Jennifer Allen

Jennifer Allen (left) and her business partner, Tonya Bunner, when they won the Blue Cross Blue Shield best-place-to-work award

Jennifer Allen is a Hampshire High School graduate. She was salutatorian of the Class of 1988 and played basketball and volleyball and ran track for the Trojans. Here’s what the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy wrote about her in their April newsletter.

Dr. Jennifer Allen, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, CHT, is not your average clinician.

She is the CEO and cofounder of Bodycentral Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in Tucson, Ariz.

Her passion for teaching is exemplified in being an instructor for many courses, including the Emergency Medical Response for the Athlete by Cogent Steps LLC; Structure and Function Dry Needling; and Hawk Grips.

Dr. Allen is the primary mentor for the sports physical therapy residency program at Bodycentral Physical Therapy, and also works as adjunct faculty member at A.T. Still University in its Doctor of Athletic Training program.

As a previous college softball player, she continues to share her love for sports and injury prevention by being involved in a multitude of community activities and outreach programs outside of the clinic.

Originally from West Virginia, Dr. Allen attended college at West Virginia University School of Medicine for Physical Therapy, and received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at A.T. Still University.

In 2001, Dr. Allen and Dr. Tonya Bunner set out on a mission to elevate care and opened up their practice, Bodycentral Physical Therapy in Arizona.

Over the years their practice has exponentially grown from one 1,500-square-foot facility into 8 facilities across the Tucson area that are equipped and staffed to cover the spectrum of sports medicine and orthopedics.

“It’s unbelievable to me that we have done this well. It’s all about the people that we bring in,” she adds.

Dr. Allen and her team at Bodycentral Physical Therapy have established 2 physical therapy residency programs in sports and women’s health.

“Education has always been at the root of what we do and who we are,” states Dr. Allen. “We find out what it is that makes [the resident] tick. What gets them excited. And we try to build their residency around what they’re most excited about. We’re small enough that we can customize that residency experience.”

From professional contacts in Major League Baseball to local community connections in dance, softball, women’s rugby and soccer, Dr. Allen thrives on the challenge to run a strong residency program and practice without affiliations, hospitals, or big medical centers in the area.

“We’ll partner with anyone to get our residents experience.”

“I’m not afraid to ask anybody for anything. And I think that’s what has gotten us here.”

The future of Bodycentral Physical Therapy looks bright with big plans on the horizon, including the addition of an orthopedic residency program and another large sports center with focus on tactical athletes.

Dr. Allen acknowledges Dr. Tonya Bunner, co-founder of Bodycentral Physical Therapy, and their exceptional team as being instrumental in their success and continued growth.

“Tonya and I are a really strong team together. My strengths are her weaknesses and vice versa. But the other thing is the managerial group we have in line, our residency directors, and our residency coordinator. Without those guys, these things wouldn’t happen. I can dream up a lot of stuff, but if there’s not somebody there to help make it happen, it’s never going to happen.”

Dr. Allen also mentions several individuals who have played an influential role throughout her career. For various reasons, whether via direct professional relationships, mentorship, or inspiration from research, she credits Bob Donatelli, Chris Powers, Irene Davis, Glenn Fleisig, Sherry Werner, Sue Falsone, Tonya Bunner, Richard “Dick” Hillyer and Lynn Snyder-Mackler with shaping her career.

Dr. Allen leaves student physical therapists and early career members with this advice: “Follow your passion number one, definitely, but don’t pigeonhole yourself so much that you don’t learn from our other disciplines out there.”

As a clinician with a diverse clinical background, Dr. Allen challenges us to broaden the horizons when it comes to building your education.

Be a sports physical therapist. Know how to treat the rotator cuff repair of an athlete, but know how to look for related pathology throughout the entire kinetic chain. “Putting that in a nutshell, treat people as a whole.”

Follow Bodycentral PT on Facebook at bodycentral physical therapy sports and wellness center. o 

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