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College of Health Professions and Social Work

College of Health Professions and Social Work

Ellen Donald, PhD, PT
Ellen Donald, PhD, PT

Assistant Professor - Rehabilitation Sciences
Phone: (239) 590-7531
Office: Marieb Hall 326

Ellen Donald came to FGCU in 1996 as the founding department chair for Physical Therapy and has overseen its expansion from one program to three, serving hundreds of university students annually. She was born in East Patchogue, NY, and graduated with a degree in physical therapy from Boston University in 1985. She earned her MS in Adult Education from Syracuse University. Prior to coming to Florida Gulf Coast University, she was Director of Clinical Education for the Physical Therapy Program at the University at Buffalo. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Instruction--Measurement and Research at the University of South Florida in Tampa. 

Outside the university, Ellen enjoys time with her three children and 13 animals. She stays physically active, renovates her home, supports the local Sled Hockey program, and leads the outreach programs in her church.

Proffesor Donald's areas of teaching expertise include pediatric physical therapy, professional issues, and exercise/wellness. She has extensive clinical experience in adult neuro and pediatric physical therapy in various settings.

Research and Scholarly Interests:

  • Clinical gait analysis using Gait Rite Analysis System to determine how a particular intervention (training protocol, exercise, othotic device, prosthetic device) affects gait parameters measured using Gait Rite
  • Fitness (exercise, weight management/obesity) in the special populations of amputees, pediatric population (disabled or typical child), and older adults
  • In-depth look at diagnostic/disability groups within pediatric population (e.g. cerebral palsy, MD, myelomenigocele)
  • Examinations and interventions in the pediatric population
  • Teaching/learning strategies in the health professions/developing skills as an educator
  • Therapeutic exercise approcahes (e.g. Pilates, aquatics etc)


Donald E, Peters J, Swanick K. (2016) Self-Reported Use of Vital Signs in the Adult Outpatient Physical Therapy Setting. ACSM, Boston, MA.


Professor Donald serves in a leadership role for exam development for the NPTE at the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.  She is also a member of the FGCU 20th Anniversary Committee.