Physical therapy professor takes on a new role at SDSU


Courtesy of Michael Rosenthal

by Kayleigh Venne, Contributor

This semester, the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences welcomes Michael Rosenthal to its full-time staff.

Rosenthal is a physical therapist specializing in orthopedics, electrophysiology and sports. He has been teaching part-time in SDSU’s physical therapy program since it began five years ago. Once he retired from the Navy, Rosenthal received the opportunity to become a full-time staff member.

“I wanted to become a physical therapist to spend time helping individuals regain what they had prior to injury,” he said.

Prior to joining San Diego State, Rosenthal trained for over 20 years with the U.S. Navy.  Rosenthal was one of 20 panel members on the Defense Peer Reviewed Orthopedic Research Program. This panel was responsible for reviewing research grant proposals directed toward advancing the science and treatment for individuals, military or non-military, who sustained severe orthopedic injuries.

“I like the enthusiasm that SDSU students have about learning,” Rosenthal said. “They take initiative. A lot of patients need the assistance and expertise that these students could give them.”

Rosenthal teaches three courses, each one in a different semester. He teaches two musculoskeletal therapeutics labs. Although he does not have a favorite course, Rosenthal has been teaching his summer differential diagnosis course the longest.

“The differential diagnosis course is one of the first opportunities for students to piece together all of the information that they have been learning in school and apply it to how they are going to take care of future patients,” Rosenthal said.

One of Rosenthal’s specialties, electrophysiological testing, determines whether or not someone has a nerve injury.

“(It is) a big word that can be made much easier,” Rosenthal said. “If someone has carpal tunnel syndrome, they have pinched nerves in their wrist. (Electrophysiological testing) is done to see if they have a pinched nerve in or around their spine or somewhere in their arm or leg.”

The director of the doctor of physical therapy program, Mitchell Rauh said the program is happy to have Rosenthal as part of the faculty.

“Dr. Rosenthal has been a well-respected physical therapist in both military and sports physical therapy circles,” Rauh said. “His teaching and research background will enhance and add important dimensions to an already strong physical therapy faculty at SDSU.”