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UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest

Therapists at UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest

Outpatient Therapy | Inpatient Therapy

Leadership

Allison Helm

Allison Helm, MOT, OT/L
Acting Director, Rehabilitation Services
Contact Me: ahelm@ucsd.edu

Allison is an occupational therapist and Acting Director of Rehabilitation Services. She has worked for UC San Diego Health System since 1996. Allison started as a home health therapist, and in 2002 transitioned to the acute setting as the lead burn therapist for the Regional Burn Center. Allison was the Occupational Therapy Supervisor in Hillcrest for 4 years before being promoted to Assistant Director and moving to La Jolla in 2008 to manage UC San Diego Rehabilitation Services at Perlman Medical Offices and Thornton Hospital. Allison moved back to Hillcrest in 2013 to become Acting Director.

Her 20+ years of experience in multiple practice areas allows her to bring her vast clinical knowledge to all areas of her job. Allison is also an accomplished martial artist, and with her husband runs a school for Chinese martial and healing arts. She is able to use this knowledge and experience to enrich the therapy department by exposing the therapists and their patients to the benefits of complementary medicine, including Qi Gong, meditation and Taijiquan.

Educational Background
Master’s degree in occupational therapy – Texas Woman’s University, Dallas
6th Duan Wei in Chinese martial arts

Joanna Burgess

Joanna Burgess, MA, CCC-SLP
Supervisor, Outpatient Therapy Services
Language Pathologist, Supervisor of Speech Therapy Services

Contact Me: jcburgess@ucsd.edu

Joanna is from Dayton, Ohio. She received her master’s degree in speech-language pathology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Joanna has been working at UC San Diego Medical Center since 2007 and enjoys helping patients improve their communication skills and regain independence after illness. She has extensive knowledge and experience in using augmentative and alternative communication devices for individuals with speech impairments. Joanna is also a member of the UC San Diego ALS Clinic, which provides multidisciplinary health care for patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Joanna enjoys traveling, cooking, singing, reading and spending time with friends and family.

Educational Background
Master’s degree in speech-language pathology – Miami University, Oxford
Bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and audiology – Miami University, Oxford, OH

Outpatient Therapy

Takae Annaka

Takae Annaka, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist

She was born and raised in Japan. Takae is a highly skilled physical therapist and loves helping her patients return to a higher level of functioning. She received her doctorate from Loma Linda University and joined our UC San Diego team in at the Medical Center in Hillcrest in 2005.

In her spare time, Takae enjoys reading, exercising, cooking and volunteering at various San Diego community events.

Educational Background
Doctorate of physical therapy – Loma Linda University, Los Angeles

Linda Daniels

Linda Daniels, PTA
Physical Therapist Assistant

Linda is a licensed physical therapist assistant from Taylorville, Illinois. She describes the town’s location as “between the corn fields and soybeans!” Linda has worked as a physical therapist assistant for over 30 years at UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest.

Outside of work, Linda enjoys spending time with her 26-year-old son, her nephew and twin sister. Her nephew was a standout college football player and is now pursuing a professional career in the NFL. He currently plays for the Sacramento Mountain Lions in the semi-pro United Football League (UFL) and Linda attends all of his games!

Linda also belongs to a cruise group and has enjoyed going on many cruises over the years. She is an active member of her church and sings in the choir. Linda enjoys many sporting events, especially football, basketball and little league baseball.

Educational Background
Associate’s degree in physical therapy assistant – San Diego Community College, CA

Ricci Kuhlken

Ricci Kuhlken, PT
Physical Therapist

Ricci is from San Diego and is part of the fourth generation of her family born and raised in San Diego. She has been a physical therapist for nearly 20 years, with the majority of those years spent at UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest. Ricci is our lead outpatient burn therapist. She enjoys empowering people and teaching them how to take control of their lives. Ricci is the mother of two children. When at home, she enjoys gardening, cooking and yoga.

Educational Background
Bachelor’s degree in physical therapy – California State University, Long Beach

John Larios

John Larios, PT, MPT
Physical Therapist

John was born in El Centro and grew up in the Imperial Valley. Currently, he is working on his manual therapy certification from the University of St. Augustine. What John likes best about his job is that it is challenging, unique and rewarding. He enjoys trying to make a positive change in patient’s lives.

John loves spending time traveling with his wife, watching and playing sports, collecting sports memorabilia and trying new restaurants.

Educational Background
Master’s degree in physical therapy – California State University, Fresno
Bachelor’s degree in athletic training – California State University, Fresno

Inpatient Therapy

Carise Baril

Carise Baril, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist

Carise grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and moved to San Diego in 2008. As a physical therapist, she enjoys working in both inpatient and outpatient settings, and is particularly interested in treating patients who dance and those with hip or knee problems.

Carise has been a dancer all her life and was a member of two professional dance companies while living in Boston. She performs locally in San Diego with several choreographers.

Educational Background
Doctorate of physical therapy – Simmons College, Boston
Bachelor’s degree in biology – Pennsylvania State University, State College

Erika Clemens, OT/L Erika Clemens, OT/L
Occupational Therapist

Erika is an occupational therapist in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at UC San Diego Health System. She is also certified as a lactation educator and has her advanced practice certification in swallowing assessment, evaluation or intervention. She has over 11 years of experience in the field of occupational therapy and has practiced in a variety of settings, ranging from hospital and outpatient care to home health care. Erika loves working with infants and their families to promote parent empowerment and bonding between parents and babies, while helping facilitate optimal infant development. Originally from North Dakota, Erika enjoys hiking, playing the violin and dancing.

Educational Background
Master’s degree in occupational therapy – Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
Bachelor’s degree in psychology – Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter

Cindy Ditona, PT, MPT

Cindy Ditona, PT, MPT
Physical Therapist

Cindy has been a physical therapist since 2000 and has worked in a variety of settings including inpatient and outpatient clinics, acute rehab, skilled nursing and even spent some years as a traveling therapist. Cindy is also a Mustang (a commissioned officer in the United States Army) and recently returned from a deployment in Kosovo.

Educational Background
Bachelor’s degree in physical education - California State University, Fresno
Master’s degree in physical therapy – California State University, Fresno

Jennie Gilchrist

Jennie Gilchrist, MOT, OT/L
Occupational Therapist

Jennie is an occupational therapist who works with patients at the Regional Burn Center at UC San Diego Health System. She completed her undergraduate degree and graduate training at Louisiana State University.

She volunteers at “Camp Beyond the Scars” every year, which is a camp for children with burn injuries. She enjoys the challenges that each day presents when treating individuals with serious burns.

Jennie enjoys running, cooking, hiking, yoga and reading.

Educational Background
Master’s degree in occupational therapy – Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans
Bachelor’s degree in kinesiology – Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

Amy Hagenah

Amy Hagenah, MOT, OT/L
Occupational Therapist

Amy is an occupational therapist who primarily focuses on patients in the intensive care units. Amy is certified in using the Saebo system for patients with neurological disorders, such as stroke and traumatic brain injury. This helps Amy make a positive impact on her patients’ recovery.

Amy loves spending time with her husband and two children. She is closely involved with her daughters’ school and is also a Girl Scout leader.

Educational Background
Master’s degree in occupational therapy – University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Bachelor’s degree in psychology – Salisbury State University, Maryland

Sarah Hershel

Sarah Hershel, PT, MSPT
Physical Therapist

Sarah is from Western Massachusetts and is a member of the American Burn Association, which provides specialized care to hospitalized patients in the Burn Unit at UC San Diego Medical Center. Sarah finds working in the Burn Unit challenging and very rewarding. She likes getting to know all of her patients and helping to make a positive difference in their recovery.

Outside of work, Sarah enjoys biking, hiking, walking, yoga, snowboarding, listening to music and traveling when she has the time.

Educational Background
Master’s degree in physical therapy – Boston University, Boston

Colleen Moran

Colleen Moran, PT, PhD
Physical Therapist

Colleen Moran is a physical therapist with 15 years of experience in a variety of settings, including pediatrics, sports medicine, geriatrics, acute rehabilitation units, outpatient clinics, in-patient acute care, and home health. In addition to direct patient care, Colleen completed her PhD in anatomy to complement her interest in research and teaching. Being raised in a military family, Colleen enjoys traveling and most recently lived and worked in Hawaii. Outside of work, Colleen enjoys many outdoor activities and loves the beach.

Educational Background
Doctorate of anatomy – Loma Linda University, Loma Linda
Master's degree in physical therapy – UCSF, San Francisco
Bachelor's degree in sports medicine – California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks

Carol Polizzi

Carol Polizzi, PTA
Physical Therapist Assistant

Carol is a licensed physical therapist assistant and has been providing acute inpatient care at UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest since 2002. Carol’s hard work and dedication to her patients make her a valuable asset to the Rehabilitation Department.

Educational Background
Associate’s degree in physical therapy – Mesa Community College, San Diego

Jo Stojanowski

Jo Stojanowski, COTA
Occupational Therapist Assistant

Jo is a certified occupational therapist assistant. Originally from Poland, she has been living in California now for quite some time, but tries to visit her homeland when she can.

Jo has been working at UC San Diego Health System for over 10 years. She loves helping patients return to a higher level of functioning. When not working, Jo enjoys exploring the countryside on her motorcycle.

Educational Background
Associate’s degree in occupational therapy – Maric College, San Diego
Orthopaedic technologist – Grossmont Community College, El Cajon

Liz Zborowski, OT/L

Liz Zborowski, OT/L
Occupational Therapist

Liz is an occupational therapist at UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, including the NICU and Regional Burn Center. She has a lactation education certification and has completed the basic certification in assessment of general movements in infants.

Liz was born and raised in San Diego. What she enjoys most about her work is the daily patient and family interaction. Liz enjoys being able to listen to and help patients achieve their functional goals to live their lives independently. When not at work, she is busy planning weddings, sailing, and engaging in Pilates exercises. Liz loves spending time with her family, friends and her dog.

Educational Background
Bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy – University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Bachelor’s degree in exercise science – University of Southern California, Los Angeles