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David Gillette, PT, DPT, GCS

Assistant Professor


Phone: 209.932.7611


BA in History, University of Washington, 2001

DPT, University of Washington, 2009

Residency in Geriatric Physical Therapy, University of Minnesota, 2012

At Pacific Since: 2017

David Gillette, PT, DPT, GCS earned a bachelor of arts in history and a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) from University of Washington. In 2012, he completed a geriatric physical therapy residency at University of Minnesota. He is a certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist.  

Before pursuing a career in physical therapy, he served in the U.S. Navy. During his time in the Navy he was stationed in Orlando, Florida, Idaho Falls, Idaho and Norfolk, Virginia. Prior to earning his DPT he worked for five years at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.  

Dr. Gillette is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and is actively involved in the orthopaedics and education sections, as well as the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy. Since 2014, he has been an APTA credentialed clinical instructor.  

In his role as a faculty member, Dr. Gillette's goal is to help students become outstanding physical therapists and exemplary professionals. He is pursuing his research interests in geriatrics and education.  

He and his wife have two sons. Together they enjoy hiking, fishing and participating in Cub Scout activities as a family. Dr. Gillette is also an avid photographer.


Teaching Philosophy: "I believe there are several stages of learning. The first is where a student takes in material through various means. Students have different learning styles, so teaching cannot be 'one size fits all' and more than one of these may need to be utilized. The student then applies this material; concretely at first, then more abstractly as other variables are added. When this is truly absorbed it will become second nature, such as when a physical therapist is in the community and performs a mental gait analysis and hypotheses for causes of deviations in a fellow citizen."  

"I believe that teaching is more than just passing on knowledge. It is also guidance and instruction in the application of this knowledge, first from a controlled environment such as the classroom or lab and later into the 'real world.' I've learned from professors and clinical instructors that there are many ways to facilitate learning. One could ask questions to elicit critical thinking and application, as well as encouraging questions from the student. These questions generally do not exist in a vacuum, but rather are saturated in dialog between the student and teacher. For students who are struggling, sometimes teaching involves encouragement or exhortation, while taking into account the students' learning styles. To challenge critical thinking and clinical reasoning, not only is experience vital, but also the encouragement of reflection."  

"As a teacher, I seek feedback from my students as they provide valuable insight about my role as a teacher and as a physical therapist. I've been able to use this to improve professionally, pedagogically and personally."  

PTHR 318 - Patient Care Skills
PTHR 326 - Therapeutic Exercise: Basic Theory and Application
PTHR 343 - Geriatric Physical Therapy
PTHR 345 - Advanced Clinical Problems I


Research Summary:

"Education: I'm interested in various aspects of student learning including the development of empathy during the curriculum, as well as the use of technology in the classroom. "  

"Geriatrics: I'm interested in falls and balance interventions, and the use of technology while working with older adults in the clinic and in the community."

"Adherence: I'm interested in how to encourage patients to stick with or perform exercises and how to encourage the community to exercise as a part of their daily lives."    

Research Interests:

  • Balance and falls interventions
  • Technology in the classroom, clinic and community
  • Adherence to exercise