Pharmacy and Health Sciences Appoints
Taylor to Develop Physical Therapy Program

September 1, 2009

Media Contact:
Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037

ATLANTA — Dr. H.W. “Ted” Matthews, dean of the Mercer University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, has announced the appointment of Leslie F. Taylor, PT, Ph.D., former division head of the physical therapy program at Georgia State University, to develop and implement a doctoral-level physical therapy program at Mercer.

The new program, which will be based in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences on Mercer’s Atlanta campus, intends to admit its first students in the fall of 2010.

“As the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences seeks to develop an extremely promising addition in physical therapy, it has engaged a talented and experienced director to work with faculty in planning the program,” said Mercer Provost Wallace L. Daniel. “Physical therapy fits well with the mission of the University and, when it is planned and developed, should enhance the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, as well as contribute in a significant way to the health sciences at Mercer.”

Dr. Taylor, who has led Georgia State’s physical therapy program for the past four years, has over 25 years of clinical experience as a physical therapist, working in a variety of clinical settings. In 1986, she began her private practice with an emphasis on treating individuals with chronic illnesses, and later earned a Master of Science in Community Counseling while completing an internship in Boston. After returning to her native Atlanta to pursue a position in physical therapist education, she earned her Ph.D. in Sociology in 1997 with an emphasis in medical sociology. She also holds a graduate certificate in gerontology.

“The addition of a Doctor of Physical Therapy program in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is a natural next step for us as we expand our commitment to provide health care practitioners for the state and region,” Dr. Matthews said. “In particular, this program will enable Mercer University to satisfy the growing demand for physical therapists who work with our aging population.”

Dr. Taylor’s current research addresses physical function in older adults, specifically on developing and evaluating physical activity interventions to maximize the independence, quality of life, and quality of care of those who are frail and chronically ill. Her research is presented and published nationally. Her teaching interests include rheumatology, geriatrics/gerontology, psychosocial aspects of disease and disability, ethics, communication, and evidence-based research.

She received the GSU Gerontology Institute’s Outstanding Faculty Award in 2003 and the Achievement in Education Award from the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia in 2008.  She serves on the Board of Directors of the Arthritis Foundation, Georgia Chapter, and North Metro Tech’s Physical Therapist Assistant program.  

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to develop a premier physical therapy program that will be aligned with Mercer’s vision of excellence in clinical education, research, and community engagement,” Dr. Taylor said. “I look forward to working with the University’s distinguished faculty and advancing the mission of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.”

About the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Mercer University
Founded in 1903, the independent Southern School of Pharmacy merged with Mercer University in 1959. It became the first school in the Southeast to offer the Doctor of Pharmacy degree as its sole professional degree in 1981. In addition to the Doctor of Pharmacy, the college has one of the largest concentrations of Ph.D. students in pharmaceutics among colleges of pharmacy in the United States. In 2008, the college introduced a Physician Assistant program.

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,000 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.
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