In August 2017, David Gillette, PT, DPT, GCS joined the Pacific family as an assistant professor of physical therapy. He hails from Idaho, Florida, Washington and Minnesota. The “inquisitiveness and engagement of the Pacific students” brought him to California.

Before pursuing a career in physical therapy, he served in the U.S. Navy and earned a bachelor of arts in history at University of Washington. He worked for five years at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle doing radiation safety with the research labs. While he found the work interesting, he desired a career that directly helped people. He went on to earn a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) from University of Washington. Working as a physical therapist, his interest in history has been a good conversation starter with patients.

In his role as a faculty member, Dr. Gillette’s goal is to help students become outstanding physical therapists and exemplary professionals. He loves to see students engage and become excited when they apply what they are learning. He is proud to play a part in helping to ignite that spark for caring for people through physical therapy that was instilled in him by his mentor. “Anne Shumway-Cook [PT, PhD] was my mentor in physical therapy school and continues to be an inspiration for me,” Dr. Gillette said. “She has a passion for her patients, her students and her research.”

In 2012, he completed a geriatric physical therapy residency at University of Minnesota. Dr. Gillette is a certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist. His certification adds to the specialties represented in the Department of Physical Therapy. These specialties give Pacific’s DPT students a broad exposure to the depth of knowledge in physical therapy.

At Pacific, he plans to continue his research on exercise adherence and hip fracture rehabilitation. “I’m interested in how to encourage patients to stick with or perform exercises and how to encourage the community to exercise as a part of their daily lives,” Dr. Gillette said. “Those who fracture a hip have a significant risk of dying in the first year. Most people who suffer a hip fracture do not regain the same level of independence. I’m interested in how exercise might improve these outcomes.”

While living in Minnesota, he co-organized the Twin Cities Physical Therapy (PT) Pub Night. “PT Pub Night is a global community of fun-loving, problem-solving physical therapy professionals, students and general PT enthusiasts who regularly gather in local pubs and restaurants around the world.”

He and his wife have two young sons. Together they enjoy hiking, fishing and participating in Cub Scout activities as a family. Dr. Gillette is also an avid photographer.


By Anne Marie H. Bergthold
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