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Physical Therapy Geriatric Residency Program

The mission of the Physical Therapy Geriatric Residency Program is to create and sustain a culture of continuous learning and professional development through advanced evidence-based education and interprofessional collaboration in geriatrics, thereby elevating standards of excellence to optimally serve our nation’s Veterans and community at large.

Our Mission & Vision:

Our purpose is to provide advanced education and training to assist physical therapists in becoming specialists in examining, diagnosing and treating a variety of geriatric issues in a complicated patient population in order to provide exceptional health care to improve their health and well-being.  


Providing advanced evidence-based education to develop geriatric physical therapy clinical specialists in geriatric patient/client management, evidence-based practice, critical inquiry, and teaching skills to provide quality care to our Nation’s Veterans.  The program will demonstrate continuous improvement and implement strategic initiatives and tactics maintaining a robust, post professional education experience.

About the program

  • Residents treat a geriatric patient caseload about 32-36 hours per week - rotating through different areas of practice including acute,  subacute/rehab care (Community Living Center) outpatient, and home health.
  • Residents are also involved in 1:1 mentoring sessions with expert clinicians approximately 4 hours per week and didactic coursework/specialty observation 4 hours per week.
  • Residents who successfully complete the program are eligible to apply to sit for the Geriatric Clinical Specialty (GCS) exam.


  • Annual base salary is $52,251
  • Health benefits 
  • Accrue 4 hours of sick and 4 hours of annual (vacation) leave every 2 week pay period
  • Eleven paid federal holidays
  • Liability coverage and protection under Federal Tort Claims Act
  • Uniform (scrubs) provided by VA Central Iowa Health Care System
  • Medical library access
  • MedBridge membership during residency
  • Cost of virtual Credentialed Clinical Instructor course through the APTA
  • CSM registration and federal travel expenses


  • Provide evidence-based patient care as described in the Geriatric Description of Residency Practice to support the VHA mission of providing exceptional health care.  
  • Demonstrate the ability to teach and encourage physical therapy interns as well as fellow colleagues to provide evidence-based care in geriatrics.
  • Demonstrate the ability to educate family members/caregivers and other members of the healthcare team on topics specific to geriatric specialty care.  
  • Demonstrate accurate performance of all elements of the patient management model (examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention and outcomes) in a variety of practice settings related to advanced geriatric physical therapy practice.
  • Demonstrate the ability to teach outside of the VACIHCS on a topic related to Geriatric physical therapy.  


This program will not have additional application or tuition fees, although the RF-PTCAS process does have its own fee. VA Central Iowa Health Care System provides tuition support for didactic programming. 

Program structure

We plan to start with one temporary residency position this year. Evidence of an interest in geriatric physical therapy is desirable, although we don't require any specific continuing education course work or specific clinical and/or didactic learning experiences to apply.

How to apply

Who can apply

• Residents are employed by the VA Central Iowa Health Care System; therefore applicants need to be U.S. citizens.*
• Licensed physical therapists; you will need to be licensed to practice in Iowa by the start of the residency program.
• Physical therapy students; you must be on track to graduate by May of the academic year you will start the residency program (in July).
We prefer that incoming residents have passed the licensure exam on the April test date, although registration for the July test date is acceptable. Failure to pass the licensure exam will result in termination of the residency.

Application process

Applicants are encouraged to submit applications by COB June 29, 2024. To be considered for the residency, please submit the following items:
1. Letter of interest (no more than 1 page in length) that describes: 
• Prior training or exposure to geriatric physical therapy practice. 
• Motivation to pursue a residency in geriatric physical therapy.
• Future plans as they relate to the practice of geriatric physical therapy.
2. Current curriculum vitae (CV) or resume
3. Graduate transcripts (unofficial transcripts are acceptable at the time of application. If you are offered an interview, official transcripts will be required at that time).
4. Three letters of reference from individuals familiar with your clinical work.

Applications must be submitted electronically to mailto:  with the subject “LAST NAME-Geriatric Residency Application”. Please attempt to send all documents as attachments in the fewest number of emails possible.

Prior to submitting an application, please check the  checklist to determine if you are eligible to apply to our program.
*Health Professions Trainees (HPTs) are appointed temporary employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs. As such, HPTs are subject to laws, policies and guidelines posted for VA staff members. There are infrequent times in which this guidance can change during a training year which may create new requirements or responsibilities for HPTs. If employment requirements change during the course of a training year, HPTs will be notified of the change and impact as soon as possible and options provided. The VA Training Director for your profession will provide you with information you need to understand the requirement and reasons for the requirement in a timely manner.


Q. Will I be able to work part-time, perhaps picking up some weekends?
A. Given the busy schedule and heavy load of teaching, didactic and research expectations, it is unlikely that you will feel you have the time to work outside of the residency program.

Q. How many hours does the resident treat patient at the VA Central Iowa Health Care System?
A. Residents are contracted to provide 40 hours a week. Workdays tend to be Monday through Friday.

Q. How often does the resident receive 1:1 mentoring?  
A. Mentoring sessions are scheduled weekly, with topics to be determined by the resident and mentors depending on the resident’s interests, needs, previous experiences and opportunities available.


Jennifer Lundberg, PT
Residency Program Director
VA Central Iowa Health Care System
3600 30th Street
Des Moines, Iowa  50310

Mark Hayden, PT
Physical Therapy Supervisor
VA Central Iowa Health Care System
3600 30th Street
Des Moines, Iowa  50310
Phone: tel: