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Thornton Hospital Clinic

Therapists at Thornton Hospital Clinic


Occupational Therapy | Physical Therapy | Speech Therapy

Occupational Therapy

Maria Johnson

Maria Johnson, MOT, OT/L
Occupational Therapist, Supervisor of Inpatient Services
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Maria supervises inpatient services at UC San Diego Thornton Hospital. Maria’s background as an occupational therapist has exposed her to inpatient settings and outpatient orthopedics and neurology, as well as more critical patients in acute rehabilitation and intensive care units. Her goal is to improve and expand the capabilities of rehabilitation patients through exceptional and compassionate care, ultimately improving their quality of life.

Educational Background
Master’s degree in occupational therapy – Texas Woman’s University, Houston

Barbera Bernens Williams

Barbara Bernens-Williams, COTA
Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant

Since joining UC San Diego Health in 1998, Barbara has worked in a variety of specialties, including burn and traumatic injuries, orthopedics, spinal cord injuries, stroke and solid organ transplants. She has worked in both hospital and outpatient settings. Barbara loves helping patients regain their quality of life after injury or hospitalization. Barbara was born and raised in San Diego and loves spending time with her husband and children. Outside of the clinic, her favorite activities are playing at the beach, attending the theater, dancing and going camping. Barbara also volunteers her time at her local church.

Educational Background
Associate’s degree in occupational therapy – Grossmont College, San Diego, CA

Kimberlee Bond

Kimberlee Bond, OTR/L, ATP, CLT
Occupational Therapist

Kim is an occupational therapist with over fifteen years working with neurological conditions including traumatic brain injury, stroke, spine, Parkinson's disease and ALS. She has received LVST-BIG certification to help treat the unique movement impairments for those with Parkinson's disease. As a certified lymphedema therapist specializing in breast cancer rehabilitation, she also has experience working with breast cancer and lymphedema.

Kim joined UC San Diego Health in 2010. She is an active member of the ALS team and the movement disorder team. She has a special focus in wheelchair seating, and currently facilitates UC San Diego's wheelchair seating clinic.

Kim graduated from Eastern Michigan University. She enjoys working with patients from all backgrounds and walks of life. She spends her free time exploring the beautiful San Diego coastline on her bike.

Educational Background

Master’s degree in occupational therapy – Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation – Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan

Resie Collins, OTR/L, CLT-LANA
Resie Collins, OTR/L, CLT-LANA
Occupational Therapist

Resie has been an occupational therapist at UC San Diego Health since 1999. She is certified as a lymphedema therapist through the Lymphology Association of North America (LANA) and holds advanced practice certification in hand therapy and physical agent modalities. She enjoys working with a variety of patients, including those with breast cancer, lymphedema, hand-related injuries and stroke, in both outpatient and inpatient settings.

Resie likes teaching her patients about their conditions and how to take an active role in their own care. She has given numerous talks within the hospital system and community about breast cancer rehab and lymphedema. She has developed rehab protocols for our department specific to breast cancer, and head and neck lymphedema. She is happy to share her knowledge and skills in order to help improve her patients’ quality of life.

A native of San Diego, Resie enjoys spending time with her family, running, going to the beach, doing outdoor activities, playing the guitar and trying new desserts.

Educational Background
Bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy – San Jose State University, San Jose

Abigail Duya, OTR/L

Abigail Duya, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Abi Duya is an occupational therapist at Thornton Hospital and a native San Diegan and a UC San Diego alumnus. She is thrilled to be working with the amazing team at UC San Diego Health. As an occupational therapist, she enjoys helping patients achieve functional independence so they can perform meaningful everyday activities.

Abi enjoys working in inpatient rehabilitation because it gives her the opportunity to work as part of an interdisciplinary team and involves lots of patient interaction. She is especially interested in working with patients with various neurological disorders and plans to pursue an advanced certification in spinal cord injury and stroke rehabilitation.
In her free time, Abi enjoys cooking and baking, trying new restaurants, traveling and watching football. (Go Chargers!)

Educational Background
Master's degree in occupational therapy - California State University, Dominguez Hills
Bachelor's degree in human development - University of California, San Diego

Physical Therapy

Melissa S. Doyle

Melissa S. Doyle, PT, DPT, NCS
Physical Therapist

During Melissa’s undergraduate studies at UCLA, she participated in lab and clinical research involving treadmill training for individuals with stroke and spinal cord injuries, and she received the UCLA Women's Leadership Award for her accomplishments. She later received her doctorate from the USC/Rancho Los Amigos Residency in Neurologic Physical Therapy, and successfully earned her board certification as a neurologic certified specialist.

Melissa has been actively involved in various research studies that have been published and presented through the American Physical Therapy Association and the American Academy of Neurology. She currently holds elected positions in national and state-level physical therapy associations. Melissa is also a certified LSVT BIG therapist for individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

Melissa enjoys practicing as an outpatient neurologic physical therapist and specializes in the evaluation and treatment of neurologic diagnoses including Parkinson’s disease, stroke, vestibular and balance disorders, multiple sclerosis, brain and spinal injuries, Guillain-Barré syndrome, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and post-polio syndrome. She presents at seminars for Kaiser Permanente Health Education, the American Parkinson’s Disease Association and the California Physical Therapy Association, and fulfills her teaching responsibilities through the physical therapy doctorate programs at the University of Southern California, Mount St. Mary's College and Western University of Health Sciences. Melissa looks forward to continuing to serve and advocate for therapists and patients.

Educational Background
Doctorate of physical therapy – University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Bachelor’s degree in physiologic sciences – University of California, Los Angeles

Missie Gee

Missie Gee, PT, CCCE
Physical Therapist

Missie was born and raised in Arizona, but has lived in San Diego and worked for UC San Diego Health for over 23 years. Missie enjoys working with patients and feels that she learns something new from each one of them. In addition to her work as a physical therapist, Missie has had the opportunity to serve as the departmental safety coordinator, the student clinical coordinator, the CPR compliance officer and a mentor to numerous students.

In her spare time, Missie enjoys sports, reading, traveling and spending time with her family.

Educational Background
Bachelor’s degree in physical therapy – Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff
Bachelor’s degree in psychology – Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff

Cara Lodge PT, MPT

Cara Lodge, PT, MPT
Physical Therapist

Cara has been a physical therapist for more than 10 years and has worked in both outpatient orthopedic and acute care settings. She first became interested in the health care field after caring for a brother diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and in physical therapy specifically after rehabilitating a knee injury she experienced while running high school track. Cara enjoys the challenge of treating patients in the acute stages of recovery. She believes that one of her greatest strengths as a therapist is her ability to listen to her patients and respond to their needs accordingly. Cara is also an American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)-certified clinical instructor and enjoys mentoring and learning from students and colleagues. Cara has been married to her husband, Gavin, for more than 15 years and has two beautiful, smart and energetic daughters. She is a fitness enthusiast and has completed two full marathons and multiple half marathons. She loves traveling and spending quality time with friends and family.

Educational Background
Master’s degree in physical therapy – University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Bachelor’s degree in health sciences – University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Carter McElroy

Carter McElroy, PT, MPT
Physical Therapist
Carter received his physical therapy degree with distinction from Northern Arizona University in 2000. He specializes in treating patients with various neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, stroke, vestibular and balance disorders, multiple sclerosis, brain and spinal injuries, Guillain-Barré syndrome, Lou Gehrig’s disease and post-polio syndrome.

Carter previously served as a physical therapist in the Multiple Sclerosis Clinic at the University of Virginia and is currently involved with the UC San Diego Movement Disorders Program. He is also experienced in treating patients with thoracic outlet syndrome. Carter enjoys the unique opportunity UC San Diego provides for working in a multidisciplinary setting to offer the best patient care.

Educational Background
Master’s degree in physical therapy – Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff

Syrisa Metzger

Syrisa Metzger, PTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Syrisa is a licensed physical therapist assistant, originally from Pasadena. She is passionate about learning new techniques to help her patients. Syrisa’s special interests include vestibular rehabilitation, myofascial release, and neuro-developmental treatment (NDT) techniques.
Outside of working in rehabilitation, Syrisa enjoys playing the harp, making soy candles, exercising, hosting dinner parties and exploring the world.

Educational Background
Bachelor’s degree in health education – California State University, Northridge
Associate’s degree in physical therapy – Cerritos College, Norwalk

Catherine Printz

Catherine Printz, PT, DPT, NCS
Physical Therapist

Catherine is a physical therapist at UC San Diego Medical Center in the outpatient neurology clinic and has been with UC San Diego Health since June 2009. She treats patients with a wide variety of neurological conditions, including Parkinson's disease, stroke, ALS and brain tumors and has a special interest in oncological physical therapy treatments. She is board certified as a neurologic certified specialist by the American Physical Therapy Association and holds a certification in LSVT BIG treatment for patients with Parkinson's disease.

Catherine believes therapy should be both fun and functional for her patients. Outside of the clinic, she enjoys playing with her Bengal cats, completing triathlons and serving as a mentor for those with type 1 diabetes.

Educational Background
Doctorate of physical therapy – George Washington University, Washington, DC
Bachelor’s degree in kinesiological sciences – University of Maryland, College Park

Jessica Salzman, PT, MPT

Jessica Salzman, PT, MPT
Physical Therapist

Jessica has known that she wanted to be a physical therapist since she was 16 years old when she sustained a sports injury playing on her high school basketball team. She went through extensive physical therapy in order to return to playing sports. She had an amazing physical therapist that changed her life and inspired her to pursue a career in rehab. It has been Jessica’s dream to help people meet their physical mobility goals, just as her therapist helped her return to the basketball court.

Although Jessica’s interest in physical therapy originated in the outpatient/sports medicine realm, Jessica is interested in various therapy settings, making her a very versatile therapist. She was privileged to have an internship at the Sutter Rehabilitation Institute in Roseville, CA, where she worked in the traumatic brain injury unit. This opened her eyes to the world of acute care.

In the future, Jessica would like to be a clinical instructor to help physical therapy students accomplish their dreams of becoming PTs. She would also like to pursue specialty certifications in orthopedics and neurology to maintain her versatility.

Outside of work Jessica enjoys spending time with her husband, Andy, and their three dogs, Lily, Bubbles and Tootles. She also enjoys being physically active by working out at the gym, doing Xtend Barre, cycling, wakeboarding and snowboarding.

Educational Background:
Master’s degree in physical therapy – California State University, Sacramento
Bachelor’s degree in kinesiology – San Diego State University

Speech Therapy

Susan Neese

Susan Neese, MA, CCC-SLP
Speech Pathologist
Susan is the primary speech pathologist at Thornton Hospital. She completed her clinical fellowship at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2006. Susan is certified in the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment approach, the neuromuscular electrical stimulation technique for swallowing impaired individuals, and the flexible endoscopic exam of swallowing (FEES).

Susan is the leader of the Speech Group at Thornton Hospital – an organization that meets monthly with the goal of improving communication for individuals struggling with speech and language impairments. Susan also assists in the Rehabilitation Services Department at the Parkinson's Clinic.

Educational Background
Master’s degree in speech-language pathology – Michigan State University, Lansing
Bachelor’s degree in audiology and speech sciences – Purdue University, West Lafayette

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