Ellen Costello, PT, PhD, Named Physical Therapy Program Director

January 4, 2018

Congratulations to Ellen Costello, PT, PhD, on being named director of the Physical Therapy Program in the Department of Health, Human Function, and Rehabilitation Sciences at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS).

Costello, an associate professor of health, human function, and rehabilitation sciences, has served as associate director of the program since 2011. She will assume her new role in January 2018.

"I am so pleased Dr. Costello agreed to serve as the director of the Physical Therapy Program,” said Joyce Maring, EdD, DPT, chair of the Department of Health, Human Function, and Rehabilitation Sciences and former director of the Physical Therapy Program at GW SMHS. “She is a highly respected leader in local and national professional forums. I anticipate she will capitalize on her significant experience as an educator, researcher, and administrator as she leads the continued advancement of the mission and vision of the program."

Costello looks forward to furthering the efforts of her predecessors.

“I am truly honored and full of excitement to take on this new leadership role,” said Costello. “The GW Physical Therapy Program is special. We have faculty and staff so committed to the students’ learning experience - it creates an environment for all to thrive. As program director, I hope to facilitate continued growth and excellence as we prepare our graduates to meet the healthcare challenges ahead.”

Over the last 35 years, Costello has taught thousands of physical therapy students in the clinic and in the classroom. She joined GW SMHS as an assistant professor in 2004, and previously taught in physical therapy programs at Columbia University and Ithaca College. Her primary areas of teaching include gross anatomy and management of individuals with cardiovascular and pulmonary dysfunction. She has received a number of teaching excellence awards and research awards at GW and other institutions.

Costello’s research interests range from outcomes in physical therapy education to physical activity and aging in the older population. She has published and presented her research in both peer-reviewed journals and National and International Research Forums. Costello is a member of the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary, Education, Acute Care, and Geriatrics Sections of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). She is an on-site reviewer for Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Costello has practiced in a variety of settings, including a large city hospital Burn and Trauma Center, an Oncology Specialty Hospital and Home Care. She currently directs the Community Fitness Program at GW, a service offered to local seniors with chronic health conditions.

She earned a BS from Ithaca College, an MS from New York Medical College, and a PhD from New York University School of Education, Health, Nursing and Arts Professions.