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Meet Our Team

Sandra Stryker


Why Did You Become a Physical Therapist?

Being a physical therapist provides me a unique opportunity to help patients recover from an injury or persistent pain state and get back to life. I consider this opportunity a true gift and take my role as manual therapist, educator, and coach to heart. I strongly believe that evidence-based, compassionate, competent physical therapy care makes a positive impact in my patient’s quality of life.


Education, Training and Certifications



    • Bachelors (BS) in Biology Pennsylvania State University


    • Masters (MPT) in Physical Therapy, Shenandoah University


    • Fellow (FAAOMPT) of American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy, NAIOMT


    • Certified Manual Physical Therapist (CMPT)


    • Certified Orthopedic Manipulative Physical Therapist COMT


    • Publication “Fear-Avoidance Beliefs and Clinical Outcomes for Patients Seeking Outpatient Physical Therapy for Musculoskeletal Pain Conditions”, JOSPT, April 2011


    • Publication “Comparison of work-related fear-avoidance beliefs across different anatomical locations with musculoskeletal pain”, Journal of Pain Research, August 2011


    • Grant Recipient for Chronic Pain Patients with Care Oregon system 2011






    • License # 03887


    • American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)


    • Orthopedics Section of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)


    • Women’s Health Section of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)


    • Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)


    • Oregon Physical Therapy Association (OPTA)




About Me

My younger sister and I were born and raised in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, PA. I grew up playing sports, loving school, and being a huge Steeler and Penn State football fan. I had the privilege to live in Hawaii after graduating from school where I had my first job as a physical therapist. While there, I became a triathlete and one of my greatest accomplishments was completing a half Ironman triathlon. Speaking of Ironman…After completing this ruthless, grueling challenge, I was feeling so proud of myself and reveling in my achievement. A moment later, I turned around to cheer for the next finisher just to realize that it was a 75-year-old athlete! Completion is all that matters, right?


Favorite Food – Chocolate…it should have its own layer in the food pyramid!

Favorite Book/Movie – I am a voracious reader. The best book I’ve read in the last few years was “Let the Great World Spin” by Colum McCann. I love reading the New Yorker and anything by Malcolm Gladwell and Atul Gawande. I often read books that my patients recommend!

Favorite Sport – Hard to say; I love all sports. I enjoy trying new ones all the time. I played competitive basketball and did track and field as a kid.

Favorite Things To Do Outside of Work

I really enjoy spending time with my family and my wonderful friends. I especially enjoy sharing my time with my beautiful daughter, Sophie, my niece and nephew, and my parents. As a family, we really enjoy traveling in Oregon, doing sports and active recreational activities like the Bridge Pedal, playing cards, board games, Kinect and Wii.  I enjoy trying new things and love all the opportunities that Oregon and Portland have to offer which include the active ones, but also wonderful restaurants, art, movies, and coffee!

Erin Courtney


Why Did You Become a Physical Therapist?

My goal has always been to help people achieve their goals. I love the opportunity that physical therapy offers to collaborate with and be an advocate for patients. I love the challenge that each individual case presents and there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a patient successfully through their treatment. Every day offers a new chance for learning and growth as a clinician and each challenge enables me to become a better therapist for my patients.

Education, Training and Certifications

  • Bachelors (B.S) in Physiology, Michigan State University
  • Doctorate (DPT) in Physical Therapy, Wayne State University
  • NAIOMT-certified
  • License# 60540

About Me

I grew up in a small town in northern Michigan with three siblings. Throughout my schooling, I stayed busy with figure skating, marching band, and theatre. I attended physical therapy school in Detroit, Michigan and after graduating made the decision to move to Oregon. I have always loved travel and adventure and was privileged enough to complete my final internship at Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. Lastly, while I am generally a quiet person, I am a really loud hockey fan!

-Favorite Food: Coffee!

-Favorite Book/Movie: East of Eden by John Steinbeck, I collect vintage Steinbeck novels.

-Favorite Sport: Hockey- I grew up watching the Ferris State Bulldogs from the university in my hometown and the Detroit Red Wings.

Favorite Things To Do Outside of Work

I love everything outdoors! I spent six summers working at a girl scout camp in Michigan and have a passion for backpacking, hiking, and canoeing. I especially enjoy learning new skills and volunteering at outdoor education programs. As a college student I started running and have really grown to love the challenge (and the amount of chocolate that running half marathons allows you to consume).

Brandon Little


Why Did You Become a Physical Therapist?

 I grew up with a love of sports, especially hockey and football. I was fascinated with the athletic trainers and physical therapists with whom I have worked to help me get back to the sports I love. I love the biomechanic and scientific approach to physical therapy and I truly enjoy helping people get back to the activities and lifestyle they love. Physical Therapy allows me to meet new and interesting people and help each person reach their individual goals and be an educator for how to live a healthy happier life 




Education, Training and Certifications






      • Bachelor (B.S.) in Health Sciences, Oakland University




      • Doctorate (DPT) in Physical Therapy, University of Pittsburgh









About Me




I grew up in a city South of Detroit, MI with a younger brother. I attended Oakland University for my B.S and then moved to Pittsburgh to obtain my Doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh. Shortly after graduating I married my wife Laura and then we traveled across the country to start our life in the beautiful state of Oregon. I enjoy getting lost in the outdoors, cooking new recipes, and hanging out with my wife and our 4 year old Boxer Charlie.




-Favorite Food: Anything barbecued, coffee, and homemade pizza




-Favorite Books: 1984 (Orwell), Brave New World (Huxley), Paddle Your Own Canoe (Offerman)




-Favorite TV Show: The Office







Favorite Things To Do Outside of Work





-Long walks in the woods 








-Beer tasting 




-Watching College football and hockey




Zeyla Brandt


Why Did You Become a Physical Therapist?

I have known since I was in early grade school that I wanted to work in medicine in some way. I am attracted to the personal contact and mystery-solving aspects of the field. My choice narrowed down over the years to either physical therapy or medicine. By the second year of medical school it became clear to me that I needed to change my course to physical therapy. I need to see someone get better in order to feel satisfied. It would not be enough for me to assume that my patient had improved because I did not see them return to my office!




Education, Training and Certifications

 I have a BSc Phys from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. I was pleased to learn that the American Medical Association rated this facility as one of the top 5 medical schools anywhere in the world, including the USA! I have extensive continuing education credits in orthopedic physical therapy, pelvic health and persistent pain conditions. 




About Me

 I was born in England. My parents, my grandmother and I moved to South Africa just before I started school. After the birth of my son in 1992, we felt that the violence, economic and educational unrest in South Africa had eroded our quality of life to the point that we wanted to leave. We moved to Oregon in 1993 and settled in the Bend area. My son, his dog Rory and I moved to Portland in October 2016. We like the rain (!), and enjoy all the greenery and flowers that the Portland area offers.




Favorite Food: How do I choose? Chocolate, shellfish and almost any fruit would have to vie for top billing on my menu.




Favorite Book: Favorite books are the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien. (The movies did not capture the beauty of Tolkien’s prose for me.) 




Favorite Sport: Scuba. The peace and quiet, and the beauty of the underwater world entrances me. It has allowed me to explore some really lovely parts of our world. 




Favorite Things To Do Outside of Work

 I love spending time with my wonderful son and his dog, Rory. (Her fuzzy little face and enthusiastic welcome could brighten the worst day.) Leigh has the most incredible mind and can show me a different perspective on so many topics. He is the most amazing person I know. I like to read, cook and bake (although recently Leigh has been doing more baking, and boy, he is good at it!) I have developed a love of traveling and exploring the scenery, cultures and architecture of different countries and continents. I am an avid scrap-booker and make greeting cards. 

Charleen Hall

Office Manager

Why Do You Work in Healthcare?

I have always been someone who is instinctively drawn to help and mentor others. I share the same philosophy as our Physical Therapists, I have the desire to make sure all of our patients have a positive experience,  in every aspect of their  interactions with our team, from the first call to set up an appointment, to coming in for the first time, receiving  high quality care, or even dealing with  their insurance companies, and finally completing their journey thru physical therapy to feeling better.  Working at Life’s Work Physical Therapy allows me to impact patient’s lives in a positive way every day.    I feel honored and blessed to be able to be a part of this team.

About Me

I was born in Vancouver, Washington and have lived in the Northwest Region, Washington, Alaska and Oregon, all my life.   I am the youngest of three children and we are all still very close.  I have been married for 10 years (in 2014) to a wonderful man who is also an ordained Pastor.  Together we live on 1.5 acres in Oregon City.  I have been in the healthcare industry since 1991 and I started working with Life’s Work Physical Therapy as the office manager in February of 2014. Prior to that, I was employed for 5 years with one company and 18 years in my last job.  I worked my way up internally and have, basically, held every position in the medical office setting, the exception being the actual provider of service (MD or PT).  I have 1 nephew (my sister’s son) who I claim as my son, a grandnephew and grandniece who are my grandbabies.   I have 2 stepchildren who are both in college in California.  I also have another niece and nephew (my brother’s kids).  I have two Portuguese Water dogs at home, and they are very spoiled and extremely active. Favorite food: Grilled Steak or ribs; Corn on the cob; Mashed potatoes and greens (collard, Kale) = “best meal ever” and of course a diet Coke or Iced tea, then cheesecake (home made) for dessert.

Favorite Things To Do Outside of Work

I sing (sometimes with my husband) in church, at weddings, or other events.    My favorite thing to do is to spend time with family and friends (and my dogs).   I love the Oregon Coast, Lincoln City or Rockaway.   I do like to cook, and try new recipes but I don’t do it enough.   Also, like to go explore (drive & walk) and experience all the beauty around us in the Northwest.


Care Coordinator

Why Do You Work in Healthcare?

I really enjoy working with the clients at Life’s Work. Every patient is a special person! I love getting to see patients at the end of their treatment, healed and on the road to total recovery. It makes it all worth it!

About Me

I’m a formally trained music professor and ethnomusicologist. I most recently taught at the University of Oregon in Eugene (through 2000). I led the University’s Gospel Music program and was a private vocal coach and piano instructor. As a musician and recording artist, I’ve also performed for the Oregon Bach Festival, Hult Center, the Eugene Celebration and local community events. In addition to my work at Life’s Work, I’m also a local spiritual leader/pastor in the Portland area.

Favorite Things To Do Outside of Work

I enjoy traveling, attending music concerts, and writing music and books. I’m currently working on my third book and a fifth music project. I’ve been married for 28 years and love being a mother and grandmother. I love summers in the Northwest (when they finally arrive!), and look forward to the changing of the seasons. I enjoy cooking with loved ones (when I’m able) and visiting the Oregon coast.


Care Coordinator

Why Do You Work in Healthcare?

I work in healthcare because I love helping people become the best version of themselves through therapy, exercise and nutrition. Starting at a very young age, I observed my dad as a chiropractic physician providing excellent chiropractic care and giving sound nutritional advice to his patients. I enjoy getting to know each individual patient, while listening and encouraging them along their healthcare journey.

About Me

I was born and raised in Portland. I went to Colorado State University in Fort Collins and got my degree in Health and Exercise Science. I also played Division I college tennis on a full-ride scholarship. Now I live in Happy Valley with my husband, Chris, and son Isaac, who is three. 

Favorite Things To Do Outside of Work

I love to play tennis, spend time with family and friends, watch movies and go to the beach.

Jennifer Nordgaard

Practice & Community Liaison

Why Do You Work in Healthcare?

As the product of a medical marriage (my dad’s a physician and my mom’s a nurse), I’ve been around medicine and healthcare my whole life. I feel fortunate to be able to combine my love of communications and marketing with my interest in healthcare. I love being able to support healthcare practitioners in their efforts to provide the best possible care for their patients.

About Me

 I was born in Maryland (the third of four kids), and lived in Colorado, Germany and North Dakota (Army brat!) before attending college in Iowa. Following graduate school, I lived in Minneapolis-St. Paul for five years before moving to Portland nearly 20 years ago with my husband. We live in SE Portland with our two sons, Erik and Luke, who are in middle and high school.
Fav Food: Anything my husband makes (and chocolate!)
Fav Book: To Kill a Mockingbird
Fav Movie: Any John Hughes movie from the 80s
Fav Sports Team: Denver Broncos and Portland Trailblazers

Favorite Things To Do Outside of Work

I love spending time with my family, whether we’re hanging out at home playing games or watching TV, or going out to eat, to the movies, to the beach, camping or on road trips. I also love to read (books, magazines, the paper – really anything!) and to go on walks and hikes. Other favorite things include knitting (I’ve been working on a never-ending scarf for years), getting together with friends, going out for dinner, and weekends with my siblings!

Emily Kaemmerlen

Physical Therapist

Why did you become a physical therapist?

I have always been fascinated with movement. Through my passion for dance, I began to realize the possibilities of movement as a tool for healing and empowerment. As a physical therapist, I have the opportunity to help people improve their understanding of their bodies, relieve pain, improve function, and reach their larger life goals. Physical therapy is an ever-growing field that will allow me to continue learning and expanding my skills. I love the daily interactions I get to have with my patients as we work together to reach their goals.










      • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & Dance, Western Oregon University




      • Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies




      • Doctorate in Physical Therapy, Columbia University




      • License #62262






About Me:

I grew up in Tillamook, OR with a younger brother. I spent much of my free time growing up dancing at the local studio, studying ballet, tap, and jazz. I went to Western Oregon University and earned degrees in psychology and dance. From there I lived in Chicago, IL and Olympia, WA before moving to NYC to do a movement studies program at the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. My love of movement led me to work as a movement trainer at a physical therapy office. This job ignited my passion for physical therapy and I returned to school once again to earn a degree in physical therapy at Columbia University. After 11 years in NYC, I’m excited to be living on the west coast again. I love the outdoors, traveling, and hanging out with my 17 year old cat and 4 year old black lab.

Favorite Food: Raspberries, pizza, and coffee

Favorite Books: I love to read and always have a stack of books waiting for me! I fell in love with the Harry Potter series years ago and keep coming back to them as a place of adventure and imagination. 

Favorite Sport: Dancing! 

Favorite Things To Do Outside Work: I love hiking, being outdoors, and kayaking. I love going to cozy coffee shops and good bookstores.