Edsen Donato knows wellness. As a partner at Riverside Physical Therapy in Grants Pass, Oregon and the founder and owner of Priority Fitness, a personalized gym and fitness center, he has a vast amount of professional experience and expertise. In his personal time, he runs races and hikes mountains. But after 30 years in the physical therapy field, he is ready for the next adventure. “I have always wanted to move into academia,” he said. “I love teaching people how to take care of their bodies, and I am so excited to return to Union College as an assistant professor of health and human performance.”
Donato received his doctorate of science in physical therapy from Loma Linda University, but he attended Union College in the mid-80s as part of his undergraduate degree. He is board certified in orthopedics and hand therapy, and has taught classes as an adjunct professor for the doctor of physical therapy programs at the University of Maryland in Baltimore and Northeastern University in Boston. He has also served as a member of an accreditation committee for the American Physical Therapy Association.
In his free time, Donato likes to explore nature. “I’ve climbed Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the lower 48 United States, 14 times and summited six or seven times,” he said. “I love anything to do with the outdoors. I hike, run, backpack and camp. Staying active is very important to me.”
Donato also plays classical guitar. He and his wife, Wendy, have two daughters, Vienna and Cambria. Vienna is a graphic design major here at Union College and Cambria is a pre-chiropractic major at Southern Adventist University. The family also has a cat named Tomo.
Donato wants his students to have the knowledge they need to live their healthiest lives. He said, “I am passionate about whole-person care and wellness. Preventative medicine such as nutrition and exercise is crucial for people to learn about and apply to their lives.”