Dr. Norman Belleza, PT, DPT received his B.S. in Life Sciences and Masters in Physical Therapy from Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, CA. He went on to complete his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Belleza has been a member of the APTA since 1996 and was elected to Treasurer for the National Student Assembly Board of Directors and served as a student representative in the California State House of Delegates for the CPTA.
Prior to joining the University of Saint Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) in San Marcos, Dr. Belleza held several positions working in various settings for clinical practice and teaching in various programs in academia. As his clinical and academic careers progressed, he assumed several key leadership positions. In clinical practice as an Area Rehabilitation Director, he oversaw six home health care centers and directed a staff of over 50 PT, LPTA, OTR/L, COTA, and SLP. In academia, he served as the founding Program Director for the physical therapist assistant program for South University Virginia Beach. In addition, he was promoted to serve as Department Co-Chair for the College of Health Professions overseeing operations of 5 PTA programs in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, and Michigan.
Dr. Belleza is currently completing coursework for his Ph.D. in Education specializing in Learning, Instruction, and Innovation. His ongoing research interests are in the use of simulation in rehabilitation education to foster inter-professional education (IPE) for the healthcare team. Dr. Belleza is presenting nationally and internationally in the area of simulation and IPE, sharing the story of how USAHS is using this educational methodology within our Centers for Innovative Clinical Practice. In particular, IPE-based simulation offers an opportunity to introduce students early in their academic training to practice in real-world settings as a member of the healthcare team. Students can work on providing holistic care for the patient/client and family members. Simulation allows students to learn in a safe environment, reflect on their experience and actions, and engage in deliberate practice to refine technical and non-technical clinical skills.
As a core faculty member for the USAHS DPT program, Dr. Belleza is an Assistant Professor and teaches in the Patient/Client Care Management course series with a focus on interprofessional education (IPE) and the use of simulation. His work in this area earned him the honor and distinction of being the recipient of the 2019 USAHS Board Excellence Award – Excellence in Innovation Faculty Award. In addition, Dr. Belleza was elected to serve as Secretary for the University Curriculum and Academic Policy Committee which is the faculty governing body. He also has served the role of Course Coordinator, as well as numerous University task forces, committees, and special project teams.