Our Team

Jennifer Brach, PT, PhD, FAPTA

Jennifer S. Brach is a professor in the Department of Physical Therapy. Her areas of interest include community-based participatory research, aging, gait, exercise, physical activity and physical function. She is responsible for teaching research methods in physical therapy courses in the DPT program and the Methods of Inquiry course in the PhD program. She has been helping older adults exercise since she was a high-school student and is thrilled to offer On the Move: Group Exercise for Improved Mobility in Older Adults® (OTM) to the community.

Jessie VanSwearingen, PT, PhD, FAPTA

Jessie VanSwearingen is a professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, teaching graduate courses in the area of neuroscience, and neuromotor control applied in clinical practice in neurological decision-making, clinical electrotherapy, and geriatric physical therapy. She serves as a reviewer for both basic science and clinical journals, reviews research abstracts for professional meetings in Geriatrics and Physical Therapy and chairs the Research Committee for APTA Academy of Geriatrics. VanSwearingen is honored as a Worthingham Fellow of the APTA. Her research interest is in the assessment and treatment to enhance neuromotor control in older adults (and [future] companion dogs).

Valerie Shuman, PT, DPT, GCS

Valerie is an assistant professor, physical therapist, and board-certified geriatric clinical specialist at the University of Pittsburgh in Rehabilitation Science. Valerie has worked clinically in acute care, in-patient rehab, and in skilled nursing facilities with a focus on treating patients with neurological and balance disorders. She also has been a teaching assistant at Duquesne University since 2013. Valerie joined the OTM team in 2018 and is thrilled to take part in helping adults in the community be more active.

Gardenia A. Juarez, MA

Gardenia A. Juarez is a kinesiologist whose research focuses on health promotion, community-based participatory research, and physical activity for older adults. Ms. Juarez is a doctoral student researcher in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh. She has extensive experience working in community-based programming for older adults in Chico, California and Pittsburgh, PA. Ms. Juarez joined the On the Move team in 2019 and is elated to bring a unique program to community-dwelling older adults. 

Leslie Coffman, PT, DPT

Leslie Coffman is a staff research physical therapist at University of Pittsburgh Department of Physical Therapy. Before transitioning into an exclusively research-based position, Leslie worked in outpatient and rehab settings with a focus on treating patients with neurological and vestibular disorders. Leslie is a master OTM trainer. She has been involved teaching classes, developing training materials, and training instructors since 2013. In her current role at Pitt, Leslie completes clinical assessments on research participants, oversees data management, and continues to develop and implement instructor training materials for various programs, including OTM.