UCSF/SFSU DPT Commencement 2020


Class of 2020 UCSF/SFSU DPT Commencement Ceremony


Event Details


Date: Saturday, September 26, 2020

Time: 2:00pm PDT

Location: Premiering live on YouTube on September 26

YouTube Link


Raziel Rizzo, 2020 DPT Candidate

This year’s student speaker will be Raziel Rizzo, Doctor of Physical Therapy candidate. Raziel’s classmates warmly chose her to represent the UCSF/SFSU DPT Class of 2020.

Raziel’s unwavering advocacy for access and equity for underserved populations within healthcare stem from her personal experience within physical therapy. At the age of 13, Raziel underwent a spinal fusion which resulted in an incomplete spinal cord injury, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. Needless to say, her journey didn't end there. In a miraculous turn, Raziel learned to walk again, setting the tone for her purpose. It was in this new arena - in the clinic as a patient trying to gain literal ground - that her love and admiration for the PT profession emerged. While her passion for PT was birthed there, she has continued to find opportunities to grow and fortify her decision to pursue this career. In 2017 she was accepted into our Graduate Program for Physical Therapy and joined the UCSF/SFSU family.

In March of 2018 Raziel and colleague Ki Cheng spearheaded a student-run service project providing physical therapy based movement and education to underserved youth in the Bayview community. In April of 2019 she was the PT student voice for the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science and Medical Education symposium in Washington, DC. In October of 2019 she was awarded the UCSF Chancellor’s Award for Disability Public Service in recognition of commitment and service in furthering inclusion of people with disabilities. In March of 2020 she was awarded the Keller Family Scholarship in recognition of her passion for physical therapy. Raziel’s devotion to advocacy, her ability to relate authentically with patients, and her leadership skills will make her an exceptional clinician and a standout member of the physical therapy profession.


Betty Smoot, PT, DPTSc, MAS

Dr. Smoot has served the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, the Department of Anatomy, and the Graduate Program in Physical Therapy as a member of the faculty for 10 years. After earning her entry level Physical Therapy degree at UCSF in 1983, she enjoyed a tremendously rewarding clinical career in a variety of settings, but primarily with adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain. In 2006, Dr. Smoot returned to UCSF/SFSU to pursue her Doctorate in Physical Therapy Science, and joined the faculty in 2010. She is passionate about life-long learning, teaching the next generation of physical therapists, and providing opportunities for physical therapy students to explore the world of clinical research. Over the course of her physical therapy career, Dr. Smoot has obtained certifications in biofeedback, massage therapy, lymphedema therapy, personal training, and cancer exercise therapy. While working full time as a faculty member, she earned a Masters of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research from UCSF. Dr. Smoot is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association, and the American Association for Anatomy, where she served most recently as chair of the Committee for Early Career Anatomists. Dr. Smoot’s research encompasses management of upper limb impairments related to breast cancer treatments, which has been supported in part by a Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health K12 mentored career award and the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research Magistro Family Foundation Grant. Over the last 13 years, Dr. Smoot has mentored 28 UCSF/SFSU DPT students on her various research projects, and advised as many other students and junior faculty as would listen to her.


Renee Navarro, PharmD, MD

J. Renee Chapman Navarro, PharmD, MD is the Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Outreach. In that capacity, she serves as a campus expert on diversity initiatives and best practices, and leads the effort with the development and execution of a strategic plan for increased diversity, equity and inclusion at UCSF. Besides her efforts at UCSF and in partnership with the UC Office of the President, Dr. Navarro serves as the Chair elect of the Group on Diversity and Inclusion (GDI) from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). In the community, she has served on the San Mateo Commissions on the Status of Women, the San Mateo Commission on Disabilities and was the founding Chair of the Group on Women in Medicine and Science for the Association of American Medical Colleges.