Meet a Member

Mary Lou Galantino

Mary Lou Galantino was recently named a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the APTA – the association’s highest membership category. This title is awarded to members of the association whose contributions to the profession through leadership, influence, and achievements demonstrate frequent and sustained efforts to advance the profession for a period of not less than 15 years preceding the nomination for election. Mary Lou has been a strong advocate and clinician on the forefront of HIV rehabilitation, establishing the HIV SIG of the Oncology Section, and providing innumerable other contributions to the field and the PT profession.

Mary Lou Galantino PT, MS, PhD, MSCE

Dr. Mary Lou Galantino is a Distinguished Professor of Physical Therapy at Stockton University, Galloway, NJ, where she also coordinates an interdisciplinary Holistic Health Minor. Additionally, she is an Adjunct Scholar and Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Pennsylvania where she conducts research on integrative medicine and chronic diseases.

Dr. Galantino received her BS degree in physical therapy from the University of Pittsburgh and started her career at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. She later moved west taking on clinical and administrative roles in hospice and acute care settings in Oregon and Texas, receiving extensive training with the HIV population and oncology rehabilitation in the 1980’s at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. In 1987 she founded a private practice and became a member of a NIH-National Task Force on AIDS and earned a MS degree in physical therapy at Texas Woman’s University in 1989 with her seminal research on the use of progressive resistance exercise for end stage HIV disease.

In the 90’s she returned to the northeast joining the faculty at Stockton University and earned her PhD from the Department of Education at Temple University in 1997.  From 2001-2005, she embarked on a Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine as a recipient of an NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health post-doctoral fellowship.

One area of focus in her teaching, research and advocacy has been on advancing the care and rehabilitation of those with cancer, HIV/AIDS and chronic disease around the country and the globe with a holistic health approach, noting her certifications as yoga instructor and ACSM Wellness Coach. Dr. Galantino’s emphasis in clinical practice, research and education is an integrative approach to holistic care.

In 1993, she established the HIV SIG of the Oncology Section of the APTA and served as the Research Chair for over a decade.  She received Health Resources and Services Administration government grants in Texas and New Jersey and established community based rehabilitation interventions for people living with HIV. Through her Fulbright Specialist Award in South Africa, Dr. Galantino researches HIV disability and is a visiting professor at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Dr. Galantino has published two texts on HIV, two books on complementary and alternative medicine as well as multiple book chapters. She has nearly 70 publications in peer-reviewed journals including Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, Contemporary Clinical Trials, Rehabilitation Oncology, Physical Therapy, Physiotherapy Research International, Journal of Physical Therapy Education and EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing. She has given over 250 professional presentations to interdisciplinary audiences at state and national meetings as well as internationally in countries such as Columbia, South Africa, Greece, China and Japan with topics ranging from physical therapy education, Complementary Therapy in Rehabilitation, HIV Rehabilitation and Wellness Coaching Interventions for Cancer Survivors.

In her effort to integrate evidence based complementary medicine throughout rehabilitation practice, she is involved several research projects funded by NIH, state and private foundations such as the Impact of aerobic exercise on women with genetic predisposition to breast cancer. WISER (Women in Steady Exercise Research) Sister study; Impact of Yoga on Quality of Life and Cognition for Women Undergoing Treatment during Chemotherapy, and Effect of a Four-week Yoga Program on Persons with HIV-related Distal Sensory Polyneuropathy and the Effects of Yoga for Mild Hypertension.

Throughout her research and clinical practice, she embraces interprofessional education and research and was honored as a Distinguished Scholar in the National Academies of Practice in 2017.  Dr. Galantino has held several state and national consultative and advisory positions in the APTA and NJ APTA. She has also received numerous university and APTA awards for her teaching and research as well as most notably her Fulbright Award as a Cancer and HIV Rehabilitation Consultant in South Africa. She shares inspiring insight through her TED Talk on Surviving Survivorship and brings perspective as a patient, co-survivor, researcher, clinician and public health advocate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.