Maher Appointed Physical Therapy Department Chair


September 1, 2021

Dr. Ruth Maher is PCOM's new chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, effective August 16, 2021Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has named Ruth M. Maher, PT, PhD, DPT, as the new chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, effective August 16, 2021.

In this role, Dr. Maher is responsible for ensuring that program policies, procedures and practices are compliant with accreditation policies and procedures. She will ensure that progress toward the program’s goals is measured and reported as required by PCOM and the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. She will lead the faculty and staff in the development of a strategic plan that includes identification of the mission, vision, goals and strategic initiatives. In addition, Dr. Maher is responsible for budget planning, resource acquisition and allocation.

Gregory McDonald, DO ‘89, dean of the School of Health Sciences said, “I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Maher for this position. She has a robust clinical background and has dedicated her career to improving the lives of her patients.”

He added, “Her clinical and educational experience position her to have an immense impact on the next generation of doctors of physical therapy.  PCOM is very fortunate to have someone of her caliber leading such an important and vital department.”

Most recently, Dr.  Maher served as the interim chair of the department following the retirement of founding chair Phillip Palmer, PT, PhD.

She said, “As a member of the PCOM family since 2019, I am thrilled to accept this opportunity to serve as chair of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. I am fortunate enough to work with a team of professionals who are committed to the mission of PCOM in educating health professionals to care for the whole person and advance the health of diverse communities.”

Dr. Maher added, “To accomplish this, we need to focus on the sustainability of the profession of physical therapy by ensuring our educators, students and graduates reflect the diversity of the individuals we serve.”

A professor, she has over 14 years of teaching experience and has practiced physical therapy for more than 17 years in acute care, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation settings.

Dr. Maher is a board-certified clinical specialist in women’s health from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties and was awarded a second re-certification in 2019.

She has held positions with the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties, women’s health council and several committees within the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. She has also owned private practices in Dublin, Ireland, and the United States, which specialized in women’s health and chronic pain conditions.

In addition to her academic responsibilities, Dr. Maher is a consultant to a biomedical company in Ireland where she assists with the development and testing of novel wearable technologies using electrical stimulation. She holds a patent for a device she co-developed during her PhD studies in Ireland, which received FDA approval for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence.

Dr. Maher earned a PhD from the National University of Ireland, University College, Dublin, Ireland, in 2013. She earned a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Simmons University, Boston, Massachusetts, in 2004. Dr. Maher earned a Master of Physical Therapy degree from Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, in 2002, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgia State University in 1999.

Dr. Maher holds membership in the American Physical Therapy Association, the Academy of Orthopedic Physical Therapy, the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy, the Academy of Physical Therapy Education, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, and the International Continence Society.

She has published in many peer-reviewed journals, presented at conferences, and won numerous awards including the Gold Edison Award with Atlantic Therapeutics in 2020, the Irish Times Innovation of the Year Award with Atlantic Therapeutics in 2019, and the Medical Device Award from the Georgia Bio Innovation Summit.

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  • About PCOM Georgia

    Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500.

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