Bhavana Raja, PT, PhD, assistant professor of physical therapy, has witnessed first-hand the critical role that physical therapists play in the rehabilitation of patients who have suffered a stroke. “I have always been interested in strokes,” said Dr. Raja. She studied physiotherapy at Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Punjab, India. “When I started pursuing my undergraduate degree I realized there were a lot of unanswered questions. Looking for the answers to those questions led me to my research.”

A common theme of Dr. Raja’s research is the mechanics of walking. “Walking is very interesting,” Dr. Raja said. “As easy as it looks, it is very complex. I am fascinated by how our brain and spinal cord control the nuances of walking and how it changes after a neural injury.”

Dr. Raja is excited to join the Pacific physical therapy family. “Teaching is the essence of the physical therapy profession,” Dr. Raja said. “My teaching philosophy is centered around active learning. It is important to help students develop problem-solving skills and think holistically about the problem at hand. I believe that it is very important to cultivate in students the ability to understand research. In order to make the best decisions for their patients, they need to be able to make connections between their questions and the current body of research.”

Dr. Raja earned her doctor of philosophy in rehabilitation sciences from University of Florida. She misses going to Florida Gators football games at her alma mater. In the past decade, she has lived in Florida, New York and California. The highlight of moving to Northern California was the opportunity to live close to her family. She loves being outdoors and spending time with her family. She enjoys exploring cities by walking and trying new restaurants. She also enjoys reading non-fiction and is currently reading “The Tipping Point” by Malcom Gladwell.


Preeti Deshpande Oza, PT, PhD, NCS, Alicia Rabena-Amen, PT, DPT, Bhavana Raja, PT, PhD and Sandra Reina-Guerra ’97, ’99, ’03, PT, DPT, PCS.

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