Dr. Cristina Thurston completed her bachelor’s degree with a double major in Exercise Science and Business Management from Florida State University. She then continued on to the University of South Florida (USF) where she earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. While at USF she was the co-director of the student program BRIDGE Healthcare Clinic, a student driven free clinic for uninsured patients living in the University Community of Tampa.
She began her career working in one of the few level 1 trauma centers in the state of Florida. It was here where she developed her passion for treating individuals recovering from spinal cord injuries. She was inspired to pursue residency and was accepted as the sole resident at one of the top 10 nationally ranked rehabilitation hospitals in the country, Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA. Being a part of the only rehabilitation facility in the nation with an intensive care unit and acute medical components on-site, she learned the value of establishing the rehabilitation process early in the continuum of care for individuals affected by both, spinal cord and acquired brain injuries. She utilized this advanced training to achieve the status of a Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy. In her position as a staff member at the Shepherd Center, she worked as part of a team that focused specifically on a multi-disciplinary approach to the management of care for those with acute spinal cord injuries.
After relocating home to south Florida, she joined the teams of several hospital based systems and an outpatient facility specializing in treatment of neurological injuries, NeuroFit 360. She serves as a residency mentor and lecturer for the Jackson-University of Miami Neurological Residency Program. She also co-teaches spinal cord injury recovery courses as part of a physical therapy continuing education course series that provides hands-on training with individuals recovering from real injuries. She takes pride in helping those with life changing events optimize their new normal by challenging the limitations of their diagnoses.