Meet the Team

At Optimum Health & Wellness, we understand that each client is unique and we are committed to providing you with customized plans to meet your needs. Our skilled team of Physical Therapists, Dietitians and Personal Trainers are dedicated to working with you and your loved ones to reach your health and wellness goals.

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Physical Therapy Staff

Robert Hodges

PT, DPT

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” - Bruce Lee

I grew up in Chicago, Illinois. For the past 5 years of my career, I worked at a small independent manual based physical therapy clinic in Chicago. I left that position to embark on building a small startup, unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic derailed that endeavor. I was looking to get out of Chicago as the biological crisis worsened around the world when I found Optimum Health and Wellness.

I have been a licensed physical therapist working in an outpatient environment for 7 years. During this time, I have worked with all sorts of patient populations, from the severely disabled trying to get back to some sense of normalcy in their lives, to professional athletes trying to improve their performance. I have taken coursework to become certified in dry needling and spinal manipulation. I am also in the process of earning my diploma of osteopractic from the Spinal Manipulation Institute.

Injuries happen. It’s part of the human experience. Sometimes an injury’s impact is far greater than someone could have imagined. I work daily to assist with helping injuries heal, but more importantly, I help the individual regain the parts of their life that they lost as a consequence of their injury.

I understand that there are usually reasons why injuries happen. My goal is to find the underlying factors that have led to an injury and address those as well. As much as I love them, I always tell my patients that I do not want to see them back on my table and I do everything in my power to make that happen.

The patients I have treated throughout my career know that they are getting my undivided attention to fine detail and expertise that is second to none when they rehab with me. I am uniquely able to lighten the lives of those who are suffering and make rehabilitation an enjoyable experience as opposed to a miserable one. My patients quickly realize that I demand a lot out of them, but in the end, they will always thank me for getting them to exceed their own expectations.

My driving values are integrity, honesty, and attention to detail.

My goal is to not only rehabilitate you in your current state but to maximize your physical performance throughout all aspects of your life. This helps to prevent further injury and ensure you can keep doing the things you love to do.

At the end of the day, Optimum Health and Wellness allows me to be the therapist that I want to be. I am able to have a more meaningful impact on patients working with them one-on-one.

Outside of work, I am a very active person and a lot of my hobbies revolve around being active. I enjoy calisthenic strength training, primal human movement training, cycling, yoga, running, martial arts, kayaking, and hiking. I try to keep my life balanced, so to wind down I enjoy reading, going for walks in nature, and playing video games. I also like to travel and explore new places and ways of life.

Favorite Books:
1. The Autobiography of Malcolm X
2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
3. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Favorite Podcasts
1. The Jimmy Dore Show
2. The Joe Rogan Experience
3. Monday Morning Podcast with Bill Burr

Hannah Donadio

PT, DPT

“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance. The wise man grows it under his feet.” - James Oppenheim

I grew up in Connecticut and received my DPT degree from Quinnipiac University where I ran Division 1 track/field and cross country. For the past four years, I have been a traveling PT in Connecticut, California, Florida, and Alaska, which ultimately brought me to Ketchikan.

As a traveling PT, I was able to witness our healthcare system from many angles and was disheartened by many inefficiencies. I have felt the frustration of my patients being discouraged when they are not being listened to nor receiving good solutions from their doctors. They want more than medications and surgeries and they feel stuck. As a physical therapist, I believe I have a strong role to empower patients to learn how to take accountability for their health and become advocates for themselves in our healthcare system. Together with my patients, I strive to build a culture that values wellness instead of quick fixes to bandage symptoms.

Integrity and compassion are my biggest values. I have a growth mindset and believe we are only limited by the fears that we let drive us.

I have a strong background in manual therapy, including Craniosacral therapy, which I believe is a beautiful compliment to rehabilitation. I have taken coursework in McKenzie Diagnosis and Treatment for the spine. As a former collegiate runner, I have extensively researched running-related injuries and I love working with runners and athletes.

At Optimum Health and Wellness, I enjoy building great patient relationships and learning about what motivates people; no matter if their goals are to hold their grandbaby without pain or to train for a 5k. My patients know that I care for them and that I am just as invested in their journey as they are.

I love the feeling of being part of a team with both my colleagues and my patients, because working together is the best way to grow.

When I am not working, I enjoy running, traveling, hiking/backpacking, adventuring and making memories with friends and family. To recharge, I love yoga, photography, gardening, and cozying up with a good book and a cup of tea.

David N. Costa

PT, DPT

“The harder you work, the luckier you get.” - Anonymous

I grew up in a small farm town named South Wales, NY. Before joining Optimum Health and Wellness, I was working as an outpatient physical therapist in many states and a variety of clinics with diverse patient populations.

I’m a Doctor of Physical Therapy and obtained my degree from D’Youville College in 2011. I have 8 years of traveling experience in outpatient orthopedics, studying a variety of styles and treatment techniques.

A continual problem that I see and work to resolve is a lack of good/appropriate communication. So often, I see people who don’t understand their problem/condition or any of the details that go with it. This leaves them feeling helpless, misinformed, or uneducated.

I’m driven by many values including communication and honesty, efficiency, dependability, open-mindedness, adventurousness, environmentalism, and being educated.

I strive to create the best possible experience and environment for a patient to rehab their condition and to improve their quality of life while promoting self-education to prevent their injury from reoccurring.

At Optimum, I like the ever-present open communication and promotion of a team-oriented environment.

When I’m not working, I enjoy backpacking/hiking, basketball, golf, tennis, hockey, driving my classic car, riding motorcycle/dirt bike, playing board games, videography/photography, fishing, kayaking, playing video games, and fine dining.

Favorite Books:
1. 1984
2. Count of Monte Cristo
3. Brave New World

Kilani Gaston

PT, DPT

I was born in Hawaii into a military family, and have lived in many places including Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and Oregon. And now, Alaska is being added to the list. Prior to my time at Optimum, I was working in Oregon where my focus was on Parkinson’s, pediatrics, and general orthopedic and neurological disorders.

As an undergraduate, working with individuals with disabilities who struggled for daily independence influenced my focus on functional movement. I began working with children in physical fitness and nutrition programs, performed research centered on improving treatment options for those with neurological conditions, and am certified in a program for patients with Parkinson’s.

In life, we often put our pain and injuries on the backburner. We attribute the loss of function to aging or a previous life event and we ignore the purposeful built-in signals of the body. It is so important to focus on impairments that interfere with our quality and enjoyment of life. I want to help people get back to walking, hiking, kayaking, and whatever else they love to do, as well as teach them how to prevent and care for injuries or impairments.

I value a holistic approach when it comes to patient care. I believe strongly in listening to my patient’s concerns in order to develop an individualized treatment plan that helps the patient achieve their goals. I strive to assist my patients in obtaining their optimal functioning capabilities and provide resources for quality and enjoyable living.

One of the reasons I chose Optimum is because of their patient-centered focus. One on one visits for an hour is pretty uncommon in physical therapy, but it provides the patient with the comprehensive care they need without the nuances of time constraints.

When I’m not working, I love hiking, yoga, camping, reading science fiction, playing adventure video games, and eating…lots of eating!

Favorite Authors:
1. Toni Morrison
2. Octavia E. Butler
3. Stephen King

Jennifer Jurewicz

PT, DPT


“The greatest wealth is health.” – Virgil

“Where there is love there is life." – Mahatma Gandhi

“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.”
– Eckart Tolle


I grew up in northeastern Florida in a house on a lake. I played nearly every sport growing up, but horseback riding was my main passion and I competed in Hunter Jumpers from ages 5 to 17. I’ve always been a huge animal lover, and travel with my cute cat Isadora (Izzie for short).

After working in NYC for seven years, I got the itch to travel before settling down. This brought me to Ketchikan, and I’m looking forward to living on this beautiful island.

I specialize in pelvic health, but also evaluate and treat clients with many varied physical ailments. During an evaluation, it is very important to listen closely to find the root of the problem and make sure we are addressing what the client needs. I’m a big proponent of education. If someone understands where their pain is coming from and the course of care, it creates empowerment, leading to more successful outcomes.

I started out treating people with orthopedic issues such as ankle sprains and total knee replacements. I’ve also addressed neurological issues such as MS and Parkinson’s. Over the past four years, I began treating more and more clients with pelvic pain and dysfunction, including but not limited to – urinary incontinence, SI joint pain, diastasis recti, dyspareunia, and vulvodynia. In May of 2019, I became a Certified Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner.

Our industry deals with people in pain; pain which prevents them from doing the things that bring them joy. My main job is to help alleviate that pain and guide my patients back to the activities they love. So, in an indirect way, I am helping people find joy.

I value understanding, honesty, kindness, compassion, work ethic, and a desire/curiosity to grow and learn. I fancy myself a problem solver, and as such, am curious by nature. I always ask what I can best do to serve my patients. Am I looking at the big picture? Am I taking into account not only the body part affected, but the whole body and lifestyle, including nutrition and daily habits as well as motivation?

When I’m not working, I enjoy hiking, socializing with friends over wine or beer, practicing my very, very beginner skills on the guitar, Netflix Parties (watching movies with my friends overseas), weightlifting, reading, cuddling with my cat, sleeping in and sipping coffee very slowly on a lazy Sunday morning, and cooking/hosting large meals for friends.

Favorite Books:
1. All the Light We Cannot See
2. Still Alice
3. Pride and Prejudice

Favorite Podcasts:
1. Getting Curious with JVN
2. Radiolab
3. Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me.

Merri Herbst

PT, DPT, NCS

As a native New Yorker, I grew up wanting to help others with an interest in science. I went to PT school at the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) and started my career at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, focusing on aquatic PT and spinal cord injury rehab. After several years at Baylor, I moved north to Chicago working at Shirley Ryan Ability Lab applying my wide range of passions and expertise in neurological disorders working in outpatient, inpatient and day rehab.

As a board certified neurological clinical specialist, I have taken on more complex cases which have expanded my skill set, understanding, and appreciation for the field of Physical Therapy.

My PT philosophy prioritizes the treatment of the whole patient. This holistic approach emphasizes the importance of working with an interdisciplinary care team and putting the needs and goals of the patient first. My style of treatment is further influenced by my personal values of honesty, trust and compassion - mixed with a good dose of fun!

When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with family, friends and my puppy, Dakota Grace. I also enjoy playing guitar and spending time outdoors, which is what brought me here. I look forward to the new adventures that Ketchikan has to offer.

Emily Rose Ellerbrock

PT, DPT

"We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” - Mahatma Gandhi

I grew up just north of Dayton, Ohio and did all my schooling in Athens, Ohio. I worked at a hospital for a few months so I could save up just enough money to buy a 4WD vehicle, and then I moved out to the wild west. I spent three and a half years working in Reno, Nevada building up my confidence and skills at Premier Physical Therapy & Sports Performance. They were a great company, and my team was amazing! In my free time I got to explore the Sierra Nevada mountain range, float down the Truckee River, and spend time with great people.

I have 4 years of experience as a DPT and enjoy working with vestibular populations as I did a 4-month rotation in a vestibular clinic while in school. My experiences have been very diverse, working in hospitals, urgent care centers, and an outpatient clinic helping to evaluate and treat a variety of diagnoses; orthopedic, neurological, cardiovascular, and autoimmune with patients of all ages.

Many people don’t consider physical therapy as their first choice of treatment. I want to help improve accessibility and awareness to the general public that physical therapy is a viable option for reducing pain and improving function.

At Optimum Health & Wellness, I will be interacting with patients, clients, and staff members in positive ways to promote creative problem solving at personal, professional, and business levels. I want to provide excellent care to patients and build up this wonderful community.

I enjoy working hard and devoting 100% of my attention and energy to the task at hand. My values are authenticity, compassion, perseverance, determination, curiosity, faith, love, friendship, learning, and service. When I’m not working, I enjoy adventuring with my dog, Jameson! Hiking, biking, learning new skills and hobbies, snowboarding, reading, listening to podcasts, watching live performances, making new friends, and taking deep breaths in the great outdoors!

Favorite Books/Podcasts
1. Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens
2. Dare to Lead with Brene Brown (podcast)
3. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man - Emmanuel Acho
4. Harry Potter (4, 1, 3, 5, 2, 6, 7) - J.K. Rowling

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Administrative Staff

Christopher Comstock

Administrative Executive and Diagnostic Technician

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - Jesus Christ

I grew up in Puyallup, WA. Before joining my wife here at Optimum in January of this year, I previously worked in ship building and repair.

Working in a shipyard for the last 10 years, I have gained a wide variety of skills including; leading an electrical team of 10-15 employees, solving day to day electrical production issues, recruiting, interviewing and hiring new employees and I helped to develop a marine curriculum with NCCER as a subject matter expert. My time at the shipyard gave me the confidence to endeavor into a completely new field as an Administrative Executive where I am now certified as a Technician in Musculoskeletal Ultrasound and Nerve Conduction Studies.

I don’t believe people truly understand the depth and breadth of what is available to them with Physical Therapy and it is a goal of mine to help our local and surrounding Communities realize the amount of support that our Clinic’s amazing Staff has to offer.

At Optimum, I see it as my job to support all of our Staff and Clients in any way possible. Whether helping as a Diagnostic Technician, filling in at the front desk, implementing new strategies or cleaning the bathroom, my job is to serve where I am needed. My hope is that everyone I interact with each day feels that they have support.

I love seeing and hearing the way that our Staff encourages and empowers our Clients. The environment here is truly warm and welcoming.

I value dependability, loyalty & commitment.

When I’m not working, I enjoy hiking and traveling with my family, game nights and Seahawks football games.

Favorite Books/Podcasts:
1. The Uncommon Man by Tony Dungi
2. Solid Joys Daily Devotional (podcast)
3. The Book of Joby by Mark J. Ferrari

Michelle Fisher

Administrative Executive

“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”

I grew up in Montana and Idaho. I was a Licensed Massage Therapist for 6 years and a Chiropractor for 10 years. In addition, I was taught Anatomy & Physiology, as well as other classes, at a local college.

I was a Chiropractor for 10 years, in which I owned and ran a busy practice. Unfortunately, due to injuries I am no longer able to practice. Luckily, I can still use my skills of excellent patient care, administration and insurance handling to ensure OHWPT patients get the best Physical Therapy care in Ketchikan!

At OHWPT we strive to educate the community on health and wellness and empower all to take their health into their own hands.

I work behind the scene, as well as directly with patients, to ensure they are getting the best care possible. I make sure everything runs smoothly; from the front desk, their physical therapy, and through the insurance process.

I love the positive and encouraging atmosphere at OHWPT! We all strive to build up one another and remain positive.

The values that drive me are: always striving to do the best in all I do and uplifting those around me in whatever ways I can.

When I’m not working, I like spending time with family and friends, hiking, dancing, and spending time in nature.

Favorite Books/Podcasts
1. The Power of Intention
2. Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling
3. Zero Limits

Stephanie Cain

Client Services Manager

“Your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon Jinn

I grew up in Florida, and prior to Alaska I have lived in South Carolina, South Dakota, and New Mexico because my husband was in the Air Force. I previously worked with a sleep apnea appliance doctor, but am now the Client Services Manager here at Optimum.

I have a lot of past experience in scheduling and administration. I currently hold an Associates in Health Information Management, and I’m in the process of earning my BA in Healthcare Management.

As a member of the Optimum team, I strive to always be available to address any concerns and provide an excellent experience to our clients. I’m excited to work with people that put great emphasis on helping people and promoting good team environments.

Outside of work, I love spending time with my family and dogs, sewing, and doing craft projects.

Favorite Books
1. The Dark Tower by Stephen King
2. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
3. The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon

Celia Rosenberg

Patient Care Coordinator and Marketing Manager

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” - Albert Camus

I grew up in a modern farm conservationist community near the border of Wisconsin and Illinois. For the last 10 years, I've been waiting for the opportunity to relocate to a small community surrounded by nature, focusing on client relations roles while working for a variety of family-owned businesses.

My passion is to be of service to my community and support those within it in their goals. I want to empower everyone to become their highest self; physically, mentally, and spiritually. I would love to see more people take advantage of PT as a preventative measure to help ensure the longevity of their overall health and wellness. I think it’s critical to maintain and optimize our bodies functionality even if and when we feel great.

I am very lucky to work amidst such a passionate, talented, and dedicated group of people here at Optimum. Not only is everyone here dedicated to treating the whole person, but they are also dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the community as a whole.

The values that drive me are: the power of manifestation, self-reflection, loyalty, integrity, and above all else, kindness.

When I’m not working, I love taking my dog to Bugge Beach or Carlanna Lake.

Favorite Books/Podcasts
1. The Time Travelers Wife
2. The Alchemist
3. Confessions of an Economic Hitman

Felix Wong

IT & Building Maintenance Manager

“Until you make your unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” – Carl G. Jung

I grew up in Singapore and worked at the shipyard before venturing on my own as an independent photographer and marine electrical contractor. I have tinkered with computers and technology my whole life, putting my experience into setting up my home server with a decommissioned laptop that now works as my personal cloud server, and many more convenient processes.

Joining the Optimum team as the IT Systems Admin and Building Maintenance Manager, I hope to apply my experience while working with people I am close friends, fostering a healthy work-culture with them.

Outside of work, I enjoy photography, designing and planning builds for hi-fi speakers and listening to music on said speakers, hanging out with my dog, tinkering with my home network, exploring internet-of-things possibilities, and ensuring stage productions and concerts sound good.

Favorite Books/Podcasts
1. The Jordan Harbinger Show (podcast)
2. Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu (podcast)
3. Mastery by Robert Greene

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Support Staff

Nikki Brown

Client Services Specialist / Front Desk

“Embrace the chaos.” - Anonymous

I was born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA. I moved to Ketchikan in early 2020 because I needed a change. I like extremes and Ketchikan felt pretty opposite of Santa Barbara. I am still in awe of all this little town has to offer. You might never get rid of me.

Values that drive me are kindness and human connection. I love being able to connect with people and seeing the drive they have to better themselves drives me to do the same – continually “stoking the fuego.”

At Optimum Health & Wellness, I am one of the two smiling faces you’ll see as you enter the door. My job is to handle the nitty-gritty so that you can get on to the fun stuff. And I love sharing jokes!

My experience varies greatly which means I bring a lot to the table, but the majority of it is customer service based so you can be sure that you are my top priority.

I love how everyone at Optimum – both the staff and the patients – really encourage you to be your best physically, mentally, and emotionally. As someone who has suffered from mental illness most of their life, it is empowering to be around this energy on a daily basis.

Outside of work, I am a creative soul and a lot of my inspiration comes from nature. I love to cook, paint, and get a little messy – inside and outside.

Favorite Books/Podcasts:
1. The Upside of Being Down
2. 99% Invisible (podcast)
3. Cooking Issues (podcast)

Ninette Waisanen

Facilities Technician

I am a Type 2 diabetic. My doctors told me that I needed to watch my blood sugars. I decided it was time to make my health a priority and start getting back in shape as well. I walked through town one day and noticed the 'Optimum' sign. I went in and a wonderful staff member assisted me and got me excited about working out. She answered all my questions about the facility, and I signed up the next day.

I began coming to work out almost every day! I loved the energy of the staff and the members. I joined the team as a Staff Member later that year! I love all that Optimum Health & Wellness is about and all the fabulous people who are members. I plan on staying and being a part of this Wellness Movement as long as possible!

Christi Rhodes-Mestas

Facilities Technician

[Bio coming soon.]