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Stephen D. Jernigan, Ph.D., PT, FNAP

Stephen Jernigan portrait
Associate Professor, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Science, and Athletic Training

Professional Background

Stephen D. Jernigan, Ph.D., PT, FNAP, has a clinical background in outpatient orthopedic physical therapy. He was appointed director of the physical therapy doctoral degree program in March 2017 and provides instruction for foundational clinical courses PTRS 703 Applied Anatomy and 711 Applied Kinesiology and Biomechanics. He currently serves as a preceptor for physical therapy students in an interprofessional teaching clinic associated with the KU Department of Family Medicine.

Through collaboration with others, Jernigan has led the integration of interprofessional education into the program's curriculum. He also helps lead interprofessional experiences across the institution as the director of the School of Health Professions IPE Champions workgroup and as co-lead for the assessment and scholarship committee associated with the Center for Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research at KU Medical Center.

In early 2018, Jernigan and faculty colleagues in the department established the Leveraging Education And Research iN Physical Therapy (LEARN PT) laboratory. This virtual laboratory was created with the mission of promoting excellence and collaboration to optimize physical therapy education.

Jernigan is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association and has served as an active board member of the National Interprofessional Education Consortium. He served five years as chair of the research committee for the Kansas Physical Therapy Association. He has had the opportunity to train faculty and students from multiple institutions across the nation in interprofessional education and practice.

In 2017 Jernigan was elected to be a 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.

Academic Background

Jernigan began his work in physical therapy at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, with a bachelor's degree in exercise science. He then transitioned to KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas, to earn his master's in physical therapy and later a doctorate in rehabilitation science.



Jernigan's research interests are primarily in the area of educational research, specific to physical therapy education and interprofessional education and practice.

Much of his published work and presentations focus on the implementation of and/or outcomes associated with interprofessional experiences and practice. His conference presentations have also included work conducted through the LEARN PT laboratory.