Meet Rising Star Jose Dueñas: Reshaping Physical Therapy


Jose Dueñas, a first-generation student in the UCSF/SFSU Graduate Program in Physical Therapy is one of the three 2023 recipients of the Irene Gilbert Scholarship, which is named after Dr. Gilbert, a beloved former director of the program. Recipients each year are selected based on their passion for a career in physical therapy, a record of success in initial coursework, and an exceptional commitment to ethics and professionalism. The scholarship fund was established through the generous endowment of Michael Go, PT '74, with additional contributions from his fellow classmates and other alumni.

Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Dueñas faced numerous challenges in a low-income household. Despite the odds stacked against him, he demonstrated incredible resilience and determination. Each day, he undertook a grueling three-hour commute to attend a renowned charter school.

Initially set on a premed path, Dueñas discovered his true calling during his time at the University of California Santa Barbara. While volunteering at a rehabilitation hospital, he had a life-changing encounter with physical therapy. Witnessing the profound impact it had on patients, especially those in underserved communities, he realized the immense potential he had to help people live healthier lives.

Driven by this newfound passion, and an ongoing commitment to education, Dueñas pursued a master's degree in biology while working as a physical therapy aide in an orthopedic clinic. Through this experience, he gained insights into the challenges faced by individuals who often go without proper physical therapy treatment, despite experiencing injuries.

With a desire to rectify health care disparities Dueñas aims to increase awareness and accessibility of physical therapy within underrepresented communities. He aspires to be a catalyst for change, ensuring that people can improve their health through physical therapy, exercise and movement.

Support individuals like Jose Dueñas in their quest to revolutionize the field of physical therapy. Give now and champion the next leader who will advocate for access to quality and preventative care, empowering people from all communities to lead healthy lives.

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