Board of Directors

Michael Skurja, Jr.

DPT, ECS (President & Treasurer)

Dr. Skurja is one of three co-founders of Wasatch Educational, and one of the three co-founders of Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP). He has served in numerous at RMUoHP, and currently is the Executive Vice President of Operations.

Dr. Skurja spent 23 years in the U.S. Navy and served as a physical therapist and administrator including position in executive medicine. He was stationed at numerous Naval Hospitals throughout the United States, and he retired from the Navy in 1992 with the rank of Captain. From 1992 to 2005 he had a private practice in San Diego, California specializing in electroneuromyography.

Dr. Skurja graduated with a BS degree in Biological Science from Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado, a Certificate in Physical Therapy from the Mayo Foundation, School of Physical Therapy, Rochester, Minnesota, a MS Degree in Physical Therapy from The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, Provo, Utah. He is board certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties as an Electrophysiologic Clinical Specialist.

Richard P. Nielsen

PT, DHSc, ECS (Vice President & Secretary)

Dr. Nielsen is one of the three co-founders of Wasatch Educational, and one of the three co-founders of Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP). He has served as the founding President of RMUoHP since 1998.

Dr. Nielsen obtained his BS degree in pre-physical therapy from Brigham Young University in 1973 and his BS degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Utah in 1975. He entered the United States Navy serving in various positions over 20 years. During Dr. Nielsen’s last tour of duty, he served as Chief Physical Therapist for the United States Navy and as Physical Therapy Consultant to the Surgeon General, The United States Supreme Court, Congress and White House. Following retirement, Dr. Nielsen co-founded and served as President of the Institute of Clinical Electrophysiology in Provo, Utah where he served until becoming President of Rocky Mountain University of Physical Therapy (the former name of Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions) in 1998. Dr. Nielsen graduated from the University of Washington with an MS degree in Neuro-kinesiology and from the University of St. Augustine in Florida with a Doctorate in Health Sciences with emphasis in Clinical Electrophysiology.

He is concurrently practicing as an electromyographer in Utah and is board certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties as an Electrophysiologic Clinical Specialist and has re-certified three times (1998, 2006, and 2016). He has authored chapters in textbooks and published in peer-reviewed journals in the specialty area of Clinical Electrophysiology. Dr. Nielsen received the 2015 Leader of the Year Award from the American Physical Therapy Association.

Dr. Nielsen and his wife Jodi and their oldest daughter, Kindee, have co-founded two charitable foundations as part of their work in Africa building schools for the under-served children in different African countries. For the past 29 years he has traveled to Africa where he and his teams provide resources for constructing primary and secondary schools. To date, his foundations have built two primary schools in Ghana, two primary schools in Uganda, one primary school in Zambia, three primary schools and one secondary school in Malawi, and ten primary schools and one secondary school in Kenya. His current foundation World of Difference (WoD) (www.makeaworldofdifference.org) in collaboration with Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions is also engaged in providing RMUoHP doctoral and physician assistant students with third-world clinical experiences concurrent with their opportunities of engaging in school construction projects. Dr. and Mrs. Nielsen received the American Red Cross International Hero of the Year Award in 2013 for their work with the children in Africa.

Paul V. Burgon

MBA

Mr. Burgon is currently the Senior Vice President of Mergers & Acquisitions for Steel Partners Holdings, a public holding company, where he runs mergers and acquisitions for Steel Partners and its affiliates and has completed over a dozen transactions with a value of approximately $800 million. From 2010 to 2012, Mr. Burgon was the interim Chief Financial Officer of SWK Holdings Corporation (OTCBB: SWKH), where he helped transform a public investment company into a specialty healthcare finance company. He was the Principal and CFO of NightWatch Capital Advisors LLC, a private investment firm, from 2005 to 2012. Mr. Burgon was a Manager and then Director of Corporate Development for Danaher Corporation (NYSE: DHR) from 1998 to 2005, where he completed approximately 50 transactions with a value of almost $2 billion. Mr. Burgon led corporate development at Fluke Corporation from 1997 to 1998 and worked at Coopers and Lybrand’s Acquisition Advisory Group from 1994 to 1997. Mr. Burgon holds a B.S.B.A. degree (cum laude) in Finance and International Business and an International Executive M.B.A. degree from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.

Mr. Burgon has been a guest lecturer at Georgetown University, American University, and Brigham Young University, and has served on the Georgetown University alumni admissions committee for 15 years. He is an avid skier and cyclist, and is married with three children.

W. James Downs, Jr.

PT, DSc, ECS

Dr. Downs is president of Tidewater Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Associates, P.A., a 16 clinic “Medicare Certified Rehabilitation Agency” covering the Delmarva Peninsula that includes the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Southern Delaware, which he started in 1984. He is also President and Primary Electromyographer at Tidewater Electromyography that he started in 1980 and contracts with Tidewater PT.

After he was graduated from the Medical College of Virginia in 1970, he served 3 years in the U.S. Public Health Service in New Orleans, LA and Washington, DC with a Mentorship in clinical electromyography. He then, 1973-1975, attended the graduate PT program at Emory University where he worked in the Biofeedback Research Lab under the tutelage of John V. Basmajian, MD. Afterward, 1975-1976, he worked as a Research PT in the Kinesiology Research Lab of Mary Pat Murray PT, PhD at Wood VA Center in Milwaukee, WI, while attending graduate school at the Medical College of Wisconsin. After his daughter was born in 1976, he moved his family to their home area and became the Director of PT and hospital Electromyographer at Memorial Hospital in Easton, MD. In 1980 he entered private practice as an Electromyographer and also contracted EMG services with area hospitals. Four years later, he and three associates formed a private PT practice that has continued to expand with a unique ownership opportunity for physical therapists. In 1994, he and an associate also bought an ailing private practice in Burlington, VT that they expanded into a thriving four clinic practice and sold several years later. While continuing to practice full time, he attended RMUoHP, starting in 1999 and was graduated in 2006 with a Doctor of Science degree in Clinical Electrophysiologic Physical Therapy.

He has served in several offices of the Maryland Chapter of APTA, was on the EMG committee of the APTA’s Section on Clinical Electrophysiology for over 10 years, which culminated in having EMG as a recognized service for physical therapists by Medicare and was a member of the Maryland State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners for 8 years (1994-2002). He, with associates, has published in Physical Therapy and the American Journal of Physical Medicine in the field of Kinesiology. He has taught the Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Studies course at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore for over 20 years and has presented nationally at EMG Meetings. He currently resides in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with his wife, Mary Lynn, who he married in 1969.

Louis Osternig

PhD

Dr. Osternig is Professor Emeritus at the University of Oregon. He currently serves as a member of the Rocky Mountain University of Health Profession’s Board of Trustees (BoT), and represents the BoT as a member of the Wasatch Educational, Inc., Board of Directors.

As a sports medicine clinician Dr. Osternig treated and managed traumatic injuries. His early university teaching and research focused on musculoskeletal function before and after injury and surgery, and involved conducting and publishing studies on post-injury/post-surgery adaptations and recovery. Over the past 12 years and currently, he collaborates with University of Oregon colleagues in conducting and publishing research examining the acute and long-term effects of mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) on cognitive and motor functions in university and high school students, as well as studying chronic mTBI in military veterans and adults.

Dr. Osternig has B.S. and M.S. degrees from California State University, Hayward, California and a Ph.D from the University of Oregon, Eugene. He served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Pacific in Stockton, California from 1971-72, Assistant Professor, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon from 1972-77, Associate Professor, University of Oregon from 1977-83 and Professor, University of Oregon from 1983-2006. He is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Oregon. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.

Dr. Osternig is a manuscript reviewer for the Journal of Biomechanics, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Gait and Posture and Journal of Musculoskeletal Research. He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, and a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association, International Society of Biomechanics and American Society of Biomechanics.

Dr. Osternig also serves on the governing boards of the Slocum Research & Education Foundation, Catholic Community Services of Lane County (OR), University of Oregon Institutional Review Board (IRB-Human Subject Research), and University of Oregon Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC-Animal Research).

Awards
-William D. Clancy, MD, Medal for Distinguished Athletic Training Research, National Athletic Training Association, 1998.
-Award for Excellence in Clinical Research, Sacred Heart Medical Center, Eugene, OR 2007.
-Translational Research Award: Longitudinal Recovery of Cognitive and Motor Function in Adolescent Athletes following Concussion and its Impact on Return to Play Decisions. University of Oregon & Sacred Heart Medical Center Foundation, 07/01/10-06/30/11.
10/01/10-09/30/11
-Subcontract: develop gait analysis and cognitive evaluation protocols, and conduct longitudinal post-injury analyses on high school football players who sustained a mTBI.
Department of Veterans Affairs/VA Puget Sound Health Care System (VAPSHCS)
Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence for Limb Loss Prevention and Prosthetic Engineering, 09/01/09-09/30/10.
-Research Award: Biomechanical/Sensory Motor Functions after Concussion; quantifying abnormalities in dynamic motor functions in patients following concussion. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 09/30/02-09/29/07

Rogan Taylor

PT, DPT

Dr. Taylor earned a Bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University. He graduated from the U.S. Army-Baylor University in 1982 with a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy and later graduated with his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in 2007.

He has been practicing physical therapy since 1982, and he is currently the owner of FYZKAL Therapy and Balance Centers in Provo, Utah. His training and experience while working as an Army Physical Therapist afforded him many opportunities to study at advanced continuing education courses and train in renowned medical facilities. His main expertise is the evaluation and treatment of spinal disorders and all orthopedic injuries. He has had the opportunity to work with and treat a wide variety of patients–athletes, children, geriatrics, worker comp, etc. since 1982. He finds great satisfaction and happiness in seeing his patients recover and regain their normal activities. He is ASTYM certified.

Dr. Taylor has a special interest in nutrition and wellness. His other interests include spending time with his family, traveling, skiing, cycling and a love for photography. Dr. Taylor currently serves as a member of the Wasatch Educational Board of Directors and on the Board of Trustees of Rocky Mountain University of Health Profession