Dr. Ellen Hillegass is a physical therapist with APTA board certification in cardiovascular and pulmonary clinical specialty. She currently holds the position of adjunct professor in the departments of physical therapy at Mercer University in Atlanta and Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC. Ellen is also the president and CEO of Cardiopulmonary Specialists, a private consulting firm that provides consulting and education on cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. Additionally, she is a partner in PT Cardiopulmonary Educators, a web-based education company for entry-level DPT, residency, CCS board preparation, and continuing education. She also presents courses across the country on early mobility. She has been active in the cardiovascular and pulmonary section for many years and is the former Payment and Policy chair for the cardiovascular and pulmonary section. She has represented the cardiovascular and pulmonary issues of physical therapists at the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services along with the APTA on several occasions.
Dr. Hillegass started a clinical residency through Mercer University in conjunction with Piedmont Hospital and works with the residents in the ICUs on a weekly basis. Her first resident was recently awarded their CCS this past February at the APTA CSM meeting in San Antonio, where two former residents presented their research as well (one on walking IABP and one with a poster on early mobility).
Ellen Hillegass is a member of the Board of Directors of the US COPD Coalition, as well as the chair of the COPD Coalition Strategic Planning Committee. She was the chair of the Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee on Venous Thromboembolism for the APTA (published in Physical Therapy journal in Febrary of 2016), and is the past chair of the Oxygen Recommendations Task Force for the APTA. She is a Catherine Worthingham fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association. She is the editor of Essentials in Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy, an entry-level text with its fourth edition published in June 2016, as well as the author of a clinical notes book entitled PT Clinical Notes (formerly Rehab Notes).
Ellen received her entry-level training in physical therapy from the University of Pennsylvania, her Master of Medical Science in Cardiopulmonary Physiology from Emory University, and her doctorate in Exercise Physiology from the University of Georgia. Her dissertation involved muscle morphology in the spinal-cord injured patient.