Stephen D. Jernigan, PT, PhD, FNAP
Director, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program
KU Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science
Stephen D. Jernigan, PT, Ph.D., FNAP, has a clinical background in spine and peripheral joint outpatient orthopedics. He was appointed director of the DPT program in March 2017 and serves as instructor on physical therapy tests and measures which introduces all the basic physical therapy evaluation skills including goniometry and manual muscle testing. He also teaches health promotion through the lifespan, which encompasses a variety of topics – all directed toward promoting the health and wellness of physical therapy patients. In addition, he assists in all of the other musculoskeletal courses in the DPT curriculum. Starting in 2012, Jernigan began to teach kinesiology.
Jernigan is also the director of physical therapy services for Silver City Health Center.
In January 2017 Jernigan was elected Distinguished Scholar and Fellow of the National Academies of Practice in Physical Therapy. Members of this organization work together as an interdisciplinary force to influence national health policy, legislation, and promote quality health care through cooperative advocacy, practice, education, and research.
Jernigan first began his physical therapy work at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, with a bachelor's degree in exercise science. Jernigan then transitioned to KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas, to earn his master's in physical therapy. Also at KU Medical Center, Jernigan later completed his doctorate in rehabilitation science.
Currently, Jernigan is a part of the Clinical Orthopedic Rehabilitation and Research Laboratory because of his interest in clinical orthopedic research. He is also interested in educational research. Jernigan's dissertation work focused on fall risk assessment and quality of life in people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy as part of the Health, Exercise and Aging Laboratory which is housed in the Georgia Holland Research Lab.