Meet the Breakthrough Intensive Physical Therapy Team
Dr. Erin Garcia, DPT
Erin received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Quinnipiac University and has over 7 years of clinical and research experience in both the inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation settings.
She has a passion for fostering independence and promoting wellness for neurodiverse clients of all ages, and has been trained in neurological, facial, vestibular, and concussion rehabilitation.
She became a NPTE Neurological Certified Specialist as of 2020. While not at Breakthrough, Erin enjoys staying active, going to the beach, a good karaoke sesh, and Bravo TV. She also loves spending time with friends, family, and her puppy, Gus!
Dr. Danielle Garfole, DPT
Danielle completed her undergraduate degree studying Exercise Science at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She moved to Long Island to pursue her graduate degree and graduated from Stony Brook University in 2022 with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Danielle always knew she wanted to work with the pediatric population but became definitive with her decision after working as an aide for an individual who has Cerebral Palsy and completing a clinical rotation at Henry Viscardi School, which is a special education school for individuals with disabilities.
Outside of working at Breakthrough, Danielle enjoys spending time with loved ones, exercising, and doing outdoor and spontaneous activities including hiking, recreational sports, and skydiving!
Dr. Jenna Orlando, DPT
Jenna graduated with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from New York Medical College in 2022, with a prior Bachelors degree in Health Sciences (concentrated in Emergency and Critical Care) from Stony Brook University.
She was exposed to the special needs population early on in life, with a cousin diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, and a mother who works as a school aide for children in life skills and special education classes. Her passion and drive to make her own impact on this community grew with each new exposure; from cheering on her mother’s students at the Special Olympics, to attending UCP holiday functions with a family friend who worked there, and to completing a clinical rotation as a school-based physical therapist in NYC DOE schools.
When not at Breakthrough, Jenna enjoys spending time with family and friends, going to the beach, shopping, trying new restaurants, and weekend getaways (especially to places there will be cows!).
Dr. Kerri Costiera, DPT
Dr. Kerri Costiera graduated from the New York Institute of Technology with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2013 and a Bachelors of Life Sciences in 2011 with honors. Kerri has experience working with developmentally disabled children and young adults for the past 9 years.
She is a clinical instructor for various DPT programs on Long Island and a clinical coordinator for a school based program for children with special needs. Kerri is dedicated and strives to enhance her knowledge by taking continuing education courses which are reflective upon her results with clients. When not in the office, Kerri enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching movies, working out, shopping, traveling and seeing broadway shows.
Karen Messina, MA, PT
Karen graduated in 1988 from Touro College with a masters in Physical Therapy. She began her physical therapy career in 1982 at United Cerebral Palsy, UCP, working as a Physical Therapist Assistant where she was introduced to the world of differently abled children.
Karen's passion to be of service began her lifelong commitment to helping the children and their families navigate this challenging journey. Her understanding of the emotional components of this challenge led her to expand her education to include other holistic approaches such as the Rubenfeld Synergy Method and Myofascial Release.
Karen's experience at UCP also includes running the adaptive equipment clinic and is the clinical liaison. She has vast experience working with other team members, such as OT, Speech, Vision, teachers, aides and administrators, to provide opportunities for each child to achieve greater independence/reach their potential. In her leisure she enjoys spending time at the beach, listening to live music at outdoor venues, relaxing by a fire, spending time with family and friends, and traveling.
Jillian Stockman, PTA
Jillian graduated from Suffolk County Community College with an Associates of Applied Science in 2020. She became a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant the same year. She has worked in outpatient orthopedics and skilled nursing facilities.
She first came to Breakthrough as a Home Health Aide for a client and shortly after receiving her PTA license began working with Breakthrough. Jillian really enjoys getting creative while doing physical therapy and figuring out new ways to get an exercise/task accomplished. Outside of breakthrough Jillian enjoys reading and hanging out with friends and family!
Dr. Christine Astarita, DPT - Founder and CEO
Dr. Christine is the founder of Breakthrough Intensive PT; Long Island’s intensive therapy center focused around the whole family. Throughout her career, Christine has worked with children from the NICU all the way into adulthood and knew there had to be a better way to serve them. So, she’s taken her passion and direction in life to serve the special needs community by offering intensive therapy programs, group fitness programs, parent support and educational programs, as well as sibling support programs to enhance and improve the quality of their lives.
When not working at Breakthrough PT, reading, or researching ways to improve the business, you can find her out with her family hiking the trails or preparing for her next half or full marathon! Christine loves running and believes it to be her method of meditation all while keeping her in shape to eat all of the ice cream and french fries she wants! She believes her true purpose and calling is to help this underserved community in a BIG way.
Michelle Lopez - Client Success Specialist
Michelle graduated from St. Joseph’s College with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Relations. She also completed the Medical Billing & Coding course from Branford Hall. When she’s not at Breakthrough, Michelle loves spending time with her twin girls, Annabelle and Josephine, and her husband, Javy. They love taking walks around the neighborhood, having playdates with friends, and watching Disney movies. Michelle also loves spending time with family and friends and taking solo trips to Target!
Monique D’Anna - Client Success Specialist
Monique graduated in 2018 from Five Towns College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. Since graduating, she has worked in numerous Public Relations/Service roles. Monique has a passion for helping others and using her creativity, no matter what type of role she is in.
Outside of Breakthrough, Monique is an aspiring professional artist, specializing in realism art. She also sings and has a huge passion for music (but struggles with stage fright)! Interior design and fashion are other creative outlets for her as well. But when it comes to unwinding, Monique loves to spend time outside in nature and hangout with her loved ones.
Tai-ling Ises - Clinic Office Manager
Tai graduated from Nassau Community College with a degree in Hotel Management and went on to work for Walt Disney World where she developed enhanced customer service skills and flourished in her abilities to connect with people from all walks of life.
Upon returning to Long Island, she has explored different career opportunities in hospitality and automotive industries but felt that there was a lack of “purpose” in her work; which led her to Breakthrough, where she is eager and excited to help serve the community and do her part to make a difference. In her spare time, you can find Tai on a rollercoaster, enjoying the sunset at the beach or at home creating crazy coffee concoctions and planning her next big trip to a new city!
Here’s Chance, Our Certified Therapy dog! (CTD)
Chance is a 7 year old black lab mix who loves being around people. Don’t be surprised if he asks you for a butt rub, that means he really likes you! Chance loves greeting clients and their families. He even likes to help out by giving kisses when our clients feel nervous or laying right by their side. He’s a great motivator and everyone loves earning him some treats during their sessions!