Diane D. Allen, PT, PhD

Professor, SFSU
(415) 338-6837



  • BS, Physical Therapy, University of California, San Francisco, CA, 1978
  • MS, Medical Allied Health Professions, Neuromuscular Emphasis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, 1991
  • PhD, Education: Quantitative Methods and Evaluation, University of California, Berkeley, CA, 2005
  • Postdoc, Measurement in Rehabilitation, Boston University, Boston, MA, 2007

Board Certifications

Physical Therapist (PT)

Clinical and Research Interests

Through 20 years as a physical therapy clinician and instructor, Dr. Allen developed an interest in documenting the effectiveness of physical therapists and physical therapy students. She pursued a PhD in Education from the University of California, Berkeley, because it allowed her to focus on methods of measurement, including item response theory methods. For her doctoral dissertation, she created and tested a new clinical measure, the Movement Ability Measure (MAM), intended to document patients’ perceived changes in abilities following physical therapy episodes, whether delivered by students or licensed clinicians. Through her post-doctoral fellowship at Boston University, she was able to develop the MAM research in multiple publications, and collaborate with others in developing and assessing other rehabilitation measures. Since joining the faculty at UCSF/SFSU in 2008, Dr Allen has continued the MAM research and merged it with on-going investigation of an innovative intervention for people with Multiple Sclerosis. She has collected and analyzed gait and balance data in people with MS and healthy controls in collaboration with a co-principal investigator from Samuel Merritt University and several students from both universities, funded through a grant from the National Institutes of Health. Her pilot project, Mind the Gap - Targeting Differences in Patients' Current and Preferred Abilities, was funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to compare patient perceptions of their movement abilities with their clinicians' emphases in therapy. She noted that lack of agreement can lead to sub-optimal outcomes. Future projects will continue the theme of advancing the practice of physical therapy.