Michelle Criss, PT, DPT, Ph.D., Board-Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist

Photo of Michelle Criss
Assistant Professor
Eastside - 236

Joined Chatham:  2012


Ageism and attitudes about aging, quality of life in an assisted living intergenerational living arrangement, and the use of tests and measures with older adults including work with APTA Geriatrics GeriEDGE document group.


Dance, gardening (especially if the weeds pick themselves), kayaking and finding time to actually do it, good food, good friends, and most importantly finding ways to enjoy my family!


Dr. Criss has been practicing in the area of geriatric physical therapy for 26 years mostly in skilled nursing facilities, but also in inpatient rehabilitation, adult day programming, and home health. She joined the core faculty in 2012 as a part-time instructor after serving as adjunct and in 2015 joined as full time faculty. Dr. Criss currently serves the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy on several committees and task forces. Dr. Criss is proud to have developed the ABPTRFE-accredited UPMC Centers for Rehab Services Geriatric Physical Therapy Residency program in which she continues to serve as a faculty member.

  • Ph.D., Nova Southeastern University (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), 2020
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy, University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA), 2010
  • Master of Science, Physical Therapy, Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA), 1995
  • Bachelor of Arts, Biology and Psychology, University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), 1992
  • Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist, American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties
  • Credentialed Clinical Instructor, American Physical Therapy Association
  • Excellence in Geriatric Research Award for the paper “Determining Risk of Falls in Community Dwelling Older Adults”, Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy (co-author, award presented to first author), 2018
  • Chatham University Faculty Technology Fellow, 2017-2018
  • Clinician-Educator Award, Chatham University Physical Therapy Program, 2011
  • Award of Excellence, Geriatric Special Interest Group, Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Association, 2009
  • President's Award, Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy, American Physical Therapy Association, 2009
  • Stepansky K, CRISS M, & Dick A. Combatting ageism in graduate health science students: Community collaborative innovation with a multigenerational housing option. Poster session accepted for American Occupational Therapy Association’s Education Summit, St. Louis, MO, October 22, 2021
  • Criss MG, Canbek J, Chui KK, Gallichio J. Does a novel measure of total walking speed range predict function, disability, and life space? Platform Presentation, APTA Combined Sections Meeting, virtual format, February 2021
  • CRISS M. “Implicit Learning and Useful Communication Strategies: Working with Persons Living with Dementia.” Educational Offering for Clinical Instructors of Penn State Fayette PTA Program. May 10, 2018
  • CRISS M. “Using Apps to Practice Observation Skills.” Pittsburgh Regional Faculty Symposium, Pittsburgh, PA. March 2018
  • CRISS M. “Help! How do I use evidence to treat persons living with dementia? The basics of implicit learning and useful communication strategies” PPTA Geriatric SIG presentation at PPTA Annual Conference, Seven Springs, PA. October 2017
  • White L, Dawson N, Ross B, Stanley M, Knott G, CRISS M, Miles J, Steffes L, Ross C. “Working with Cognitive/Mental Health Issues Across the Care Continuum.” 2-Day Pre-Conference Education Program, APTA Combined Sections Meeting (San Antonio, TX), February 2017.
  • CRISS M & Heitzman J. “Ethics, Decision-Making Ability, and Interventions for Patients with Alzheimer Disease. AGPT Education Session, American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting (Anaheim, CA), February 2016
  • CRISS M, Grieve S, Cook J. "Teaching with Multimedia: Applying Evidence to Enhance Learning." Education Session, American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting (Anaheim, CA), February 2016
  • Lusardi M, Fritz S, Allison L, Wingood M, CRISS M, Middleton A, Phillips E. “GeriEDGE Fall Risk Assessment and Outcome Measures.” Education Session, APTA Combined Sections Meeting (Indianapolis, IN), February, 2015
  • CRISS M and Schwartz S. “Falls and rehabilitation after hip fracture.” Invited presentation. Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Association Southwest District Mini-Combined Sections Meeting, March 2013.
  • Strunk E and CRISS M. “Are you a frustrated SNF therapist? What you can do to influence change.” American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting, San Diego, January 2013.