Don Lein

The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees appointed Donald Lein, PT, Ph.D., to the Bergman/Pinkston Endowed Professorship in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Physical Therapy on November, 13, 2020. Lein is only the second ever to earn the physical therapy professorship that honors UAB professors emeritus Joan Bergman and Dorothy Pinkston.

Bergman established Alabama’s first physical therapy service for the general public and the first education program for PTs in the state. Pinkston, a Catherine Worthingham Fellow, was a nationally recognized educator who specialized in curriculum design, teaching and evaluation. She was also a recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal awarded by the U.S. Army.

“Dr. Lein is extremely well-qualified for this appointment,” said David Morris, Ph.D., chair, UAB Department of Physical Therapy. “He has a strong record with regards to clinical expertise, research, teaching and professional service. These experiences will no doubt support his activities in this role.”

The professorship was created to attract and retain nationally recognized scholars as faculty members specifically to enhance courses and activities of the UAB doctoral programs in physical therapy.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected for the Bergman/Pinkston Endowed Professorship,” said Lein, associate professor and director of community outreach and continuing education. “This professorship will allow us to continue the development and evaluation of an advanced curricular track to ready DPT students to provide primary care and physical therapy services to underserved and marginalized populations as a member of a primary care team. I believe that this project would align with the interests and pioneering spirit of the PT leaders named on this professorship.”

Lein, who currently serves as president of the Alabama Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association, has been a practicing physical therapist in Alabama for more than 30 years. He co-developed UAB’s popular Tone Your Bones’ osteoporosis education class, osteoporosis nutrition and exercise program, and weekly exercise class.

His main research interests include developing and implementing physical therapy interventions to improve the care of individuals with osteoporosis and osteoporosis-related fractures. Lein also explores the role of physical therapists in providing health promotion and education while providing typical physical therapy services, plus, developing and testing educational strategies to enhance Doctor of Physical Therapy education. He has published manuscripts in 19 peer-review journals and presented nationally and internationally.

He is the winner of numerous awards including the Circle of Excellence Winner for Patient Care (University of Alabama Health Services Foundation), Marilyn Gossman Award for Professionalism (Alabama Physical Therapy Association), and Disability Support Services Outstanding Recognition (UAB Disability Support Services).

Lein earned his doctoral degree in health behavior from UAB, master’s degree in physical therapy from UAB and bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Cornell University. He joined the physical therapy faculty in the UAB School of Health Professions in 2010 as an assistant professor.

In 2011, Cecilia Graham, PT, Ph.D., was the first UAB PT faculty member to be named the Bergman/Pinkston Endowed Professor. This professorship was also designed to memorialize the vision of Marilyn Gossman, Ph.D., who is the founding mother of the UAB Department of Physical Therapy.

The Bergman/Pinkston Endowed Professorship was established in 2007 and continues to accept contributions to further the impact in perpetuity. Visit go.uab.edu/GiveBergmanPinkston to join the numerous physical therapy colleagues and friends from across the United States who have supported the efforts to expand the offerings and opportunities for UAB DPT students.