Program Format

Classroom and Lab Instruction

To successfully complete this fellowship, each fellow must complete clinical education and training, including:

  • A minimum of 150 hours of on-site and/or virtual classroom/lab instruction
  • 850 patient care hours
    • 150 hours of 1:1 mentoring, where the fellow will be the primary patient care provider for 75 of the minimum 150 mentoring hours

All fellows are required to attend all of the didactic and lab instructional periods. These instructional periods are provided for the fellows in eight-hour blocks of time. These eight-hour periods include a mix of lectures, discussions, demonstrations, and lab practice periods.

Fellows also receive exposure to, and/or participate in, multidisciplinary settings (e.g., athletic training room, dance screenings, Brazilian jujitsu, fencing, pro volleyball, etc.).

Translating the Science of Pain into Clinical Practice

This course module covers paradigms of pain science, including the fundamentals of the peripheral, the spinal, and subcortical, and cortical processing of noxious and threatening stimuli. Physiological responses such as peripheral sensitization, central sensitization, and cortical changes associated with chronic pain are discussed. Pain memory, biopsychosocial, and associative learning models are discussed and integrated into the clinical treatment of patients. Current pain science topics are integrated with clinical reasoning paradigms and used to assess and rehabilitate people in pain.

Clinical Reasoning

The clinical reasoning processes drive the selection of examination procedures and treatment. Instruction in clinical reasoning is emphasized prior to the evaluation and procedural training. The consistent sequence of instruction for the fellows for every body region is: clinical reasoning principles as applied to that region, movement analysis followed by the safe and appropriate soft tissue mobilization/manipulations; followed by some therapeutic exercise, ergonomic training or movement re-education to prevent recurrence of the patient’s musculoskeletal disorder. Incorporation of pain sciences is included in this section.

Motor Learning and Movement Analysis/Re-ed

This module provides the fellows a common framework for analyzing and observing movement. This includes individualized strategies in the supervised clinical practice/mentoring where the principles of motor learning in physical therapy are applied to patient care. This module builds on the clinical reasoning skills gained during the residency years with instruction/problem-solving discussion on intervention strategies for patients with complex rehabilitation issues.

Movement Links Series

This module is an integration of key movement approaches advocated by Shirley Sahrmann PT, PhD; Vladimir Janda MD, DSc; and Pavel Kolar, PT, PhD

The Movement Impairment Approach, whose originator is Shirley Sahrmann, PT, PhD, provides an overview of the movement impairment concept followed by instruction focusing on specific movement impairments in the spine and upper and lower quarters. This section includes instruction in principles of ergonomics and body proportions and their relationship to movement impairments that limit optimal performance of work, household, and recreational activities.

The functional neuromuscular approach advocated by Vladimir Janda, MD, DSc; Karel Lewit MD, DSc; and Pavel Kolar PT, PhD, explores regional interdependence, i.e. the interaction between the central nervous system and motor system in the production of movement, stability and/or controlled mobility. The predictive value of analyzing posture, gait, and functional movements will be a focus to determine musculoskeletal impairments in the entire kinetic chain. Intervention strategies will focus on sensorimotor training, and neuromuscular and movement reeducation.

Clinical Biomechanics and Special Topics

These module focuses on biomechanics of specific skills related to gait and running, acceleration, deceleration, and overhead throwing as required in athletic and dance performance.

Concussion and Vestibular Rehabilitation

This module provides instruction in differentiation of balance disorders requiring sensorimotor training versus vestibular rehabilitation.

Analysis and Contributions to the Scientific Literature

The fellows also receive instruction in critical analysis and contribution to the scientific literature. The focus of this instruction is driven by one of the goals of this fellowship: i.e., to be contributors of the scientific literature in orthopaedic physical therapy. This instruction and consultation is provided by Annette Karim, PT, PhD, as well as the clinical faculty, who are available throughout the year to serve as consultants for the ongoing clinical trials that the fellows participate in each year. Near the end of the fellow’s year, they report their research activities to physical therapy students, other fellows, and clinical faculty.


Program coursework and clinical training take place at the following locations:

Note: This information is current for the 2022-23 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.

American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education
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