Pacific is proud to be home to dedicated faculty members who as educators, inspire students everyday. One of these members is Dr. Sandra Reina-Guerra ’97, ’99, ’03 .
Dr. Reina-Guerra received all three of her degrees here at Pacific: her bachelors in 1997, masters in 1999, and her doctorate in 2003. As an undergraduate, Dr. Reina-Guerra chose to enroll at Pacific because she was confident that her bachelors would prepare her well for the University’s Physical Therapy graduate program. She returned to teach at Pacific because of the continued tradition of excellence in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program. Dr. Reina-Guerra says, “I witnessed the work of the students who graduated after me and realized that the program continued to improve each year. I maintained a wonderful relationship with the department faculty after my graduation and this lead to my return as an instructor in 2001, accepting a full time position in 2004.” Dr. Reina-Guerra is currently a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and its Sections for Pediatrics and Education. She is also a member of the Pacific Physical Therapy Alumni Association and serves as a liaison between its board and the faculty in the Department of Physical Therapy (PT). In July she will begin her appointment as department chair.
Many students may wonder, why if at all they should pursue academia in their careers. For Dr. Reina-Guerra, the answer is a simple one: “Teaching students is the best way I know to provide a lasting benefit to those in need of our services, particularly children with special needs and their families. The academic environment affords me the opportunities and support for scientific inquiry that are less available solely as a clinician.” Her teaching philosophy is that the student’s learning experience take place in the mind, body, and spirit. She believes it is her responsibility as a teacher in the DPT program to challenge students to develop and test their clinical rationale through inquiry, debate, and physical application of movement theory. Dr. Reina-Guerra states, “I hope students are confident in their choice of profession upon graduation and that they are fulfilled in their work for decades after graduation. My goal is to convey adequately the opportunities for them, affirm their abilities, and inspire them for continual growth.”
As for the students she guides, Dr. Reina-Guerra only has positive things to say. She believes that Pacific students are committed to the process of face-to-face engagement with instructors, each other, and citizens within the community as well as outside. She explains further, “Pacific students fuel the learning environment with their curiosity, uphold Pacific’s reputation with their competence, and inspire me with their willingness to serve others before and after their graduation.” Dr. Reina-Guerra continues to be moved by the perseverance of her students, the service provided by the dedicated PT department and University’s leaders, and finally the recovery of the patients that Pacific serves. Building on her almost 20 year history with Pacific, Dr. Reina-Guerra is excited to see what the future holds.