Dr. Kim Bell, DPT is a San Diego, California based Doctor of Physical Therapy with a clinical expertise in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation for relief of dizziness, falls, vertigo, and imbalance. After suffering with dizziness and vertigo herself for over 25 years, she has realized how limited the resources are for people with these problems.
She has dedicated her career to developing a comprehensive approach, called “The Bell Method,” for assessing and treating dizziness, vertigo, balance problems, and unexplained falls. Her care is powered by evidence and driven by empathy.
The Bell Method integrates multi-system root cause analysis, advanced knowledge of vestibular rehabilitation, evidence-based geriatric fall prevention strategies, and compassionate communication. She is devoted to resolving the most complex and difficult cases of patients with dizziness, vertigo and imbalance or unexplained repeated falls.
Whether you just woke up with vertigo today or have been suffering for years, Dr. Bell is here for you!
How Dr. Bell Can Help
She sees private patients! Kimberley is in the unique position of having successfully treated herself and fully recovered from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) more than 30 times, which is the most common vestibular cause of vertigo. Her own experience of suffering for years motivated her to study this subject and its root causes in detail. Dr. Bell is now able to live a full, rich and rewarding life, despite occasional experiences of dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance.
“I love meeting people like Dr. Kimberley Bell who are deeply passionate about their work.”
Through 20+ years of study and practice in the field of physical therapy, along with her own experience of healing from vertigo, she has developed “The Bell Method,” which is a unique, detailed, and comprehensive methodology for identifying and eliminating the modifiable causes of vertigo, and managing that which cannot be resolved to live a full and active life. Inspired by her personal experience and the lack of resources she found on her own journey, Dr. Bell became motivated to increase awareness among the general public and healthcare providers in the appropriate care for patients of all ages with dizziness and vertigo in San Diego and the local surrounding areas.
Dr Bell’s Mission
Dr. Kim Bell is a Doctor of Physical Therapy dedicated to making a difference in the lives of individuals suffering with dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance. She and her team provide expert level consultation services and patient care.
Dr. Bell and her team make House Calls! She has anticipated the needs of the patients she serves, so all services are provided in the comfort and privacy of the patient’s home. Her patients do not need to arrange transportation or ride in the car after treatment.
The clear purpose of her work is:
- Rescuing misunderstood and mismanaged patients with dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, and falls
- Teaching, writing, and speaking out on behalf of people with dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, and unexplained repeated falls
- Advocating for public awareness of undiagnosed vestibular problems in older adults with chronic falls and the importance of screening the inner ear for all older adults
- Writing and playing music that generates hope and healing
The Expert’s Expert
Dr. Kimberley Bell earned her Masters and Doctorate degrees in Physical Therapy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. A licensed physical therapist since 2002, Dr. Bell practices in San Diego, California, and specializes in consultation and treatment of patients with dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, incontinence and foot neuropathy as well as unexplained repeated falls. Dr. Bell is a tireless educator, teaching patients, her community, and other healthcare providers about the most current innovative practices in vestibular rehabilitation across the lifespan, and on fall prevention strategies for older adults. She has previously held Adjunct Faculty positions in the Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs at both University of Maryland, Baltimore, and University of St. Augustine, San Diego, and is presently a regular guest lecturer at both San Diego State University’s new DPT program and the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Mesa College in San Diego, California.
In 2007, Dr. Bell successfully completed a competency-based continuing education course at Emory University to earn a Certificate in Vestibular Rehabilitation. In 2010, she was among the first class of physical therapists in the United States to attend the Advanced Vestibular Rehabilitation Course created by the Neurological Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. In 2018, Dr. Bell and her Therapy Team Leader both attended the inaugural International Conference for Vestibular Rehabilitation, which only attracted about 500 advanced practitioners worldwide.
Dr. Bell has now treated or consulted on thousands of cases of patients suffering from dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, or unexplained repeated falls.
She is the expert’s expert – presently serving as an expert level clinician, professional educator, and clinical mentor for physical therapists and other healthcare providers worldwide on vestibular rehabilitation across the lifespan and fall prevention strategies for older adults.
Dr. Bell is a professional member of:
The American Physical Therapy Association, The California Physical Therapy Association, and the Vestibular Disorders Association.
Dr. Bell began screening all her geriatric patients with unexplained repeated falls for vestibular disorders and was stunned to discover undiagnosed vestibular dysfunction in over 90% of all her older patients with chronic falls, even those without complaints of dizziness or vertigo. Additionally, realizing how close she sometimes comes to falling down during her occasional vertigo episodes, Dr. Bell became deeply aware of the stress, neck tension, anxiety, fear of falling and frequent falls that unaddressed vestibular dysfunction could cause in older adults.
Thus, Kim Bell became dedicated to the cause of preventing falls in older adults, who often have undetected BPPV or other undiagnosed vestibular disorders which are contributing to their falls, unknown to them or their doctors. She started advocating for vestibular assessments for all older adults who are having unexplained repeated falls and developed a 60+ hour continuing education and mentorship curriculum to train physical therapists and other healthcare providers in “The Bell Method.”
Dr. Bell and her team now treat patients of all ages with dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, or falls.
In 2008, Dr. Bell took on a volunteer leadership role as the Co-Chair of the San Diego Fall Prevention Task Force to promote best practices in fall prevention for older adults.
She has completed two four-year terms as the Co-Chair of the San Diego Fall Prevention Task Force, which, under her leadership, has grown exponentially in membership and received national awards and recognition for its local impact in implementing a multi-year strategic plan to educate the public on fall prevention and lessen its occurrence.
Dr. Bell was named “Public Health Champion” of 2011 by San Diego County Aging & Independence Services for her work on community-based fall prevention. To learn more about Dr. Bell’s career in Physical Therapy, click here.
Today, Dr. Bell remains the Clinical Leader of local efforts in San Diego County to reduce fall risk and prevent falls for older residents.
Dr. Bell was a National Spokesperson for the 2015 Vestibular Disorders Association Educational Campaign “Balance & Aging – How to Prevent Falls” to raise awareness among healthcare providers about the prevalence and common presentations of vestibular disorders in older adults. In 2015, she published a national NewsBrief on the sharp rise in fall-related deaths in older adults in the United States to raise awareness about this urgent public health issue.
Beginning in 2015, Dr. Bell partnered with the San Diego District of the California Physical Therapy Association and the San Diego Fall Prevention Task Force to co-sponsor her new course, “The Ethics of Fall Prevention.” Together with her co-instructor Kristen Smith, MPH, Dr. Bell was able to reach hundreds of physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students with the evidence-based recommendations for reducing fall risk in older adults by offering this PT CEU course eight times in San Diego County over a two-year period.
In 2019, Dr. Bell partnered with Dr. Beth Sullivan, OTD to co-instruct a new PT-OT course on “Fall Prevention for Older Adults,” which was co-sponsored by the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) and the San Diego District of the California Physical Therapy Association.
In 2016, again in 2018, and for a third time in 2020, Dr. Bell was nominated and elected by her local physical therapy colleagues to serve a two-year term as a Representative of the San Diego District of the California Physical Therapy Association, a Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association.
Dr. Bell’s UCSD Stein Public Lectures have over 500,000+ views!
“Your little part of the world is lucky to have your care and influence for those in need. I am blessed to know you.”