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University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences Presents Prestigious Alumni Award to Dr. Nicola Varveris

Award presented to Dr. Nicola Varveris, from Naples, Florida, for her commitment to professional development and achievement in the advancement of the clinical practice of physical therapy

Cindy Mathena

Nicola Varveris & Cindy Mathena

St. Augustine, FL, December 22, 2016— The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) is proud to honor alumna Nicola Varveris, PT, DPT, MSPT, MBA with the university’s prestigious Patricia King Alumni Award, which is presented to outstanding alumni of the university in recognition of their commitment to professional development and achievement in the advancement of the clinical practice of occupational or physical therapy. The award is named for Dr. Patricia King, who led the university’s successful 1993 effort to gain national accreditation, which helped pave the way to becoming a broader health sciences university with programmatic and regional accreditation. The award was presented to Dr. Varveris from Naples, FL, at the university’s commencement ceremony, on its St. Augustine campus, on Friday, December 9.

“At USAHS, we are so proud to have outstanding alumni, such as Dr. Varveris, who are passionate about making a positive impact on the healthcare industry and the communities in which they serve,” said Dr. Wanda Nitsch, president and chief academic officer, USAHS. “It is an honor to have Dr. Varveris as a part of our USAHS community and we thank her for her commitment to life-long learning, not only for herself, but for healthcare practitioners and our physical therapy students alike.”

Dr. Varveris completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Davis with a major in nutrition and physiology. After receiving her master’s of science in physical therapy from University of Miami, she joined the acute care rehabilitation team at Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC). There, she gravitated to neuro rehabilitation, and eventually traumatic brain injuries. A few years later, she had the opportunity to open a new facility for St. Cloud Hospital (now St. Cloud Regional Medical Center) as its director of rehabilitation services. Her wide-ranging professional experience led her to open her own outpatient private practice, PhysioNetics. She enrolled in the transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (tDPT) program at USAHS in 2007, completing her degree in 2010. She also earned an MBA from Florida Gulf Coast University.

“I am so honored to receive the university’s prestigious Patricia King Alumni Award,” said Dr. Nicola Varveris. “Receiving this award and having the opportunity to speak at my alma mater is truly the highest honor and the highlight of my achievements over the past 23 years. While earning my undergraduate degree, I knew I wanted to do something with the human body. After recovering from an injury and going through physical therapy, I fell in love with the process and decided to pursue it as a career. Looking back, it was the best decision of my life.”

She also is a Certified Graston Technique provider, Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner, Certified Balanced-Based Torso-Weighting Therapist, and is Myokinesthetic trained. She is one of only two physical therapists in the State of Florida to have received Certificate of Achievement in Pregnancy and Postpartum Physical Therapy (CAPP) through the American Physical Therapy Association Section on Women’s Health.

Dr. Varveris has established a close relationship with local high schools, offering volunteer hours to students considering a future in health care, especially physical therapy. She has played an important role in several students’ decision to enter the health and sciences field. Her clinic also serves as a clinical site for students attending USAHS, Hodges, Keiser, and the University of Florida.

“I am a strong believer in continuing education and always continuing to learn,” said Dr. Varveris. “Giving back to potential future physical therapists is a truly rewarding experience for me and I am always happy to provide ongoing expertise.”

She is also a strong supporter of local nonprofits. She and the staff at her practice support the American Heart Association’s annual fundraiser, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life annual fundraiser, and the Barron Collier High School Athletic Department. She is also a board member of Multiple Sclerosis Center of Southwest Florida, and is a Physician Led Access Network (PLAN) provider of physical therapy.

In her commencement speech, Dr. Varveris emphasized the value of the roles of all physical and occupational therapists.

“You will enhance people’s participation in everyday life,” Dr. Varveris said. “Collaborate with your patients, colleagues, mentors and other health care providers. These are the relationships that will challenge, inspire and support you along the way and into the future. Above all else, aim to maintain your strong ethical framework and code of conduct, and ultimately become a game changer in the healthcare system.”

For more information on Dr. Varveris, visit her company’s website at

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