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
Associate Professor and Co-Chair

I am an Associate Professor and Co-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.

Deborah Diaz
Associate Professor and Co-Chair

I am an Associate Professor and Co-Chair of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Samuel Merritt University.  I joined the Program in the Summer of 2015 and am honored to be a part of this team.  I come to SMU with over 20 years of experience as a faculty member in entry-level physical therapy education, most recently as Director of the DPT Program at The University of Texas at El Paso.

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 almost 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.

Gaye Raymond
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 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.

Vice President, Enrollment and Student Services
I am the Interim 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 continue to teach in the Department of Physical Therapy in the areas of professionalism and ethics.


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