Meet the Board of Directors

Stefanie Bourassa, President

Stefanie Bourassa is a Doctor of physical therapy and the site supervisor for the Center for Musculoskeletal Health at Hartford Hospital, as well as the sports medicine clinical program leader. She works with community members recovering from orthopedic and sports medicine injuries as well as prevention of those injuries by providing physical therapy, movement analysis, research and coordination of holistic care with other disciplines.

Stefanie knows that the physical therapy profession and the association work together towards the mission and vision statements both at the local state chapter level and at the national level.

Stefanie started as a physical therapist in the state of Connecticut in 2007, starting in private practice for 5 years before moving to the outpatient hospital setting in 2012; prior to that she was a student member who attended National Student Conclave.  She became more involved with the Connecticut Chapter in 2015 with appointment to the Board of Directors; initially she started with the programming committee and then public policy committee. Through her growth within the Board, Stefanie has been at the lead of many of the successful changes and growth within the scope of practice and profession in our state level.  The team successfully implemented the change of the make-up of Board of Examiners, defended our stance on dry needling as a modality for physical therapist and physical therapist assistant utilization, and the growth of physical therapy role in the campaign to fight the opioid epidemic. She has participated in the State Payment and Policy Meeting in Washington DC, as well as yearly attends the annual conference. While leading her team, they were recognized within their own institution as well as by colleagues within the American Physical Therapy Association’s Connecticut State Chapter, as team of the year in 2018.  Through her work, she has presented on the national level on orthopedic conditions, but also on the holistic approach to care.  Stefanie has experience with applying for and garnering grants to help support the profession and research.

Stefanie is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist, is recognized as a functional movement specialist and is working towards board certification in sports medicine through the APTA. She has been awarded the Gold Medal Manager Award through Hartford Hospital, being recognized for leadership skills and her ability to coach and mentor others.  She is also a coach and unified partner for the Special Olympics of Connecticut Enfield Stars team for bowling, basketball, and golf, and in the past soccer and softball; also volunteers time with the Enfield High School girl’s soccer team.  She acts as a Clinical Instructor for the PT and PTA schools within the state of Connecticut as well as many other schools within the North East.

Stefanie holds a Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from Russell Sage Colleges in Troy, NY.  She also holds a Masters’ in Science degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Hartford as well as a baccalaureate of science in Health Sciences from the same University. She was a member of the women’s soccer team during her undergraduate studies, and was recognized on the All- American Academic team during her 4 year collegiate career. 


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Joe Grabicki, PT, DPT, Vice President

 Joe Grabicki is Doctor of Physical Therapy and is Site Supervisor for Hartford Healthcare Rehabilitation Network in West Hartford. He leads a multidisciplinary team supporting programs of Spine, Headache, Vestibular, Hand Therapy, and Sports Medicine with his partner ATC’s at local high schools and Universities.

Joe began his lifelong journey in PT after earning his PTA degree in 00’ and worked in various physical therapy settings across the country as a traveler and contractor until 06’.  Although he enjoyed his role as a PTA, he was consistently questioning the “why” which drove him to earn his Doctorate from Loma Linda University with a concentration in Orthopedic  Manual Therapy in 07’. He earned his Orthopedic Clinical Specialist Certification in 09’ and recertified in 19’.  He became a Certified Vestibular Therapist through Emory University and his Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapy certification through Maitland.

Professionally, Joe has been a member of the APTA since becoming a PTA student in 98’ when he was the APTA class representative. He again took on the APTA Rep role while in graduate school allowing him to gain a better perspective of the strength of our professional organization and the importance of active membership.  He has been locally active in the APTA CT since relocating here in 08’ as a consistent member, a four year co-chair of the Orthopedic and Manual Therapy Special Interest group, an alternate delegate, and a member of the public policy committee. 


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Leigh Ronald, Secretary

Leigh Ronald is the Outpatient Rehabilitation Coordinator at The Carolton Chronic and Convalescent Hospital, where she oversees provision of care across outpatient, assisted living facility, long term care, outpatient at home, and wellness service lines. She works with a geriatric and neurologic patient populations. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Community Health Education from the University of Maine at Farmington and Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Sacred Heart University. Her background in community health education has been a springboard for the development of numerous health promotion and community based programs offered through The Carolton. She is a Certified Exercise Expert for the Aging Adult and an LSVT Big Certified Clinician. She serves as the Site Coordinator for Clinical Education at the Carolton and has developed a comprehensive clinical education curriculum utilized for full time experiences, as well as development of integrated clinical experiences throughout the physical therapy curriculum in conjunction with Sacred Heart University. She works intimately with assisted living facilities to implement comprehensive baseline assessments of all residents utilizing a scorecard approach in order to monitor functional changes. Leigh serves as an adjunct faculty member at Sacred Heart University in the Neurological and Medically Complex Semesters. She is a program committee member for the Geriatric SIG, two time presenter at CTAPTA Annual Conference, and a co-leader of an MS Support group in Fairfield, CT.  

Dayle Stark, PT, DPT, OCS, Treasurer

Dayle Stark is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, providing patient care in the outpatient hospital setting for Hartford Healthcare in Storrs, CT. She began as a new graduate in this clinic in 2015 and has been the site supervisor for 5+ years. She is a member of the Sports Medicine SIG within HHC and is active in clinician education, community involvement and research within this group. As a member of the Spine Council through HHC, Dayle contributes to outcome data analysis, forming best practice guidelines, and system-wide education for evidence based spine care. She leads the Pain-Spine SIG within HHC connecting various disciplines and patient care settings in mutual educational opportunities. Dayle received her undergraduate degree from Sacred Heart University in Exercise Science, where she played rugby for 2 years.  Dayle went on to graduate from the University of Connecticut with her DPT in 2015, where she was a Student APTA member, becoming SAPTA president during her second year and publishing work on knee OA and aquatic therapy. She was previously a co-chair for the CT chapter Membership Committee until assuming the role as Treasurer. Dayle feels strongly about progressing the quality of care across the healthcare spectrum during illness and injury and improving awareness of the role physical therapy plays within our communities.

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Chris Petrosino, PT, PhD, Chief Delegate

Chris is the Chair of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences, and Program Director of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, at Sacred Heart University.  He is a PT professor with experience as a University Dean, DPT Program Director, and Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education.  Chris has served patients, students, and faculty for over 30 years as a physical therapist. He has working primarily in education, industrial, orthopedics, and acute care settings. Being a member of the APTA since 1988, he has held various elected leadership positions at the national, chapter, and district levels, including over 10 years as a Delegate to the APTA House of Delegates, APTA Nominating Committee (Chair), Board of Directors in Connecticut (Director), Ohio (Director), and Indiana (Treasurer). He is currently serving as the Chief Delegate for the Connecticut Chapter..

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Shirley Verner, PTA, PTA Caucus Representative


Paul K. Canavan Ph.D., P.T., D.P.T., A.T.,C., C.S.C.S., Director At Large

Currently, Paul is working as a full-time Associate Professor for Eastern Connecticut State University in Connecticut. In the past he has worked as Clinical Specialist/Physical Therapist for UMass Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Department in Worcester, MA. and Clinic Rehabilitation Director at the Center for Sports Medicine at Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA. Paul obtained his Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from the University of Connecticut, and his Bachelors Physical Therapy degree from Quinnipiac College. He received his transitional Doctorate  degree in Physical Therapy at Northeastern University.

He has been a practicing health care professional for over 25 years and is known for his clinical expertise and positive patient outcomes who have a wide range of diagnoses and ages.   His work has been published in many journals including but not limited to, Physical Therapy Journal, The Knee Journal, Journal of Orthopaedic Research, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Annals of Biomedical Engineering, Physical Therapy in Sport and the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. He has presented at the APTA CSM, IPTOP, WCPT and AAPMR conferences held around the USA and the World.  Paul is a consummate learner/advocate/teacher for continued improvement of evidence-based practice to help the clinician and optimally treat the individual person.  He is a strong advocate for the physical therapy profession.

Tenney Georgetti, Director At Large

Diana Veneri, Director at Large


Diana graduated from Quinnipiac College (now University) in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy, from Southern Connecticut State University in 1996 with a master’s degree in Exercise Science and from the University of Hartford in 2007 with a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. She was a Neurology Clinical Specialist certified by the APTA 2008-2018. She has worked primarily in adult neurologic rehabilitation at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare and has been in higher education since 1999. Diana is an associate professor at Sacred Heart University and has been on the CTAPTA Programming Committee at various times. She was an Item Writer 2010-2012 and a Clinical Content Expert 2012-2018 for the Neurology Board Examination, Specialization Academy of Content Experts. She has performed other volunteer work at the national, state and local levels.




Karleen Cordeau, Director at Large

Melissa Boutagy, Director at Large

Rachel Pata, PT, DPT, CCS, CHSE, Director at Large

Rachel Pata serves as a Clinical Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at Quinnipiac University. She received a master's degree in physical therapy from Quinnipiac University in 2003 and a doctorate degree in physical therapy from Simmons College in 2009. She also earned a board certification as a Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Specialist from the APTA in 2014 and a board certification as a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator from SSIH in 2019. She teaches in the content areas of Acute Care/Cardiopulmonary and Anatomy. Additionally, she serves as the Capstone Coordinator for the Department of Physical Therapy and as the Simulation Director for the School of Health Sciences. She continues her clinical practice at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, CT.   She maintains an active research agenda in the content areas of simulation in physical therapy education, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation as well as overtraining in athletes.  She is very enthusiastic about teaching and the profession of Physical Therapy. 

She was appointed to the APTA CT Board in January, 2023 and her term runs through 2024. 

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