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Institute Presenters

Dr. Janelle Howell

Pronouns: she / her


Dr. Janelle Howell is a doctor of physical therapy, board certified women's health specialist, and founder of V Rehab Services LLC, a global vaginal fitness company that teaches women and people how to overcome sexual pain and bladder dysfunction from the comfort of their own home, so they can claim ownership of a pleasurable and confident life. She completed her doctorate in physical therapy from the University of the Pacific in 2015, finished a residency in Women's Health Physical Therapy in 2019, passed the boards as a Women's Certified Specialist in 2020 and then worked in the Urogynecology Department at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago from 2020 to 2022. In the summer of 2022, she additionally created the first international directory for women of color pelvic floor physical therapists that seeks to provide culturally competent care for people worldwide with complex pelvic floor dysfunction. In September, 2022-she then entered entrepreneurship to focus on helping her online community that she has nurtured to grow to more than 300,000 collectively between both Instagram and Tik Tok where she is affectionately known as the @vaginarehabdoctor. In under 3 years she has grown a community of people worldwide who are in need of open sexual and pelvic education. She now offers remote, specialized and luxury virtual vaginal fitness coaching to those with chronic vaginismus, sexual pain, and vulvodynia. Her ultimate vision is to create a world where women and people no longer suffer and settle with sexual pain but seek out the help they need so they can experience the pleasurable life they desire and deserve.


Dr. Rachel Gelman, PT, DPT

she / her / hers


Dr. Rachel Gelman PT, DPT (she/her/hers) is a clinician, writer and educator. She received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Samuel Merritt University where she completed her clinical internship in pelvic floor rehabilitation. She has a special interest in sexual health and has received a certificate in sexuality counseling from the University of Michigan and is a member of several sexual medicine associations including the International Society of Sexual Medicine and the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health. She is the owner and founder of Pelvic Wellness & Physical Therapy in San Francisco which specializes in treating patients with pelvic pain, bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction. Being in the Bay Area, she developed an interest in how technology could be used to help her patients and has consulted for various companies in the sex tech space. She is also an adjunct instructor at Samuel Merritt University where she teaches the pelvic health curriculum in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.


Dr. Alexandra Milspaw

she / her


Dr. Alexandra Milspaw (she/her) is a licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania, an AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist, and Board Certified Hypnotist. She is the author of Hello Down There: A Guide to Healing Pelvic and Sexual Pain. Dr. Milspaw serves as the National Director of Behavioral Health Services for Pelvic Rehabilitation Medicine, a nationally-known physiatry practice specializing in chronic pelvic pain. Dr. Milspaw serves on the Executive Board of the International Pelvic Pain Society and has been the Director of their Clinical Foundations Training Course since 2018. Dr. Milspaw specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain and sexual health. Her life's work and passion is aimed towards bridging the gap between the medical and psychological worlds, hoping to improve the efficiency and effectiveness in improving the lives of both patient and practitioner. More information can be found at and


Erica N. Thrower, LCSW, CST

she / her


Erica is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and AASECT-certified sex therapist. In her private practice, Erica works with couples and individuals dealing with sexual concerns; she particularly specializes in treating pelvic pain. As a member and spokesperson for the political advocacy group "Tight Lipped," she is passionate about disseminating and improving interventions for pelvic pain, which is especially under-reported and under-addressed among people with vulvas. She is also developing a free, peer-led support group for people with pelvic pain. The goal of this group is to build community, combat cultural stigma, and provide resources to empower people with pelvic pain. Erica’s mission in her work is to foster a society that enables every person to rejoice in their sexuality.


Alex Papale, PT, DPT

they / them


Alex Papale PT, DPT (they/them) is a pelvic health physical therapist, consultant, sex educator and international speaker based in Boston MA. They specialize in queer and trans health, and treating patients of all genders at Flourish Physical Therapy. Alex especially loves to help patients with sexual issues, peripartum care, pelvic floor support with HRT, and healing from gender affirming surgeries. When they’re not in the treatment room, you can find them writing and teaching gender affirming, sex positive, kink-informed courses for current/future healthcare providers, or for anyone who wants to learn more about sexuality, their bodies, and pelvic health.

Marla Renee Stewart, MA

she / her


Marla Renee Stewart, MA (she/her) is a sexologist, author, and sexual strategist who runs her own sexuality education company, Velvet Lips, and is also a Co-Founder of the Sex Down South Conference. She has studied human sexuality for more than 22 years and has given over 1000 workshops all over the world. She also has been featured on a variety of media outlets, including Netflix's Trigger Warning with Killer Mike and Love & HipHop Atlanta. She co-wrote her first book, The Ultimate Guide to Seduction & Foreplay with Dr. Jessica O'Reilly, which debuted in April 2020.