice in the bay area seeing clients with a wide range of injuries. My research focuses on the impact of diseases and injuries on peripheral nerve health including the effects of diabetes, breast cancer treatments and neuropathy on the sensitivity of the nervous system.
Nicole Christensen
Department Chair and Associate Professor

I am an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy.  I have taught physical therapy at Samuel Merritt University since 2006. My area of expertise and scholarship is the facilitation of clinical reasoning development in learners at all professional levels.

Heidi McGregor Garske
Assistant Director of Clinical Education and Instructor

I graduated from Chapman University with a Master of Physical Therapy degree in 1989.  Over my 25 year physical therapy career, I have practiced in the early intervention, outpatient pediatric, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), NICU follow up clinic, musculoskeletal, private practice and workplace wellness settings.  As an Assistant Director of Clinical Education of the Department of Physica

Sharon Gorman
Associate Professor

I've been a physical therapist for more than 20 years and my area of expertise is acute care physical therapy. I'm a board certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist and also have advanced certification and training in neurodevelopmental treatment and assessment/treatment of vestibular disorders. I enjoy traveling, including global medical outreach in Haiti and Panama.

Stephanie Greenspan
Assistant Professor

I have enjoyed working as a clinician in a variety of settings where I have focused on management of clients with musculoskeletal and neurologic disorders.  I have a special interest in performing artists, especially dancers and circus artists.  My post-graduate training has included residencies in orthopaedic  and neurologic physical therapy, and a fellowship in orthopaedic manual therapy.

Susan Grieve
Assistant Professor

My association with Samuel Merritt University began as a physical therapy student in 1996. After graduating from the MPT program I began my clinical career in the acute care setting moving to the out-patient orthopedic and out-patient neurological settings. I returned to SMU in 2005 teaching part time and was hired as a full time faculty member in 2010.

Rolando Lazaro

I am a Professor in the Physical Therapy Department. I have been a physical therapist for over 30 years. I have worked in many practice settings before specializing in geriatrics and neuromuscular physical therapy. I am a board-certified Clinical Specialist in geriatric physical therapy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.

Preeti Nair
Associate Professor

As a faculty member in the Department of Physical Therapy and being a clinician, an educator, and a researcher, my goal in the DPT program is to prepare students  to be active critical thinkers and change agents in the community.

Gaye Raymond
Director of Clinical Education and Assistant Professor

I have thoroughly enjoyed being a physical therapist.  I worked in several educational insititutions and a variety of clinical postions.  I enjoy working with people with neurological diagnoses as well as older adults. My career includes positions in acute care settings, SNF, out patient, and home health.  I was a manager for over 14 years.

Angela Rusher
Assistant Director of Clinical Education and Assistant Professor

I am a Samuel Merritt University alumni and have been practicing as a physical therapist in the acute care, acute rehabilitation, and outpatient neuro settings with a focus on patients with neurological and vestibular disorders.

Gail Widener

Physical therapy has been a wonderful career for me. I have practiced in several areas including sports medicine, acute care, neurorehabilitation and geriatrics and in many different settings. My research focuses on ways to improve mobility and balance in people with neurodegenerative diseases, particularly mutliple sclerosis and cerebellar ataxia.

Terry Nordstrom
Vice President, Enrollment and Student Services and Associate Professor
I am the Vice-President of Enrollment and Student Services at the University. The Division is responsible for Admission, Registrar, Financial Aid, Student Academic Support, Student Services, Veteran's Services, Student Health and Counseling, and Disability Services. I am also an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and I teach in the areas of professionalism and ethics.


For the entire PT faculty directory, click here to view the Directory.