Dr. Gabriel Somarriba was working in the medical field as a research exercise physiologist when he decided a graduate degree was essential to further his career in research and incorporate patient care into his roles. Determined to continue his work in research, the search for a program suitable to his goals led him to the FLEX DPT program.
Dr. Somarriba is currently an Assistant Professor for Clinical Pediatrics at The University of Miami where he splits his days between patient care and research. The FLEX DPT program was the only program that would allow the flexibility for him to remain a full-time employee in research and complete a DPT.
While at USA, Dr. Somarriba served as class representative and maintained close interaction with program directors to further improve the program. Dr. Somarriba was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student Award at graduation by his peers. Upon graduation, he joined the faculty at USA to instruct students going through the FLEX DPT program he completed, allowing him to provide valuable first-hand experience to successful completion of the degree.
“The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences FLEX DPT Program gave me the opportunity to further my education while maintaining a full time position in academia, and has led to a unique and rewarding career path of clinical care, research and education.”
Dr. Jason Highsmith began practicing orthopaedic physical therapy in 2003. He graduated with his entry level Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT) from the USF School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences and his Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) from the University of St. Augustine. He went on to study prosthetics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL. He is currently a PhD candidate in the USF Medical Science program in the Clinical/ Translational Research Track. Dr. Highsmith is an Assistant Professor at the USF’s School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences where he teaches Prosthetics and Orthotics as well as Movement Science. He is jointly appointed with the James Haley VA Hospital in Tampa, FL as a Research Associate. He has studied the comparative efficacy of numerous prosthetic components and has also published in the areas of prosthetic biomechanics, prosthetic design and amputee rehabilitation.
“Being a distance learning student early in my professional career helped me to understand the process and role that distance education has for clinicians at various places in their development. For instance, in entry level training, distance learning maximizes face-to-face instructional time for concentrated, applied learning opportunities such as laboratory experiences. In the professional development of an experienced clinician, distance training allows for continued practice and clinical proficiency while combining didactic training customized to the individual’s day to day professional schedule.”