Pabian Named Physical Therapy Dept. Chair and Director

New hire previously served in similar role at Central Florida

By Ryan Clark
CHS Communications Director

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 28, 2022) — While he could never have known it at the time, Patrick Pabian, PT, DPT, PhD, can now say he owes his career to a hurt knee.

The former three-sport high school athlete was sidelined because of the injury, but it resulted in him forming a bond with his physical therapist — and that set him on the road to his professional life.

He became a PT and worked in Orlando. And when teaching a few classes at the University down the road sounded like a fun idea, he stepped into the world of academia.  

Now, after serving as Associate School Director of the School of Kinesiology & Physical Therapy, Division Head & Program Director of the Division of Physical Therapy, and Professor of Physical Therapy — all at the University of Central Florida — he has been named chair and director of the Physical Therapy department in the University of Kentucky’s College of Health Sciences.

“With lots of family in Illinois and Florida, it seemed like we would always meet in the middle — which a lot of the time was Kentucky,” Pabian said. “Now, my family and I will be living here, and we cannot be more excited to be a part of the Commonwealth and this University.”

Pabian will be moving to Lexington with his wife and two children in early August.

A native of Illinois, Pabian is the Division Chair of Physical Therapy at the University of Central Florida and Associate Director of the School of Kinesiology and Physical Therapy. As Division Chair he administrates the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, the UCF-Orlando Health Neurologic Residency, Anatomical Sciences Graduate Certificate, and the UCF Physical Therapy faculty practice.

His PhD in higher education concentrated on contemporary issues in graduate and professional education, with a special focus on interprofessional education and practice. He is a Fellow of the APTA Education Leadership Institute as well as the National Academies of Practice. He is also recognized as a board-certified clinical specialist in both orthopedic physical therapy and sports physical therapy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists.

He said he is looking forward to taking the achievements and prestige of the PT department to an even higher level of accomplishment.

“I was really drawn to the institution and structure, in all facets, from the clinical partnerships with UK HealthCare to the successes of the research enterprise, to the successes and reputation of the faculty,” he said. “All of those are at such a high level, and once I came to realize that these assumptions were correct, I really wanted to jump in to contribute as best I can to helping continue that, as well as find additional ways to advance it even further.”

Pabian said some of his goals will be:

  • to continue to support the research in the department and advance it even further
  • to continue to partner with UK HealthCare
  • to continue to develop interprofessional partnerships with other colleges

“As most of you already know, Dr. Tony English is retiring from our PT department, where he has worked since 2009,” said Scott Lephart, Dean of the College Health Sciences. “And while it is a sad time, we are proud to say that we were able to bring Dr. Pabian into our CHS family. I am excited because of his vision and his plans to take an already wonderful department to even greater heights. Welcome, Dr. Pabian.”

“I had met Tony (English) before, and I was just immediately struck by how genuine he is,” Pabian said. “He has done great things. Those are certainly big shoes to fill, and honestly, I’m not going to fill them. I’m just going to be myself, bring my thoughts and ideas to the table, and contribute as best as possible to future successes of this team.”

“I know that Dr. Pabian will continue to help our College fulfill our mission,” Lephart said. “With his leadership, we will be positioned to enjoy an exciting future as we continue to care for the people of the Commonwealth and beyond.”

CV Attached

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.