Dr. Cara Whalen, PT, DPT, MPH, CHES is a Program Manager for the Healthcare Access Initiative at the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center (GRC) and is the lead on community health worker initiatives at GRC. She has clinical, community, academic, and research expertise. Dr. Whalen is a licensed pediatric physical therapist for children with developmental disabilities, and is also a Certified Health Education Specialist with expertise in program planning, implementation, evaluation, and community health assessment. She has treated patients in every stage along the continuum of care in the clinic, hospitals, schools, home, and community. She additionally has expertise in workforce development and meeting the health needs of underserved populations in the United States, Rwanda, and Mexico.

Dr. Whalen worked clinically as a physical therapist for several years in a variety of settings locally and abroad. Internationally, she planned and currently manages a community health worker program for the Ubumwe Community Center in Rwanda, to improve access to care for people with disabilities. Most notably, she was hired by Health Volunteers Overseas on a USAID funded grant to develop and teach a continuing education course for pediatric physiotherapists in Rwanda, to improve workforce capacity for children with developmental disabilities in rural Rwanda.

Dr. Whalen was elected as the current Chair of the Nominating Committee for the Health Policy and Administration Section’s Global Health Special Interest Group within the American Physical Therapy Association. She has several peer-reviewed abstract and journal publications, as well as a published training manual for Health Volunteers Overseas.

Dr. Whalen graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Allied Health Professions with a minor in Psychology, a Doctorate of Physical Therapy with a specialization in Global Health, and a Master of Public Health with a specialization in Health Behavior and Health Promotion.