Samuel Merritt University Professor Earns a Fulbright Award

Samuel Merritt University Professor Earns a Fulbright Award

Oakland, Calif. (March 7, 2013)—Samuel Merritt University (SMU) faculty member Rolando Lazaro has been selected for a Fulbright award to teach advanced courses in physical therapy and to study community-based rehabilitation techniques in the Philippines.

Lazaro, associate professor and co-chair of the SMU Department of Physical Therapy, will teach master’s level courses in global health, disability prevention and physical rehabilitation in the College of Allied Medical Professions at the University of the Philippines (UP).  Lazaro will use his expertise to help further the college’s goal of increasing the number of its faculty members with post-baccalaureate degrees.

As a Fulbright scholar, Lazaro will also closely observe a community-based rehabilitation program at the Manila university, considered an international model for improving access to healthcare. Lazaro hopes to replicate it at SMU in Oakland by expanding a pro-bono Physical Therapy Neurologic Rehabilitation Clinic he started nine years ago into a multidisciplinary community health clinic, incorporating practitioners from SMU’s nursing, podiatric medicine, physician assistant and occupational therapy programs.

“I am pleased that the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board has recognized Professor Lazaro’s talents as a teacher and his deep concern for addressing health disparities,” said SMU President Sharon Diaz. “He exemplifies Samuel Merritt University’s mission of educating skilled, compassionate and culturally competent healthcare professionals.”

A native of the Philippines, Lazaro spent two months as a volunteer teacher at the College of Allied Medical Professions in 2011. He will return there in June for five months for his Fulbright grant. Lazaro is a board-certified clinical specialist in geriatric physical therapy and conducts research into improving balance and mobility in aging adults, particularly those with neurologic conditions.

Lazaro’s Fulbright award is the second received by a faculty member at SMU. In 1996-1997, School of Nursing Professor Richard MacIntyre served as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Tromsø in Norway.

For more information, contact the Office of the President at 510.869.1528 or


Samuel Merritt University, located in Oakland, California, has been educating health science practitioners who are committed to making a positive difference in diverse communities since 1909.  Nearly 1,400 students are enrolled at SMU, with campuses in Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Mateo.  The University offers an undergraduate degree in nursing; master's degrees in nursing, occupational therapy, and physician assistant; and doctoral degrees in nursing, physical therapy and podiatric medicine.  For more information visit

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