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Two of the three core faculty members hired in the Department of Physical Therapy. Hallie Zeleznik (left) and Caitlyn Crawford (right).

Two of the three core faculty members hired in the Department of Physical Therapy. Hallie Zeleznik (left) and Caitlyn Crawford (right).

The University of Pittsburgh Department of Physical Therapy is pleased to announce the hiring of three core faculty members—Hallie Zeleznik, PT, DPT, Board Certified Neurologic Physical Therapy Clinical Specialist; and Caitlyn Crawford, PT, DPT, Board Certified Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Clinical Specialist. A third individual with expertise in neurologic physical therapy to support the hybrid option has also been hired with a start date of August 1 and will be announced later this spring.  

Hallie Zeleznik will be joining the Department on April 8 as associate professor and vice chair for Clinical Education and Practice Innovation. She received her physical therapy degree from Daemen College in 2001 and a transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy from Arcadia University in 2012. 

Zeleznik is coming to Pitt PT from the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute (RI), formerly the Centers for Rehab Services, where she has worked since 2002. In her current position of director of Strategic Initiatives and Professional Development, she led and supported evidence-based projects and programs to enhance physical therapist practice and improve the quality of patient care across the rehabilitation business unit of more than 1,000 clinicians in 80 outpatient locations, 16 acute care hospitals, eight inpatient rehabilitation units and nine skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities. 

As vice chair for Clinical Education and Practice Innovation, Zeleznik will be responsible for providing leadership for the clinical education team to strategically meet the DPT program goals in this area. In doing so, she will establish and optimize ongoing processes and procedures for the operations of the clinical education program. This will include creating new clinical partnerships, maximizing student experiences within existing and new partnerships, assessing student performance and clinical education outcomes and developing innovative ways to create standardized learning opportunities for clinical education experiences across the spectrum of care. 

Zeleznik will also assume responsibilities related to clinical practice innovation. In this new area of emphasis for the Department, she will be responsible for the development and ongoing oversight of new faculty collaborative clinical practice models with physician practices and community partners. She will also identify and teach ways to use clinical data to drive innovative changes in health care. Zeleznik’s teaching responsibilities will be in the areas of evidence-based practice and professional development and leadership.  

Zeleznik has extensive experience in clinical education. She is credentialed as a clinical instructor and advanced clinical instructor by the American Physical Therapy Association. She has been a clinical instructor for students from the University of Pittsburgh and many other physical therapy programs. She developed and pilot tested a novel 2:1 student to instructor model by pairing part-time students with a full-time clinical intern.   

As a Pitt clinical education faculty member, Zeleznik worked collaboratively with a group of clinical instructors from across UPMC to develop and enhance the Pitt clinical education program. This included the development of performance benchmarks for all levels of clinical education for DPT students, reviewing the Clinical Instruction Evaluation Tool and identifying areas of continuing education for all clinical instructors.  

Zeleznik has served as an adjunct faculty member for the Pitt DPT program since 2004, becoming an adjunct professor in 2021. Most recently, given her expertise related to use of outcome measures in clinical practice, Zeleznik has turned her teaching efforts to preparing our students for the Performance Improvement Project.    

Zeleznik’s prior clinical education experiences, strong organizational leadership skills, focus on knowledge translation and strategic thinking and partnerships are all skills that make her the ideal selection to lead our clinical education team and provide oversight for the development and implementation of innovative collaborative inter-professional practice models.   


Caitlyn Crawford will be joining Pitt PT on April 1 as an assistant professor. She received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from St. Francis University in 2012. To advance her contemporary knowledge and expertise for teaching in the musculoskeletal physical therapy course sequence, Crawford became a Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy in 2015 and earned certificates in Orthopaedic Manual Therapy (2016) and as a Primary Spine Practitioner (2018). 

Crawford has served as an adjunct assistant professor in our DPT program for the past six years, supporting Musculoskeletal PT 1, 2 and 3, as well as the foundational courses of Anatomy and Kinesiology. She has also been engaged in Advanced Manual Therapy, which is an elective course in the DPT program. She has consistently been a trusted team member who has been called upon to assist with coordinating and leading various lab activities for these courses. Crawford has also been active in post-professional education and has served as a faculty member for the Primary Spine Practitioner program since 2019. 

In addition to her clinical experience and expertise, Crawford has considerable leadership experience, having served as a facility director for the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute since 2018. She also coordinated the scheduling of adjunct faculty for all RI clinicians who participated in the residential musculoskeletal courses. 

Crawford’s clinical and teaching experiences have prepared her well for the role as a full-time core PT faculty member. Over the past six years, she has consistently received extremely positive feedback from students and lead core faculty related to her teaching. She has been noted for having strong content knowledge, excellent manual skills, high levels of engagement with students and overall teaching effectiveness. Crawford’s primary responsibility will be teaching, specifically in the musculoskeletal physical therapy sequence for the residential and hybrid options of the DPT program. She will assist with leading lectures and lab modules related to cervical, thoracic and lumbosacral spine, as well as support associated labs related to the shoulder, hip, knee and foot/ankle. Crawford is well suited to assume the full-time role of assistant professor in the DPT program. 

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