Sue Wenker, PT, PhD, MS, a faculty associate with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, is a geriatric certified specialist who earned a bachelor of science in physical therapy from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 1991. Wenker also earned a master of science in continuing vocational studies from UW-Madison in 2002, and a doctor of philosophy with a distributive minor in aging, also from UW-Madison, in 2016.

Sue Wenker

Since earning her undergraduate degree, Wenker has had an interest in aging and the older adult. Clinically, she has been a member of interprofessional teams in both community settings and hospital and skilled nursing facilities.

Wenker has studied factors that contribute to or create barriers to working with older adults. She is currently conducting research focused on teaching and learning interventions for physical therapy students regarding dementia and related diseases.

Wenker enjoys teaching with other health care professionals regarding caring for the older adult. Her collaborations have included nursing, pharmacy, and PTA students. The School of Nursing has welcomed Wenker as an active member of the Center for Aging Research and Education, and included her on dissertation committees for nursing students.

Throughout her career, Wenker has worked with diverse groups of people. Currently, she is a member of the UW-Madison Teaching Academy Executive Committee and is actively involved in co-teaching the ILEAP, TA-LEAP, and PFOT programs. She also serves as co-chair of the clinical affiliate advisory group. As a member of the advisory group for the Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, she is involved in program development for the Community of Practice events. 

Nationally, Wenker is a director within the American Physical Therapy Association Academy of Geriatrics, as well as a research liaison for the Cognitive and Mental Health Special Interest group. Wenker's work within the academy includes development of an advanced certification for the CEEAA program and review of educational programming for the annual APTA Combined Sections Meeting.


  • 2017 Annibas, M; Cobey, C, McConkey, A, Wenker, SL. Experiences of First Year Nursing, Physical Therapist, and Physical Therapist Assistant Students in a Collaborative Lab Setting. Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association, Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • 2017 Wenker, SL, Ebben, N, Kleefisch A, Hetzel S, Sesto, M. A Pilot Survey: The Assessment of Aging Factors Instrument (AAFI). Poster Presentation. CSM 2017 San Antonio, Texas
  • 2017 Wenker, SL, Ebben, N, Kleefisch A, Hetzel S, Sesto, M. Factors Contributing to and Militating Against Physical Therapists’ Decisions to Work with Older Adults: A Qualitative Approach. CMS 2017 San Antonio, Texas
  • 2015 Wenker, SL, Cobey, CE, & Steinkamp, LA. Lessons Learned from Preparing First Year DPT student for an Introductory Clinical Experience. Educational Leadership Conference, American Physical Therapy Association, Baltimore, Maryland