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Melanie O'Connell

Assistant Professor, Physical TherapyDirector of Student Advisement and Engagement

PhD - Health Sciences, Rutgers UniversityMS - Physical Therapy, Ithaca CollegeBS - Clinical Science, Ithaca College


Dr. O’Connell joined the LIU DPT Program in 2020 bringing 20+ years of experience as a physical therapist and clinical educator. She is certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties as a Pediatric Clinical Specialist since 2011, and recertified in 2021. She is actively licensed in NJ and has worked in multiple pediatric environments, including: the neonatal intensive care unit, early intervention program, neonatal follow-up clinic, pediatric critical care, acute care, and outpatient settings. She currently maintains her clinical skills part-time as a physical therapist with the Children's Center Early Intervention Program at the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities. Dr. O’Connell believes strongly in the collaboration of healthcare professionals and families, along with a family-centered, multi-disciplinary approach toward developmental intervention for infants and children. Her clinical work contributed to significant growth of the pediatric rehabilitation department at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ from 1998-2020. Dr. O’Connell’s doctoral dissertation and research interest is in the physical therapy management of infants with congenital muscular torticollis and the knowledge translation of clinical practice guidelines by the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association. She has been instructing student physical therapists in the clinical environment since 2000, and joins the LIU DPT Program to continue educating and enhancing the skills of future physical therapists. Along with teaching, she values her role as the Director of Advisement and Engagement for the LIU DPT Program, assisting students with their professional growth throughout the curriculum. Dr. O’Connell resides in NJ with her husband and three sons. When not working, she enjoys hiking, running, and camping with her family.


Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Pediatric Physical Therapy


Kirker K., O'Connell M., Bradley L., Torres-Panchame R., & Masaracchio M. Manual therapy and exercise for adhesive capsulitis: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy. 2023. Published online ahead of print. 

O’Connell M. (2022). Commentary on “Analysis of spontaneous movements in infants with torticollis.” Pediatric Physical Therapy, 34(1), 22.

O’Connell M. & Bell, S. (2021). Commentary on “Testing the child PROMIS physical activity measurement in youth attending a large community event.” Pediatric Physical Therapy, 33(1), 37.

O’Connell M. (2016). Descriptions of Physical Therapy Management of Infants with Congenital Muscular Torticollis in the United States of America. Doctoral Dissertation, ProQuest LLC.

Literature Search and Abstract Review for: Kaplan S., Coulter C., and Fetters L. (2013). Physical therapy management of congenital muscular torticollis: An evidence based physical therapy practice guideline. Pediatric Physical Therapy, 25(4), 348-394.

Kaplan S. & O’Connell M. (2011). Task analyses identify coat-donning delays in preschoolers in special education. Pediatric Physical Therapy, 23(1), 62-69.

Lectures and Presentations

O’Connell M et al. (2010). For infants with plagiocephaly, is the use of an orthotic device more effective at improving cranial symmetry than an active repositioning program, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Health Related Professions Annual Research Day.

O’Connell M et al. (2009), For infants with congenital muscular torticollis, are there alternative interventions aside from manual stretching that improve range of motion, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Health Related Professions Annual Research Day.