Sharon Gorman

Sharon Gorman

Professor DPTSc, PT

Programs and Courses Taught

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Fall Semester
PT 710 Clinical Foundations of Physical Therapy Practice (course co-coordinator)
PT 744 Health Care Systems & Regulatory Aspects of PT
PT 702 Capstone II: Exploration and Planning
PT 715B Pt/Client Management: Special Topics 2 (course coordinator)
PT 704 Capstone IV: Completion
IPE 700 Interprofessional Team Practice for Error Management (IGNITE) elective

Spring Semester
PT 705 Pt/Client Management: Complexity in Care (course coordinator)
PT 713 Pt/Client Management: Neurology I 
PT 734 Pathology & Medical Management in Neurology

Summer Semester
PT 715A Pt/Client Management: Special Topics 1 (course coordinator)
PT 703 Capstone III: Implementation

About Me

I've been a physical therapist for more than 20 years with expertise in acute care physical therapy. My research interests are varied, currently I have projects investigating interprofessional education and acute care preparation. I'm a board-certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist and still work clinically in acute care as a Senior Physical Therapist at Kaiser Walnut Creek. 


I received my Doctor of Science degree in Physical Therapy at University of California/San Francisco State University, a Master of Science in Health Science at San Francisco State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from Mt. St. Mary’s University, Los Angeles. I am board certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties as a Geriatric Clinical Specialist and also hold advanced certification and training in assessment and treatment of vestibular disorders and in neurodevelopmental treatment approaches for adults with hemiplegia. I am a Distinguished Practitioner and Fellow of the National Academies of Practice, whose mission is “advancing interprofessional healthcare by fostering collaboration and advocating policies in the best interest of individuals and communities.”

Teaching Interests

My primary teaching interests are in acute care, neurologic physical therapy, geriatrics, and global health. I also serve as the faculty advisor to SMU's International Healthcare Club.

Scholarly Interests

My primary research focus is exploring the psychometric properties of the Function In Sitting Test (FIST). Current projects include the determination of the predictive validity of the FIST (manuscript preparation), adapting the FIST for the spinal cord injured population (consultation with outside researchers), and fall risk associated with the FIST (study in planning stages). Learn more about the FIST here.

I have a research line related to interprofessional teams. In conjunction with other SMU faculty, I'm investigating how our short term medical trips to Panama enhance interprofessional team attitudes and practice (data collection).I'm involved in the assessment of the SMU Patient Safety & Communication Interprofessional Education initiative in conjunction with multiple other SMU faculty.

With Dr. McGregor-Garske, I am working on a study to describe the changes in DPT students' confidence in acute care practice over the curriculum, and how both simulation and integrated clinical experiences may play a part. One study will, in part, also be a multi-center study with two other DPT programs in the US (in addition to SMU).


Schroeder S, Gorman SL. Decreased balance and injury risk in adolescent baseball pitchers. Orthop Phys Ther Prac. 2018;30(3):156-159.

Gorman SL, Harro C, Platko C, Greenwald C. Examining the Function In Sitting Test for validity, responsiveness, and minimal clinically important difference in inpatient rehabilitation. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014:95(12);304-2311.

Gorman SL, Ryan JM. How clinical reasoning can and should impact interprofessional communication to address behaviors that hinder acute care practice. J Acute Care Phys Ther. 2014;5(1):18-29.

Gorman SL, Harro C, Platko C. Validity and responsiveness of the Function In Sitting Test (FIST) in adults in inpatient rehabilitation: preliminary results. J Rehab Med. 2013;6(Suppl 53):99.

Gorman SL, Rivera M, McCarthy M. Reliability of the Function In Sitting Test (FIST). Rehabil Res Prac. 2014; Article ID 593280, 6 pages. doi:10.1155/2014/593280.

Gorman SL, Radtka S, Melnick M, Abrams G, Byl NN.  Development and validation of the Function In Sitting Test (FIST) in adults with acute stroke. J Neuro Phys Ther. 2010:34(3);150-160.

Gorman SL, Wruble Hakim E, Johnson-Pugh W, Basu S, Harris KS, Christ MH, Holtgrefe K, Rush J, Simpson MS, Bryan Coe J. Nationwide acute care physical therapy practice analysis: knowledge, skills and behaviors reflective of acute care specialized practice. Phys Ther. 2010:10(90);1453-1467.

Gorman SL, Lazaro R, Fairchild J, Kennedy B. Development and implementation of an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) in neuromuscular physical therapy.  J Educ Phys Ther. 2010:24(3);62-68.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Professional Associations:
Education Section, APTA
Academy of Acute Care Physical Therapy
Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy
Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy
HPA-The Catalyst, APTA
California Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics
National Academies of Practice, Physical Therapy Academy 

Current Leadership Positions:
President, Academy of Acute Care Physical Therapy
Delegate to the American Physical Therapy Association House of Delegates, California Physical Therapy Association

Community Service

Hands for Global Health, Board of Directors & founding board member

Health Volunteers Overseas
Editorial Review/Peer Reviewer:
Physical Therapy (Senior Manuscript Reviewer)
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Elite Reviewer)
Journal of Physical Therapy Education
Physical Therapy Journal of Policy, Administration and Leadership
Journal of Acute Care Physical Therapy
Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice
Physiotherapy Canada
Physiotherapy Research International

Honors & Awards

Physical Therapy Alumni of the Year, UCSF/SFSU Physical Therapy Program, 2017

CAL-PT-FUND Featured Researcher, Summer 2013, California Physical Therapy Fund, 2013

Acute Care Lecture Award, Acute Care Section, APTA, 2012

James Dunleavy Distinguished Service Award, Acute Care Section, APTA, 2006 & 2010

Distinguished Achievement Award for Academic Excellence, SFSU College of Health and Human Services, 2009

DPT Outstanding Faculty Award, Samuel Merritt University DPT Class of 2007 & Class of 2008

Adopt-A-Doc Award, Section on Geriatrics, APTA, 2006