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Physical Therapy Division Orthopedic Clinical Residency Program

The University of Michigan Health System Physical Therapy division through Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation takes pride in offering an orthopedic clinical residency program designed to provide entry level graduates and general physical therapists with advanced training in orthopedics.  This program utilizes a rigorous multi-paradigm orthopedic approach, based on the most current scientific evidences available, with didactic, laboratory and clinical training sessions. The curriculum also aims to prepare the resident for the APTA Orthopedic Clinical Specialist Certification Examination.

The University of Michigan Health System Residency Program is credentialed by the American Physical Therapy Association as a post professional residency program for physical therapists in Orthopedics.

This residency runs up to 18 months, and residents are expected to spend 20 hours each week in residency specific training as well as 20 hours per week in direct patient care. Up to 5 residents are accepted to participate in the program each year. Once accepted, Allied Health Residents are paid a monthly stipend and are eligible for health benefits. 

Curriculum Outline
150 hours of classroom/lab instruction 
240 hours of 1:1 supervision while treating patients
960 hours of clinical practice
68 hours of specialty practice observation

The content of the classroom, lab and clinical reasoning in this program encompass the following areas:

  1. Cervical Spine
  2. Thoracic Spine and Ribs
  3. Lumbar Spine
  4. Sacral Spine and Sacroiliac Joint Complex
  5. Hip Joint
  6. Knee Complex
  7. Foot and Ankle
  8. Shoulder Complex
  9. Surgical Shoulder and Elbow
  10. Elbow, Wrist and Hands
  11. Temporomandibular Joint
  12. Evidence Based Practice 
  13. Pharmacology
  14. Diagnostic Imaging
  15. Post op patient 
  16. Concepts of the Motion Based Assessment Method
  17. Concepts of the Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy Method
  18. Concepts of the Osteopathic Method
  19. Special Lectures on Pregnancy, Interventional Medicine, Conditioning and Exercise, Multidisciplinary Spine Treatment

The applicants will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Academic Education
  2. Clinical Education and Mentoring Experiences
  3. Clinical Experience in Orthopedic Physical Therapy
  4. Personal Vision and Development Plan

Minimal Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Licensure in Physical Therapy by the Michigan Board of Physical Therapy and/or be able to attain a license prior to the initiation of residency.
  2. Comply with the University of Michigan Health System employment Requirements
  3. Membership in the American Physical Therapy Association preferred.

Click here for a pdf of the Orthopedic Clinical Residency Program Brochure

Application and Selection Process

  1. The applicants submit the completed application packet to Laura Fisher PT, DPT, OCS. All applications are due by May 1st for consideration of a start date on the Monday following the Labor Day holiday. The admissions committee reviews the applications. 
  2. The committee selects the top 10 candidates for a face to face interview which may include a mock evaluation of a patient /case study. This determines the applicants’ basic clinical competency in orthopedic physical therapy.
  3. The committee selects up to the top 5 applicants who will be accepted into the program. A waitlist of two other applicants is determined in case of a drop out.   The program will not have greater than 5 applicants at any one time combined for years 1 and 2.
  4. The program director notifies the applicants about the results. The applicant will either: (a) choose to participate in the residency program; or (b) deny participation in the program for that year.
  5. The program director notifies the faculty of the names of the residents accepted into the program. The residents sign and return the Resident Terms and Agreement within fifteen days. Failure to accomplish this without notice to the Residency Committee results in default. The committee notifies waitlisted applicants to join the program. Six is the maximum number of residents per year.
  6. The coordinator notifies unsuccessful applicants for that year. Unsuccessful applicants will still be eligible for re-application for the following year.

Non-Discrimination Policy Notice

The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all persons regardless of race, sex*, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, or Vietnam-era verteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Senior Director for Institutional Equity and Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator, Office for Institutional Equity, 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, 734-763-0235, TTY 734-647-1388.

*Includes discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.

For further questions about the program, requirements, and application procedure, please contact the director of the UMHS Orthopedic Clinical Residency Program: 

Laura Fisher PT, DPT, OCS
Residency Director 
UMHS PM&R Spine Program
325 E. Eisenhower Parkway 
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108 

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