As part of APTA’s Centennial Celebration, the Texas Physical Therapy Association would like to take a moment or two to look at all of the bright shining physical therapy stars we have in the great state of Texas.  

Recognize yourself and others as a “SHINING STAR” in Texas.  

Upload a picture of yourself, a colleague, fellow student with a caption of how you or the person you are recommending represent the Physical Therapy profession in Texas. Form below.

APTA's Centennial Events homepage

TPTA's Shining Stars

Marsha Rutland, PT, ScD, OCS, MEd, COMT, CSCS

Dr. Marsha Rutland, Professor of PT, was recognized as the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year (2020) at Hardin-Simmons University.

Elise K. Cantu, PT, DPT

Elise is a pioneer in oncology rehab inspiring and educating others.

Randall Williams

Mr. Randall Williams devotes every available second to ensuring his patients are receiving the highest level of care possible.

Carling Butler PT, DPT

Carling creates a bright future for our profession by teaching students in the DPT program through Baylor, treating patients with the highest level of professionalism, and serving the TPTA as the North Texas District Chair. She is an incredible advocate for future as well as current clinicians. Way to go, Carling!

Barbara A. Melzer, PT, PhD, DPT, FAPTA

Her contributions to physical therapy education, service to the TPTA and Chief Delegate from Texas, and on the Board of directors of, the APTA.

Dr. Justin Bickford PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT

Justin strives to make his patients anti-fragile, while mentoring and inspiring the next generation of PT's to change the profession one patient at a time!

Carissa Parish, PT, WCS

Carissa is a consummate professional who demonstrates caring and empathy to highly complex patients on a daily basis. She is a tremendous asset to the Physical Therapy profession!

Abby Arango, PT, DPT

Abby bring energy and team spirit to the pelvic floor community. Her quest for learning and treating complex patients is unrivaled. It’s an honor to call Abby a colleague.

Briana Dawkins, SPT

Briana Dawkins is fearless social justice crusader, inspiring student leader, generous peer mentor, and powerful voice for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Watch this star rise!

Rhonda Abbott, PT, FTPTA

Rhonda Abbott, PT, FTPTA is Senior VP and CEO of TIRR Memorial Hermann. She is a constant advocate of rehabilitation, clinical education, and research in the community.

M. Jay Platt, PT, ATC (Ret), CSCS (Ret)

Jay enjoyed a 40 year career dedicated to the patients he has served, assisting them to enjoy their Active Lifestyle.

Kathleen Stross, PT, MS, DPT, CHC

Kathleen Stross, DPT, PT, MS, CHC serves as the president of the board of The Vestibular Disorder's Association, the global leader for vestibular patients and pros.

Amethyst Guerrero, PT, DPT 

Amethyst won Best Physical Therapist by the Austin American Statesman in 2020. Amethyst is not only a great PT, she is kind, dedicated, and empathic.

Christina McGee, PT, DPT 

Christina wants everyone to have access to care. She has focused on being a trauma informed PT to help everyone who is in need.

Angela Dobinsky, PT, DPT

A patient said she was blessed to have Angela as her therapist. She has brought sanity to her life with her knowledge, caring, and professionalism.

Lauren Steele, PT, DPT

A patient highly recommends Lauren because she is easy to get along with, doesn’t try to rush through the appointment, and is a good listener.

Kimberlee Sullivan, PT, DPT, BCB-PMD

Kimberlee has dedicated her career to advancing health through access to pelvic health physical therapy through creating a safe environment for both employees and patients.

Krista Hartig

Krista is a fantastic PT, who is outgoing, deeply-caring, and passionate who knows what it means to be a health care provider at the highest degree.

Nicole Rodgers, PT, DPT

Nicole’s patients state she is super knowledgeable, thorough, and explains things to you along the way, especially when you have questions.

Gail Zitterkopf

Actively support patients and the profession as the SED chair, TPTA Assembly speaker and represents the Academy of Pelvic Health as the Federal Affairs Liason.

Tyler Vander Zanden

Tyler is an exceptional ambassador for Physical Therapy in the heart of Texas continuously seeking to improve patient and clinician experience. Through his own private practice, he regularly and passionately serves the disadvantaged and special needs communities. He regularly speaks about finance and technology as it relates to the future of Physical Therapy, and is currently launching an entrepreneurial venture to further contribute to the industry. He He serves on the Key Contact Subcommittee of the Private Practice Section (PPS) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and is the founder of Founder, Owner, and CEO of Movement Health Partners, and regular speaker.

Warren McAdams, PT, DPT

Warren is an incredibly compassionate human being, outstanding mentor, enthusiastic educator, and a loyal health-care provider always aiming to exceed expectations... Amazing person.


Dr. Teresa Bachman, PT, DPT

Teresa Bachman is full-time faculty member in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Baylor University and a board-certified clinical specialist in geriatric physical therapy. She is now working on an additional doctoral degree (Doctor of Health Science degree) at the University of Indianapolis! Teresa is already an experienced teacher and high performer, yet she continues to pursue additional challenges and opportunities in her career! She is such a dedicated physical therapist, professor, colleague, wife, and mother. I admire her simultaneous commitment to her career, her students, and her family. I know her husband and two sons think she is a shining star and we do too!

Catherine Connors, PT, DPT

Dr. Catherine Connors has been an amazing asset to the Acute Therapy Services department at UT Southwestern Medical Center, as well as super Mom to her young daughter, Lilly, all at the same time! Recently she has been working on special projects and initiatives for our hospitalized patients following lung transplantation. She is so committed to ensuring that these patients receive high-quality, evidence-based care to maximize their post-transplant outcomes. She is absolutely a Shining Star for her work this past year in elevating the care provided to this specialized and complex patient population!

Amber Brown, PT, DPT

Dr. Amber Brown, PT, DPT is the founder and owner of Root Physical Therapy and Wellness, LLC in the DFW area. Dr. Brown completed her Residency Program in Women's Health, is currently working towards her PhD with TWU, and is the Chair of the TPTA's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force.

Ma Rodelyn Berdin, PT, DPT, FTPTA

It is her passion to give back to the community and the profession. Serving nationally as the Vice-Chair for APTA Acute Care Practice Committee and locally as a Practice and Leadership Committees member. Rodelyn has organized and participated in several community outreach programs.

Leah Mae A. Alba, PT, DPT, FTPTA

Leah is a dedicated school-based PT and has been with the Harris County Department of Education for over 20 years. Giving back to her profession is equally important. She's a Tom Waugh Leadership fellow and serves as a member of TPTA’s Practice Committee.

Lynne Hughes, PT, PhD

Lynne is a bright star in Texas for her students, patients, and our profession!

Polly Bowers-Maness, PTA

Polly is truly a bright star of Texas! She is very passionate about all things PT-related. She is a mentor, servers on the board, and brings joy to her patients.

Joan Firra, PT, PhD

Joan has modeled what it means to be a professional to generations of PTs and PTAs here in the Texas. She is generous, involved, and has been an inspiration to many of us especially here in the North Texas area