OUR TEAM

PHYSICAL THERAPISTS

Belinda McDonald, PT DPT, Owner

  • Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Evidence in Motion of Health Professions, 2017
  • Pain Specialist Certification from the International Spine and Pain Institute, 2016
  • Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist from the Maitland Orthopedic Physiotherapy Seminars, 2006
  • Physical Therapy Board of California Certification, 2001
  • Further continued education in Manual therapy, Sports rehabilitation and Neurodynamic approach to rehabilitation

With 24 years experience, Belinda was educated in South Africa in an intensive four year Manual Physiotherapy Honors program and having completed an additional year-long fellowship in the Maitland approach, after working for three years, she moved to the USA. Having completed a yearlong fellowship in Orthopedic Manual Therapy while still in South Africa, and have completed an additional certification here in the USA as a Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist. Her focus is in manual technique, and she is trained in the skills needed for direct access to the patient population.

Nicole Jensen, PT DPT

  • Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of St. Augustine, San Marcos, 2011
  • Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise physiology with a minor in nutrition and psychology from California State University Chico, 2008
  • Nicole’s thirst for knowledge continues to drive her to learn and has since continued her education in Maitland mobilizations, nueromobilizations and pain management

Nicole was a certified massage therapist for 5 years before becoming a physical therapist which enhanced her ability to feel the differences in tissue sensitivity. Her passion is to teach others the tools they need to maintain balance throughout their active healthy life styles. Nicole’s personal experience with tearing her ACL has allowed her to truly understand the medical and rehabilitation process making her more empathetic and eager to help others overcome their injuries. In her free time she enjoys ballroom dancing, Pilates and spending time with her husband and daughter.

Michelle Fischer, PT DPT

  • Doctorate of Physical Therapy, Chapman University, 2012
  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesio-therapy and a minor in psychology from Long Beach State, 2008
  • Trained in an eclectic blend of manual therapy techniques to perform biomechanic, neurodynamic, and musculoskeletal rehabilitation looking at the whole kinetic chain

Michelle furthers her knowledge with continued education courses and is trained in using evidence based practice to bring the latest research to assist in individualized patient care. Michelle enjoys running at the beach, hiking, snowboarding, camping, and spending quality time with her family on the weekends.

Magdalena Pongratz, PT

  • Post professional Doctorate of Physical Therapy, Loma Linda University, 2020
  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Therapy, University of Applied Sciences Vienna (Austria), 2015
  • Experience working in with people of all ages in a neurological rehabilitation hospital

 

Growing up in a family of athletes in Austria, Magdalena knew at an early age that it was her desire to work in the health care field to help heal others. She received her Bachelors Degree of Science in Physical Therapy and then began her journey gaining international healthcare experience. She lived in the Northeast USA providing care to a family with special needs children before moving onto her next adventure working for the Women’s National Soccer Team of Bahrain. It had always been an aspiration of hers to learn more about the Physical Therapy world and expand her abilities so in 2018 Magdalena moved to California to pursue her Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy. Magdalena has the ability to empathize and sensitively relate to her patient’s situations, which helps her choose the best individually tailored treatment. During her off time she likes spending time outdoors in a quiet environment to unwind.

Malini Thadani, MSPT, COMT

  • Physical Therapy Board of California Certification 2000
  • Physical Therapy Board of Michigan Certification 2015
  • Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist from the Maitland Orthopedic Physiotherapy Seminars, 2003
  • Masters of Science Physical Therapy, Arcadia University, Glenside, PA 1997
  • Bachelors of Arts Biochemistry, Mills College, Oakland, CA 1994
  • Continuing Education: Advanced Manual Therapy, Sports Therapy, Concussion Management, Kinesio taping (Rock Tape)
  • Mindful Based Stress Reduction – MBSR 1- UC San Diego – March 2020
  • Certified Mindset Coach (in progress) from Positive Performance Coach

Malini has been a physical therapist since 2000 and obtained her certification as an orthopedic manual therapist in 2003. Her primary experience was working as a manual therapist with the orthopedic and sports population in an outpatient clinic in the Bay Area until 2012. Prior to relocating to Carlsbad in 2020, Malini and her family lived in Canada and then Michigan. Malini is excited to return to patient care and join the family of talented therapists at Signature Physical Therapy. Her compassionate and empathetic approach helps her create a unique connection with her patients. She enjoys treating the complete person and strongly believes in educating, empowering and partnering with her patients to get the best outcome. Malini loves to learn and is always striving to upgrade her skills through evidence based continued education and learning from others – helping her grow both as a therapist and as an individual. Though she misses living in the Midwest, she is enjoying her new coastal lifestyle and is enjoying the beach and is looking forward to learning pickle ball.

Melissa Guttuso, PT DPT

 

  • Bachelors of Science in Exercise and Wellness from Arizona State University, 2017
  • Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Midwestern University, 2020
  • Mission trip to Guatemala with Hearts in Motion and PT school to provide PT to residents

 

Melissa knew from a young age that she wanted to work in a field where she could work with and help people. She found her passion for physical therapy with the desire to help people get back to participating in activities they enjoy throughout all stages of life. In her free time, Melissa enjoys walking at the beach, tennis, stand up paddle boarding, and spending time with friends and family.

Alex M.

Alex is responsible for administrative duty management, front office staffing, patient scheduling, and medical billing. She has an Associate’s degree in Health Sciences, and an Occupational Certificate for Medical Billing and Coding. Her interest in the medical field was sparked when she began working with a student permit at the age of 14, she was inspired to further her knowledge and studied a variety of healthcare courses in college. Alex joined with Signature Physical Therapy in late May of 2010 and started working at the front desk, she immediately rooted herself in the hearts of the owners and patients. As our practice grew she grew with us-her natural leadership skills, unparalleled compassion, and medical training were catalysts for her moving into the Office Manager position she now conquers.

Alyssa D.

Alyssa joined our team in November of 2020 as a front office administrator- responsible for day to day office administrative duties, patient scheduling and our pilates schedule. She is a graduate of Texas State University with a degree in Business Management and a minor in Mass Communications & Fashion Merchandising. She is a Texas native but has been a California resident for 4 years. Alyssa is passionate about making patients feel cared for the moment they step through the door. She enjoys her time off, soaking up the sun with her two dogs and husband.

Hanna M

Hanna joined our team in April 2021. She has worked in medical front office/costumer service relations for over seven years. She graduated in Southern California with a license in Esthetics from The Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, with an emphasis in medical skin care. Her experience and love for working with people led her to settle in very quickly in our front office and as our Laser technician.  In her free time, she enjoys exploring new coffee shops and road tripping to visit her family.