DPT Faculty

Core Faculty

Robert W. Nithman, PT, PhD, DPT, GCS

Program Dean/Director & Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Robert W. Nithman, PT, PhD, DPT, GCSContact Information
Phone: 323-300-5155
Office: Center for Graduate Studies
Email: bnithman@westcoastuniversity.edu

Dr. Nithman joined WCU in 2021. He was born and raised in Pennsylvania where he graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in Health Sciences and a Master of Physical Therapy from Duquesne University. He then returned for his post-professional Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree (t-DPT) from Chatham University. From there, he went on to achieve Board Certification as a Geriatric Clinical Specialist (GCS) in 2006 (recertified in 2016), as well as own and operate a rehab staffing company and a Medicare-certified home health agency. Dr. Nithman began full-time teaching in 2009 which led him to pursuing additional professional development and ultimately earning his PhD from Nova Southeastern University.

Drawing from his experiences in business start-up, interprofessional practice management, consulting, formal post-professional education, and 25+ years of experience across the healthcare continuum, Dr. Nithman’s teaching focus is in outcomes management, interprofessional education & practice management, healthcare policy, law, and ethics, reimbursement systems including value-based healthcare, geriatric rehabilitation, health & wellness of older adults including fall screening and prevention. Dr. Nithman’s expertise in Prospective Payment System (PPS) and in-home assessment and reimbursement procedures are exemplified by his Certification as an Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) Specialist (COS-C) in 2005-2021.

Dr Nithman has consulted for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and Harvard Medical School in addition to numerous private healthcare businesses. Dr Nithman has over 40 peer reviewed scholarly products with most recent works focusing on a Clinical Practice Guidance Statement and a Delphi consensus-based document for the physical therapist’s management of patient / clients with low bone mass, the acceptance/feasibility/reliability/validity of remote fall risk screening, value-based health care, the CDC’s STEADI algorithm, and telerehabilitation. Dr. Nithman has presented to national and international audiences on telerehabilitation, fall screening & prevention, interprofessional rehabilitation and prognostic tools, risk and strategic planning with business entity selection, high-fidelity simulation, technology in home healthcare, case management in prospective payment systems, predictive validity of admissions interviews, as well as critical thinking and debate-style learning.

Dr. Nithman is very engaged professionally. Notably, he is the current Chair of the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) Geriatrics Specialty Council which oversees the Geriatrics Specialty Exam (GCS). He has served the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) as an item writer, coordinator, and was ultimately appointed to the National Physical Therapist Exam (NPTE) Development Committee. Dr Nithman is a former elected and founding Board member of American Council of Academic Physical Therapy’s (ACAPT) National Inter-Professional Education Consortium (NIPEC), and has recently been appointed by ACAPT to the newly formed Advocacy Committee where he represents DPT programs from CA and HI. Dr. Nithman is a member of the APTA’s Academies of Education, Geriatrics, and Health Policy & Administration along with a number of special interest groups.

Education
Ph.D. Nova Southeastern University, 2018
t-DPT Chatham University, 2005
MPT Duquesne University, 1997
B.S. Duquesne University, 1996

 

Fred Farris, PhD

Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Fred FarrisContact Information
Phone: (323) 300-5155
Office: Center for Graduate Studies
Email: frFarris@westcoastuniversity.edu

Biography

Dr. Farris earned his Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Purdue University and completed a post doctorate training program at the University of Rochester. Dr. Farris teaches in pharmaceutical science arena and serves on a variety of academic committees. Dr. Farris served as the Department Chair of Pharmacy Practice at Manchester College School of Pharmacy, the Department Chair of Pharmacy Practice and Administration at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore School of Pharmacy and as the Department Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Mercer University School of Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia. He has nearly forty years of pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical sciences teaching experience and twenty-five years of administrative faculty experience. He has overseen numerous graduate students and authored a large number of scientific papers.

Education
Ph.D. Purdue University

 

Cameron Brown, PT, DPT, PCS

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Cameron Brown, PT, DPT, PCSContact Information
Phone: (323) 300-5155
Office: Center for Graduate Studies
Email: CaBrown@westcoastuniversity.edu

Biography

Dr. Brown (she/her) is an Assistant Professor with the West Coast University Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Biology from the University of California Davis in 2008, while enjoying four years of competing with the Women’s Rugby team. She went on to complete her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at the University of St. Augustine – San Marcos, graduating in 2012. Dr. Brown first joined West Coast University as an adjunct faculty member in 2020, teaching in neuromuscular, pediatric, and cardiopulmonary courses. She joined West Coast University’s core faculty team after 9 years of clinical practice in outpatient pediatrics. She is an APTA credentialed clinical instructor and has served as Site Coordinator of Clinical Education and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Coordinator in her clinical practice.

Dr. Brown is a board certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist and has worked with patients in early intervention, school-based, and medical models. She has experience in multi-disciplinary developmental group programs, as well as adaptive and therapeutic summer camp programming. She serves on the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy mentorship programming subcommittee and works as a mentor for several organizations. Her passions for increasing support for underrepresented minorities in the PT field, along with seeing a need for mentorship and support for Black students and clinicians is what led her to her role Chairperson of the Southern California chapter of the National Association of Black Physical Therapists (NABPT). She has a passion for creating inclusive environments where students, faculty, and our community can thrive together.

Education
DPT, University of St. Augustine San Marcos, 2012
BS -Exercise Biology, UC Davis, 2008

 

Daniel Cipriani, Ph.D., PT

Professor, Physical Therapy Program

Daniel Cipriani, Ph.D., PTContact Information
Phone: (323) 300-5155
Office: Center for Graduate Studies
Email: dcipriani@westcoastuniversity.edu

Biography

Dr. Cipriani has been a licensed Physical Therapist since 1984 with extensive clinical experiences in the areas of orthopaedic rehabilitation, orthopaedic trauma, and sports medicine. His primary area of clinical expertise focuses on lower extremity biomechanics and injury mechanics, with a special interest in running and cycling related injuries.  He has been involved in academia and research since 1991and along the way he helped develop a Master’s Degree program in Rehabilitation Science. As a faculty member he has received numerous teaching awards including being a 3-time recipient of the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence at the Medical College of Ohio, twice named the Outstanding Faculty Member at Chapman University and twice named DPT Faculty of the Year at West Coast University. Dr. Cipriani serves as a manuscript reviewer for numerous professional research journals and he is a member of the International Editorial Board for the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy.  In addition, for several years he served on the main Editorial Board for the Physical Therapy Journal and was awarded Manuscript Reviewer of the Year by the American Physical Therapy Association. Dr. Cipriani received his B.S. in Physical Therapy at The Ohio State University. He completed his M.S. (Exercise Science and Applied Biomechanics) and Ph.D. (Applied Measurement/Statistics) at the University of Toledo.  His research interests include applied exercise techniques for the enhancement of movement, assessment of orthoses on joint function, and research focusing on the Clinimetric and Psychometric properties of clinical measures.  Dr. Cipriani has authored and co-authored over 40 peer-reviewed research publications, several book chapters, and numerous invited papers.  Abstracts from his research and that of his students have been presented at State and National Physical Therapy and Biomechanics Professional Conferences.  Dr. Cipriani has presented lectures and workshops across the United States and Puerto Rico mostly on the topics of lower extremity biomechanics and orthotic management of foot pathomechanics.

Education
PhD, University of Toledo, 2003
MS in Exercise Science/Applied Biomechanics, University of Toledo, 1992
BS in Physical Therapy, The Ohio State University, 1984

Links
Publications
Research Gate Publications
LinkedIn Profile

 

Matthew Klein, PT, DPT, OCS, GCS, FAAOMPT

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Matthew Klein, PT, DPT, OCS, GCS, FAAOMPTContact Information
Phone: 323-300-5155
Office: Center for Graduate Studies
Email: mklein@westcoastuniversity.edu

Biography

Dr. Klein is an Assistant Professor within the West Coast Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science in 2013 from University of Puget Sound and received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) in 2016 from Western University of Health Sciences. He completed an Orthopedic Residency at Casa Colina in 2018 and a Manual Therapy and Sport Rehabilitation Fellowship at Kaiser Permanente Southern California in 2019. He is currently a PhD Candidate at Azusa Pacific University in Rehabilitation and Movement Science. His research is focused on the biomechanical changes that occur with age in masters runners and their relationship to the higher risk of Achilles tendinopathy. Dr. Klein is double board certified in Orthopedics (2018) and Geriatrics (2022). He is currently approved for and will be taking the Sports Clinical Specialist exam in March 2023. He is certified as an Emergency Medical Responder and has extensive on field and sports experience. He became a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists in April of 2019. He is also an APTA Credentialed Clinical Instructor. He has a wide range of clinical experiences having worked in primary care, interdisciplinary spine care, chronic pain, virtual care, geriatrics, university sports, outpatient orthopedics in private and hospital-based settings, acute care, home health, emergency room physical therapy, on field care and endurance sports.

Dr. Klein has research interests include geriatric athletes, masters runners, foot and ankle assessment and rehabilitation, runners, aging, return to sport and footwear. Dr. Klein is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) including current memberships in the Academy of Geriatrics, Orthopedics and Sports sections. He has additional current memberships in the Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists and the United States Track and Field Association.

Dr. Klein is the founder and chief editor the footwear and running website Doctors of Running. He currently consults for a variety of sports and footwear companies on safe and effective running shoe development. He and his team of physical therapists review running shoes from a biomechanical perspective, attempting to educate both the consumers and developers on how to make safe and effective performance footwear.

Education
PhD Candidate in Rehabilitation and Movement Science, Azuza Pacific University – anticipated graduation 2023
DPT, Western University of Health Sciences, 2016
BS, Exercise Science, University of Puget Sound, 2013

 

Najmeh Hoseini, PT, MSPT, PhD

Assistant Professor

Najmeh Hoseini, PT, MSPT, PhDContact Information
Phone: (323) 454-5059
Email: nhoseini@westcoastuniversity.edu

Biography

Dr. Najmeh Hosseini joined West Coast University as an assistant professor in Summer of 2019. She Grew up in Iran and received her bachelor of science (2003) and master of science (2006) degree in Physical Therapy from Iran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran. She moved to the United States in 2009 and attended Indiana University for her doctoral degree. She completed her Ph.D. in Kinesiology with a major in human performance and a minor in neuroscience in 2015 in Bloomington, Indiana and worked as a core faculty at Midwestern University from 2015-2019.

She is a member of American Physical Therapy Association and has practiced physical therapy in Iran, Indiana State, and Arizona State since 2006.

Her research is focused on sensorimotor neurophysiology and neuroplasticity. Since 2011, Dr. Hoseini has published several peer-review articles in PLOS ONE, and Neuroscience letters and has presented her research at Society for Neuroscience, APTA NEXT, NanoFlorida, Brain Mapping and Therapeutics (SBMT), and Brain Stimulation (Canada).

Education
PhD in Kinesiology, Indiana University, Bloomington, 2015
MSPT, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, 2006
BS, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, 2003

 

Karen W Sam, PT, DPT, GCS

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Karen W Sam, PT, DPT, GCSContact Information
Phone: (323) 300-5155
Office: Center for Graduate Studies
Email: ksam@westcoastuniversity.edu

Biography

Dr. Karen Sam, PT, DPT, GCS joined West Coast University as an Assistant Professor in 2021.  She received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Columbia University – College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2006, and completed her clinical training at New York-Presbyterian Hospital – Columbia University and Weill Cornell Medicine.  Dr. Sam is an APTA Board Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist since 2011 (recertified in 2021) and APTA Credentialed Clinical Instructor.  Prior to joining WCU, she has been an Adjunct Faculty at the University of Southern California, Azusa Pacific University and Mount Saint Mary’s University since 2014, teaching in cardiopulmonary, pathophysiology and neuromuscular patient management courses.

Dr. Sam has 15 years of extensive and in-depth clinical experience in the acute care setting.  Her primary areas of clinical expertise focused on orthopaedic trauma, orthopaedic oncology, sarcoma and metastatic disease, complex limb salvage reconstructive surgeries, hematology/oncology and hematopoietic stem cell transplants. She has developed Cancer Survivorship and Rehabilitation Program, hospital-based clinical practice guidelines on laboratory values and venous thromboembolism, as well as Multiple Myeloma special interest group at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She has served as presenter and panelist on management of complex trauma at California Physical Therapy Association conference.  Dr. Sam is deeply dedicated to compassionate patient-centered care and empowering patients and clinicians through patient education and clinical training.  She is looking forward to sharing her passion with the students at West Coast University.

Education
DPT, Columbia University
BS, Organizational Communication, Ohio University
BA, Psychology, Ohio University

 

Michael Connors, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS, FAAOMPT

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Michael ConnorsContact Information
Office: Center for Graduate Studies
Email: micconnors@westcoastuniversity.edu

Biography

Dr. Connors is an Assistant Professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, joining in March 2024. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Stockton College. He received his Master of Physical Therapy degree from Rutgers University in 2003 and a transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Temple University in 2008. Dr. Connors completed his PhD at Texas Woman’s University in 2017. His research included the effects of spinal manipulation on rotator cuff muscle activation in patients with subacromial impingement syndrome. Dr. Connors has 21 years of clinical practice, working with mostly orthopedic clients in the outpatient setting. He also has extensive experience working with amateur and professional performing artists. He is also board certified in Orthopedic Physical Therapy. Dr. Connors also has extensive experience in presenting at both national and international conferences. He holds an academic appointment as an Assistant Professor (Honorary) at Red Cross University in Xian, China in the Department of Orthopedics.

Education
Ph.D. Texas Woman’s University 2017
t-DPT Temple University, 2008
B.S. Stockton College, 2001

 

Joan Rae “JR” Hermosura, PT, PhD, DPT, OCS, SCS, FAAOMPT

Assistant Professor, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Joan Rae “JR” Hermosura, PT, PhD, DPT, OCS, SCS, FAAOMPT Dr. Hermosura is an Assistant Professor at West Coast University’s Physical Therapy Program. She is a Southern Californian native but wanting to explore, she moved to Arizona and graduated from Arizona State University Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Science (BS) in Kinesiology in 2008. Moving back to California, she attended Azusa Pacific University, graduating with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2013.  She completed a Board-Certified Orthopedic Residency program through Kaiser Permanente from 2015-2016 and became an Orthopedic Certified Specialist (OCS) in 2016. Following the pursuit for learning and additional clinical expertise, she continued on to complete a Fellowship in Manual Therapy with an emphasis in sports through Kaiser Permanente from 2016-2017 and obtained a Sports Certification Specialty (SCS) in 2017.

In 2020, Dr. Hermosura completed her didactic work to achieve PhD candidacy for Physical Therapy from Loma Linda University earning her PhD in 2024. Her research explores a neurological component relating to the persistence of chronic low back pain utilizing neurological clinical tests and imaging. Dr. Hermosura has dedicated much of her physical therapy to career learning and growing with the profession while working primarily in an outpatient orthopedic clinic. Combining her love for sports and physical therapy, she enjoys training youth athletes, primarily softball. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, seeks adventure outdoors including snowboarding, rock-climbing, and camping, and she loves a good DIY home project.

 

Ryan Lovell, PT, DPT, NCS, ATP

Assistant Professor and the Co-Director of Clinical Education, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Ryan Lovell, PT, DPT, NCS, ATP

Dr. Lovell is an Assistant Professor and the Co-Director of Clinical Education in West Coast University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. As distinguished Physical Therapist from Pasadena, CA, his academic journey began with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physiology from the University of Arizona. He further pursued his education by earning a clinical Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy (DPT) at Azusa Pacific University. He is board certified in Neurologic Physical Therapy (NCS) and is certified in Assistive Technology (ATP), reflecting his commitment to excellence in specialized fields. He is currently enrolled in the Rehabilitation and Movement Science Ph.D. program at Azusa Pacific University, where he is actively advancing his expertise in the field.

As a dedicated researcher and practitioner, Dr. Lovell has contributed to groundbreaking studies at the Pathokinesiology Laboratory at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. Specializing in clinical quantitative biomechanical studies, he integrates fine wire and surface EMG, motion capture, and force plate analysis, showcasing proficiency in cutting-edge technologies.

A published researcher, Dr. Lovell has significantly contributed to the field by studying the efficacy of the Sensoria Smart Socks system for gait rehabilitation. His commitment to advancing knowledge is also evident through abstract presentations on the clinical use of exoskeletons and neuroprostheses for gait training.

With a passion for integrating technology into rehabilitation practices and a proven track record in clinical coordination, research, and patient-focused care, Dr. Ryan Lovell continues to be a driving force in the advancement of physical therapy and neurological rehabilitation.

 

Dr. Jennyfer Oh, PT, DPT, NCS

Assistant Professor and the Co-Director of Clinical Education, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Dr. Jennyfer Oh, PT, DPT, NCS

Dr. Oh is an Assistant Professor and the Co-Director of Clinical Education in West Coast University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology with a minor in Human Development from the University of California, San Diego in 2013 and graduated as part of the inaugural DPT class at West Coast University in 2017 with an Academic Achievement Award. Dr. Oh completed a neurologic residency program at Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare and is an APTA Board Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist. Her clinical practice is well established in inpatient rehabilitation and outpatient settings treating adults with a variety of neurologic conditions throughout the continuum of care.  Prior to joining WCU full-time, Dr. Oh was an adjunct instructor at several physical therapy programs in Southern California.

 

Dr. Oh has been volunteering with the PR Committee for the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy since she was a student physical therapist and locally with the adaptive sports community. She is also an APTA Credentialed Clinical Instructor and a Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery certified instructor. Outside of physical therapy, she enjoys Latin dancing, cooking, hiking, and travelling.

Staff

Gayana Arutyunyan, PhD, PMP®

Program Coordinator, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Gayana Arutyunyan, PhD, PMP

Contact Information
Phone: 323-300-5155
Office: Center for Graduate Studies
Email:  GArutyunyan@westcoastuniversity.edu

Biography
Gayana has started her journey with West Coast University in 2022. She completed her Ph.D. in Economics with a minor in International Business Management in 2013 at Rostov State University of Economics. Served as a Student Services Advisor 2009-2014, Head of Workforce Development 2014-2015, Associate Dean 2015-2017 and Professor 2014-2017 at Academy of National Economics and Public Administration, located in Russian Federation. Gayana managed international educational projects, including double diploma, short-term and long-term student exchange projects since 2009. Given international projects were in collaboration with Royal Roads University (Victoria BC, Canada), Higher School of Public Administration (Szczecin, Poland), Academy of Languages (Heidelberg, Germany), Corvinus University (Budapest, Hungary), Montreux Business School (Montreux, Switzerland), etc. In 2018-2022 Gayana served as a Student Services and Compliance Administrator at IT Training company – New Horizons Career Development Solutions. Gayana has also served as a School Certifying Official for the US Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2020, she became a Certified Project Management Professional and currently is a PMI Community member. Her expertise lies in educational project management, compliance, student services, institutional strategic planning and management, office administration, scheduling, audit, educational programs development and implementation, process improvements.

Education
PhD, Rostov State University of Economics, 2013
PMP, Project Management Institute, 2020