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Tamara L. Phelan, PT, EdD, FAAOMPT

Professor, Interim Department Chair


Phone: 209.946.2894


BS in Physical Therapy, Tennessee State University, 1993

DMT in Orthopedic Physical Therapy, Ola Grimsby Institute, 2000

EdD in Higher Education Administration and Leadership, University of the Pacific, 2008

Fellowship in Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy, Ola Grimsby Institute

At Pacific Since: 2001

Tamara L. Phelan, PT, EdD, FAAOMPT earned her bachelor of science in physical therapy from Tennessee State University and her doctor of manual therapy in orthopedic physical therapy from Ola Grimsby Institute. In 2008 she earned her doctor of education from University of the Pacific. Before coming to Pacific, Dr. Phelan was a faculty member at Ola Grimsby Institute, Belmont University and Tennessee State University. She joined the Pacific faculty in 2001. What she loves about teaching at Pacific is the students, who continually inspire her with their positive attitudes and willingness to work hard.

Dr. Phelan is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, the California Physical Therapy Association, the American Academy for Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. She is excited about the ways in which technology is integrated into the physical therapy curriculum. Dr. Phelan was instrumental in securing a $25,000 University of the Pacific Technology in Education Grant, which allowed the physical therapy department to purchase a diagnostic imaging ultrasound. As a result, students have the opportunity to work with this powerful examination and evaluation tool.  

Dr. Phelan has always had an interest in fitness and health. When she discovered the physical therapy profession she found that it matched both her interests and her strengths. She credits James Cyriax, MD, the father of modern orthopedic medicine, as the most influential figure in her career.  

She wants to make the learning experience rigorous, relevant and fun. Her goal is to show students how creative, challenging and satisfying it can be working as a physical therapist. Dr. Phelan strives to develop the self-confidence of her students as they prepare for a career in physical therapy. In addition, she is dedicated to modeling kindness and respect in all aspects of life. 


Teaching Philosophy: “I believe that a deep knowledge of the foundational sciences is what leads to excellence in the clinic. In addition, I believe that students learn best when they are able to connect what they are learning with how they will apply it.”


PTHR 347 - Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy I
PTHR 357 - Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy II


Research Summary: “I am interested in investigating how well different manual therapy and exercises work. Also, I am interested in the different ways that ultrasound imaging can improve physical therapy in the clinic.”

Research Interests:

Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy Interventions
Therapeutic Exercise Interventions
Ultrasound Imaging in Physical Therapist Practice