Ida Hirst, Physical Therapist and Owner
Ida has a special knack for discovering the source of painful conditions. She has had extensive training in the treatment of head, jaw and neck pain. She is also a certified Lymphedema specialist. Ida has great manual therapy skills... most of her patients think she has magic hands. She enjoys working with the team of highly skilled therapists that have joined her practice, allowing more people to benefit from physical therapy across many age groups and diagnoses.
Dina Stepanek, PT
Dina is a 1988 graduate of Georgia State University, with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy. Having over 28 years of experience as a PT has allowed her to practice in several areas including acute care, home health, neurology, pediatrics, aquatics, and for nearly the last 10 years outpatient/orthopedics. Dina has always enjoyed helping people learn to move without pain and with good quality to accomplish their individual mobility goals, with a particular interest in the running population. She thrives on helping people see their full potential with a whole new level of body awareness and fitness that she pulls largely from her experience/education as a Rehab trained Stott Pilates instructor. She believes that education is key to success and tries to ensure that each patient understands his/her condition and what they can do to make positive changes. When she's not working as a PT or teaching Pilates, you may well find her lap swimming at a local pool, or hiking, biking or running on a nearby trail.
Melissa Giustino, PT
Melissa graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, with a bachelors in Kinesiology and from Fresno State with a Master's in Physical Therapy.
Melissa has developed strong orthopedic and neurological skills and she is effective working with seasoned citizens with gait training and balance and fall issues. She has a strong desire to help people not only feel better but also teaching skills that will make her patients more able and independent. An alumnus of Amador High School, Melissa was competitor on the swim team. She is an active sports woman who enjoys hiking, horseback riding, snowboarding and wake boarding.
Stephen George, PT
Stephen has a unique ability to sense his patients' needs and pain tolerance. He has well developed manual therapy skills and his patients love him. He has consistently produced great results for his patients since joining our organization in 2005.
Caitlin Cooper, MPT
Caitlin's compassion, gentle demeanor and creative approach combined with skillful and precise treatment techniques, brings about great results. Caitlin has a special interest in the use of Pilates in rehabilitation and combines this with hands-on techniques. She also vested in ensuring that her patients learn sometimes simple techniques that can be life changing. Her philosophy is that her patients shouldn't be at the mercy of their pain or diagnosis. People can be empowered to be a cause point over their condition.
Jennifer Freitas, MPT
Jennifer graduated from Samuel Merritt University in Oakland. She has worked in a variety of settings including rehabilitation hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and cardiac rehab. She is currently focusing on aquatic therapy here at Physical Therapy Specialties. Jennifer believes that when patients have pain, it can affect every aspect of their lives. Her goal is to treat the whole patient to decrease pain, to strengthen the body, improve quality of life and to educate on self-management to prevent recurrence. Jennifer is an advocate for wellness and healthy lifestyles. She volunteers at her kid's elementary school, hosting a bimonthly run club, to encourage kids to get active and develop healthy habits from a young age. Jennifer enjoys running, reading, and hanging out with her husband and 3 kids.
Joann Tippett, PT, MSPT, CKTP, CCI
Joann received her undergrad from Ohio State University with an Education and Sports Medicine emphasis and her Master's in Physical Therapy from Arcadia University outside Philadelphia, PA. Joann has practiced for 22 years on the East Coast before moving to the Bay Area 2.5 years ago and combines her education degree with physical therapy to educate as well as actively treat her patients. Joann specializes in orthopedics, sports medicine, manual therapy and taping techniques and believes compassionate listening as well as communication is key to successful care of her patients. As a member of the APTA, Joann uses evidenced- based care as well as current concepts to insure patients receive up-to-date care. Joann is a former competitive race walker and figure skater; currently active in yoga, Pilates and hiking. She is an avid photographer specializing in landscapes, wildlife and architecture.
Michael Petrak, PT
Michael is passionate about helping people to become free of pain, so they can enjoy their daily activities, hobbies and sports. Michael received his Master's Degree in Physical Therapy from California State University, Fresno.
He has extensive experience and knowledge in orthopedics and sport injuries and is a skilled manual therapist. Patients of all ages and with a wide range of conditions seek his advice and expertise to find resolution to their problems.
Kristina Chang, PT
Kristina was born and raised in the Bay Area. She received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from UOP in Stockton. She's a strong believer that pain can be managed or even eliminated through proper education so that patients understand the underlying problems causing their pain/disability and enlightening them in ways so that they can help themselves. She is currently enrolled and furthering her education in a certification program with the Manual Therapy Institute based in San Marcos, TX. She is also active as one of our aquatic therapists.
Jacob de Ocera, PTA
Jacob loves helping people find the underlying sources of their problems and develop strategies to prevent future recurrence. He enjoys working with people of all ages who are overcoming movement difficulties due to orthopedic conditions. Jacob recognizes the importance of working with his patients to set goals they can achieve. He is passionate about aquatic therapy and believes that a combination of aquatic and land therapy can enable a person to return to optimal functioning. During his free time, Jacob enjoys hiking along the coast, running, discovering new restaurants, and anything pertaining to science.