Kerstin M. Palombaro

Kerstin M. Palombaro, PT, PhD, CAPS

  • Associate Professor
  • Coordinator of Community Engagement

Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, Physical Therapy (2008)
    Temple University (PA)
  • MS, PT Physical Therapy (1996)
    Columbia University (NY)
  • BS, Psychology (1994)
    St. Joseph's University (PA)

About Me

I received my BS in psychology from St. Joseph’s University, my Masters of Science in physical therapy from Columbia University, and my PhD in physical therapy from Temple University. My clinical practice as a physical therapist focused on older adults in home and home hospice settings. I bring to my teaching my passion for community health, health and wellness promotion, and serving the older adult client through best practices in geriatrics. 

I serve as the Community Engagement Coordinator in the Institute for Physical Therapy Education and have a strong interest in community engagement and its impact on both students and the community. To that end, I teach the community health practicum course series, which prepares and sends students into ongoing community health programming at four sites in our Chester community. I am also privileged to participate in international service learning at an orphanage in Chongqing, China. Currently, I am researching best practices for international service learning programs in China with Drs. Dole and Pierce in the Institute for Physical Therapy Education and Professor Tim Scepansky in Communication Studies. 

I enjoy watching students grow in their clinical skills through my role as a supervising physical therapist at the Chester Community Physical Therapy Clinic, our student-led pro bono clinic. Seeing the students’ commitment to providing quality care to the uninsured and underinsured—and watching them return as supervising physical therapists after graduation—is inspiring and energizing.   

Research Interests

I have two main areas of research. The first focuses on the impact of community engagement on both students and community partners. The second focuses on physical performance in older adults. 

Media Expertise

  • Geriatrics
  • Osteoporosis
  • Community health
  • Certified aging in place specialist


  • Duszak KM, Brolly M, Joshi R, Palombaro, KM. Improving Osteoporosis Knowledge and Clinical Practice Patterns in Physical and Occupational Therapists. Submitted to Health Promotion Practice, In review.
  • Black, JD, Palombaro KM, Dole RL, Measuring the Development of Cultural Compentence in Physical Therapist Students. Revised and Resubmitted, International Journal of Teaching and Learning, in review.
  • Fike DS, Denton JM, Esparza S, Palombaro KM. Calculating of Minimal Detectable Change of Construct Sub-scales of a Cultural Compentence Instrument. Revised and resubmitted, Journal of Physical Therapy Education, in review.
  • Black JD, Green D, McKenna C, Squadrito J, Taylor S, Palombaro KM. Therapists' perspectives and interventions in the management of axillary web syndrome: an exploratory study. Rehabilitation Oncology. 2014; 32(4):17-22.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF)


  • Humanitarian Award, Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Association (2014)
  • "A Best Practices Evaluation of a Physical Therapy Training Program in China" Provost Grant (2015, 2016)
  • "Civic Mindedness and Empathy" Provost Grant (2015)