Mary Baldwin Hires Valley Native to Lead New Physical Therapy Program

June 1, 2012

Lisa Shoaf

A search committee has chosen Harrisonburg native Lisa Donegan Shoaf for the position of founding director of the DPT program, the first leadership role to be filled in the new graduate school set to open in 2014. The college also plans to establish programs in occupational therapy and physician assistant studies.

“She’s a great person with great experience in the field and classroom,” said Steve Mosher, director of Mary Baldwin’s Healthcare Administration program and leader of the search committee. “She is very highly respected by her peers across the nation and will make an immediate and positive impact at Mary Baldwin. She knows how to build the DPT program and will be a wonderful colleague. I truly look forward to working with her.”

For the past 20 years, Shoaf has been on the faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), teaching ethics, professionalism, and orthopedic practice within the Department of Physical Therapy, as well as anatomy and kinesiology in the Department of Dance and Choreography. Over the years at VCU, she conducted research, ran the Clinical Education program, and maintained a clinical practice.

A former dancer, Shoaf is enthusiastic about finding ways to channel her passion to help others prevent and heal performance-related injuries within the performing arts departments at Mary Baldwin. She also hopes to continue the type of collaborative, interdisciplinary work she enjoyed at VCU, including reaching out to the local healthcare community.

“I’m very excited about it. Mary Baldwin is doing something very exciting with the new Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences,” Shoaf said. “It has been really fun being a part of the process so far; there’s a great group of people involved.”

Shoaf is a respected leader among her peers and has made worthwhile contacts within the healthcare arena. She served as president of the Virginia Physical Therapy Association from 2006–08 and has been active in the American Physical Therapy Association and in the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

Shoaf also participated in the transition of VCU’s physical therapy program from an entry-level master’s degree to an entry-level doctoral degree, developing a sound working knowledge of the accreditation process.

Hiring Shoaf is Mary Baldwin’s first step in seeking national accreditation for its DPT program. Pursuing accreditation will be a top priority when she steps into her new role on July 9. As founding director, Shoaf’s responsibilities will include curriculum development, recruiting faculty and staff, establishing partnerships for clinical education, and participating in the admissions process.