Clinical Assistant Professor

Donna Smith serves as adjunct clinical faculty in the University of Vermont Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Before her move to Vermont, she was an assistant professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, Division of Physical Therapy. She has both neurologic and geriatric specialty certifications through the American Board of Physical Therapy. In clinical practice, she primarily served people with neurological conditions such as stroke, brain injury, MS, and vestibular disorders. Currently, her primary teaching areas include mindfulness-based health and wellness, professionalism and leadership, neuromuscular assessment and treatment, psychosocial aspects of health and well-being, and an introduction to integrative health in the physical therapy curriculum.

She is a qualified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher through the UMASS Medical Center, Center for Mindfulness and continues advanced training in the Brown University Mindfulness Center teacher-training program, with specific interests in applications for under-served populations, chronic illness, aging, and graduate student mental health and resilience.

Research and/or Creative Works

  • Project Director, Mindfulness Tools for Health and Wellness. Victoria Buffum Endowment Fund through the University of Vermont Medical Center, Vermont Cancer Center, 2018 – current.
  • Comparison of Short Term General Medicine and Musculoskeletal Clinical Experiences in Sample Student Cohorts: A Qualitative Thematic Analysis. Emory University.
  • International Council on Active Aging conference: PERKS®: Program for Early Recovery from Knee Surgery- A Collaborative Model of Care Delivery.
  • Clinical research project related to plantarflexion contractures using a dynamic ankle-foot orthosis intervention, Emory Center for Rehabilitation Medicine.
  • Academic and Clinical Partnership in Chronic Pain Education and Management, presented at ACAPT Education Leadership Conference, 2019.
  • An Exploratory Study of Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis toward Engaging in Mindfulness Practice, presented at APTA Combined Sections Meeting, 2020.


  • Blanton S, Porter L, Smith D, Wolf SL. Strategies to enhance mobility in traumatic brain injured patients. In: Rosenthal M, Griffith E, Kreutzer J, Pentland B, eds. Rehabilitation of the Adult and Child with Traumatic Brain Injury. Philadelphia, PA: FA Davis Company, 1999; 219-241.

Awards and Recognition

  • ABPTS certification as a board certified specialist in neurologic physical therapy
  • ABPTS certification as a board certified specialist in geriatric physical therapy

Associations and Affiliations

  • Vice-Chair, Consortium of Humanities, Ethics, and Professionalism of the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (2016 – present)
  • American Physical Therapy Association
  • Vermont Physical Therapy Association
  • American Mindfulness Research Association
Donna Smith

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Aging, neurological movement impairments, Mindfulness-based practices, meditation


  • Doctorate of Physical Therapy; Arizona School of Health Sciences, A.T. Still University
  • Physical Therapy; Georgia State University
  • Exercise Science; Western Carolina University


Office Location:

310N Rowell Building

Office Hours:

By appointment

  1. Mindful Vermont

Courses Taught

  • DPT 450
  • DPT 415
  • DPT 496
  • HLTH 095