Meet the PHRC Team

stephanie

Stephanie Prendergast, MPT
Cofounder
Clinic Director, Los Angeles

grew up in South Jersey. She received her bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from Rutgers University and her master’s in physical therapy at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. For balance, Steph turns to yoga, music, and her affectionate Labrador mix, Carlo. (Carlo is a daily fixture at PHRC Los Angeles). For adventure, she gets her fix from scuba diving and global travel.



elizabeth

Elizabeth Akincilar-Rummer, MSPT
Cofounder
Clinic Director Lexington, MA and Bedford, NH

received her master’s in physical therapy at the University of Miami Medical School. Liz is a Pennsylvania native, but spent most of her professional career in San Francisco. Leading PHRC’s recent expansion to the Boston area, she is happy to be back on the east coast. Liz loves to read, garden, and is an adventurous traveler.



melinda

Melinda Fontaine, DPT
Clinic Director Walnut Creek and Berkeley

is a native of Concord, California. Melinda earned her bachelor’s degree in exercise biology from UC Davis and her doctorate in physical therapy from Simmons College in Boston. When she’s not at PHRC, you’ll find her either dashing around in her running shoes or cooking up delectable meals in her kitchen. She’s famous for her killer baked chimichangas and her inability to stick to a recipe.



Malinda

Malinda Marshall, MPT
Clinic Director, Los Gatos

is originally from Boise, Idaho. Malinda received her undergraduate degree from Dominican University of California in International Management. She attended graduate school for physical therapy at Royal College of Surgeons Ireland. She has been fortunate to travel to some wonderful countries, including Scotland, Egypt, and Brazil. Malinda has always had a flair for adventure and enjoys snow skiing and hiking; however, believes that there is nothing like spending time with family in beautiful California.



rachel

Rachel Gelman, DPT
Clinic Director, San Francisco

is a Bay Area native. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Washington in Seattle and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Samuel Merritt University. Rachel grew up dancing and is excited to have recently returned to the dance studio. Outside of dance, Rachel enjoys going to the gym, discovering new brunch spots and spoiling her adorable niece and nephew.



jandra

Jandra Mueller, DPT
Los Angeles

Is originally from Southern California but has spent the last ten years in Hawaii and Oregon, receiving her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Hawaii and doctorate in Physical Therapy from Pacific University. Jandra has a strong love for the ocean and enjoys surfing and relaxing at the beach but also enjoys staying fit with hiking, yoga, and salsa dancing!



katie

Katie Hunter, DPT
Clinic Director, Westlake Village
Los Angeles

was born and raised in sunny Southern California. She received her Bachelor of Science from Loyola Marymount University studying pre-physical therapy with an interest in rehabilitation for dancers. Katie went on to receive her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Western University of Health Sciences, during which she studied and began specializing in pelvic health physical therapy. She has since been dedicated to caring for the pelvic pain, pre-natal and post-partum populations.

Katie continues to have a passion for dance after a 10-year career as a competitive Irish dancer and enjoys trying new dance and fitness classes. She loves blending her passion for health and fitness with the healing art of physical therapy, specifically to help regain our most essential functions for a happier, healthier life. When she is not working, Katie frequently visits her family in her hometown of Camarillo, CA and enjoys travelling the world with her husband.



shannon

Shannon Pacella, DPT
Lexington

received both her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Simmons College in Boston, MA. Shannon takes an integrative and mindful approach to treatment, focusing on restoring function and reaching each individual’s goals. Shannon is certified in dry needling for pelvic rehab specialists through the International Academy of Orthopedic Medicine. Shannon is a member of the Section on Women’s Health of the American Physical Therapy Association, and a member of the International Pelvic Pain Society. Shannon was born and raised on Cape Cod, where she regularly goes to visit family and relax at the beach. She is a self-proclaimed ‘foodie’ and loves exploring restaurants all around the Boston area.



nicole

Nicole Davis, DPT
San Francisco

received her bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science and her Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is originally from eastern North Carolina but after many visits to SF and Berkeley over the last few years, Nicole is excited to welcome the Bay Area as her new home. During her down time Nicole enjoys traveling, taking up new outdoor activities, and spending time with close family and friends.



sigourney

Sigourney Cross, DPT
Berkeley

grew up just outside Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism followed by her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Hampton University. Having worked across the country and being licensed in six states, she brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to PHRC. Sigourney looks forward to sharing her expertise with patients to help them gain a better quality of life. When not working, she enjoys playing the piano, dancing, trying new restaurants and spending time with family and friends.



natalie

Natalie Christopherson, DPT
San Francisco

was born and raised in Santa Cruz. She received her bachelor’s degree in Spanish language from the University of California, Los Angeles and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of California, San Francisco and San Francisco State University. In her free time she loves hiking, camping, and getting creative with craft projects and new recipes.



julia

Julia Zaitsev, DPT
Berkeley

is originally from Annapolis, Maryland. Julia grew up on the water and loves activities in all of its forms – Sailing, Skating and Snow Skiing. She received her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Maryland and doctorate in Physical Therapy from Chapman University. Julia believes that hard and diligent work, an understanding of one’s self are the keys to successful physical therapy. When she’s not at PHRC you can find her adventuring with her family often chasing after her toddler and dog.



kim

Kim Buonomo, PT DPT
Lexington

was born and raised in Somerville MA. She received her Bachelors Degree in Exercise and Health Science at UMass Boston and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Northeastern University. She emphasizes education as a crucial part of her treatment approach and loves helping her patients understand how to keep themselves well. When outside of work, Kim is an active supporter of her sister’s roller derby team and enjoys spending her free time eating great food and sitting out on her patio with her family and friends.



lis

Lis Thompson, DPT
Berkeley

is a New Jersey native and has spent much of their life living in the northeast, obtaining both their Bachelor’s degree and Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. When not at PHRC Lis enjoys riding their mountain bike on the Bay Area’s finest trails, taking solo backpacking adventures abroad, and cooking up delicious meals for friends and family.



brittany

Brittany Abajelo
Los Gatos

graduated from San Jose State University in May of 2015. While at San Jose State she majored in Nutrition. Brittany enjoys hiking, traveling, shopping, and spending time with her family, especially her Shih-Tzu / Maltese pup, Finn.



kristin

Kristin Leli
Los Angeles

graduated from the University of Southern California and majored in Communication. Kristin originally is from the bay area and loves living in California. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, shopping, being addicted to reality television, and taking walks with her fur babies Piccolo and Valentino.



aeryn

Aeryn Merced
San Francisco

is originally from NYC and attended Edison State College majoring in Business Management. When not teaching Pre & Post natal yoga around the Bay Area, reading 3 books at once or studying yoga, Aeryn enjoys traveling to warm places, camping, drinking coffee, community empowerment, and generally roaming around the Bay.



erika

Erika Toronto
Lexington

Born and raised in the Boston area, Erika graduated from North Shore Community College with an advanced certificate in Aesthetics. She enjoys trying out new recipes, spending time with friends and family (especially at the beach), live music, and snuggling with her Maine Coon cat, Dillon.



melissa

Melissa Chee
San Francisco

graduated from UC Davis with a BS in engineering. When not learning Python coding or leading sound bath meditations for stress management around the Bay Area, Melissa enjoys learning something new, traveling, cooking, hiking, meditating, practicing/teaching Reiki and creating mp3 files with crystal signing bowls for people.