Givens to become Director of Physical Therapy in January

Stephen Hooper, PhD, chair of the department of allied health sciences and associate dean for the UNC School of Medicine, has appointed Deborah Givens, PT, DPT, PhD, as the next director of the division of physical therapy. Givens will assume her new role in January 2015, taking over the leadership reigns from Lisa Johnston, PT, MS, DPT, who has been serving as interim director since August 2013.

Givens to become Director of Physical Therapy in January click to enlarge Deborah Givens, PT, DPT, PhD

Givens is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Prior to 2011, she was Director of the Physical Therapy Division in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Medicine, at The Ohio State University. She has been a leader in curricular reform, the advancement of residency education, and faculty development at both institutions.

“Dr. Givens brings a wealth of administrative, academic, research, and clinical experiences to the division, department, and larger university system,” said Hooper. “Her leadership will help the Division of Physical Therapy continue its legacy of excellence and grow to meet the ever-evolving demands of modern health care.  Dr. Johnston and our Physical Therapy faculty have done a tremendous job maintaining the division’s strengths during our national search for a permanent director.  Thanks to them, Dr. Givens will be able to hit the ground running in January.”

As Director of the Division of Physical Therapy, Dr. Givens will facilitate the management and ongoing development of the division’s nationally-ranked Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, Transitional DPT program, interdisciplinary Human Movement Science PhD program (administered jointly  with the UNC Department of Exercise and Sports Science), and Physical Therapy Orthopedic Residency program (a collaboration with UNC Hospitals).  In addition, she will promote and encourage the advancement of research conducted by Division of Physical Therapy faculty and through the Center for Human Movement Science, and clinical services provided through the faculty clinic, University Physical Therapy.

“The UNC Division of Physical Therapy has a long history of excellence in education and research–it is truly a gem,” said Givens.  “I am honored to join the talented faculty and to serve as their leader as we work together to advance the mission and vision of the program.  I look forward to working with the students and alumni, who I will count on to teach me the traditions that come with such a vibrant university.”

Givens is actively involved in physical therapy research.  Her research addressing the neuromuscular consequences of lower back pain and exercise interventions has been funded by the NIH and the NFL. She has published her work in journals such as Physical Therapy, Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, and Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and she is an Editorial Review Board Member for the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy.

Givens received her BS degree in Physical Therapy (‘82)  from Virginia Commonwealth University, her MS and tDPT degrees (‘90, ‘05), from the MGH Institute of Health Professions, and her PhD from the University of Iowa (‘97).

The UNC Chapel Hill Division of Physical Therapy tied for 9th nationally out of 220 programs ranked by U.S. News & World Report in 2012.  UNC Physical Therapy, which will celebrate its 60th Anniversary in 2017, has a rich history of excellence in physical therapy teaching, research, community service, and clinical care.  The division has graduated over 1,600 alumni who have made significant contributions to improved patient care across North Carolina, the nation, and world.  


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