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Physical Therapy Orthopedic Residency Program

A 12-month comprehensive clinical care residency experience that is coordinated through one-on-one patient care rotations primarily at the Durham VA Health Care System outpatient and inpatient setting. Over the course of the program structured rotations are designed to maximize exposure to a broad range of orthopedic diagnoses.

Program Director 
Benjamin Soydan PT, DPT, OCS, CCI

History and Program Overview

Initial inception for a Physical Therapy Residency in Orthopaedics occurred in 2015. With funding provided by the Veteran’s Health Administration’s Office of Academic Affiliations, the Durham VA Health Care System Physical Therapy Orthopaedic Residency was approved and formally developed within 2018. Through a strong academic affiliation with Duke University Medical Center and Campbell University as well as agreement with Womack Army Medical Center, a comprehensive residency experience was developed. The program officially achieved ABPTRFE accreditation in May of 2020. With a strong clinical and didactic foundation, the program is currently is recruiting for the residency year 2021-2022.

SPECIAL NOTE: As a VA facility and health care system, we are proud to have been one of the first health care systems to utilize telehealth models of patient care. We as a facility see this as a very necessary means of care and anticipate continued expansion not only within this year, but intrinsic in future care models. As a residency program, are proud to be on the forefront of telehealth care as an adjunct model of Physical Therapy patient management and have been successfully integrating this into our outpatient care model since the 2020 academic year

Program Mission

Using an integrated health care model and an interdisciplinary team approach, the mission of the Durham Veteran’s Administration Health Care System Physical Therapy Orthopaedics Residency is to develop orthopaedic clinical specialists trained in advanced skill that serve as future leaders in the excellent health care of patients with orthopaedic physical therapy needs.

Program Goals

  • Provide a thorough and high quality multi-dimensional residency experience to the resident.

  • Graduate residents who demonstrate and maintain commitment to pursuit of professional growth and excellence within orthopaedic physical therapy.

  • Ensure residents will achieve and demonstrate proficiency in knowledge and clinical skill required of an advanced orthopaedic clinical specialist.

  • Maintain internal sustainability of the orthopaedic physical therapy residency program at the Durham VA Health Care System.

  • Maintain internal sustainability of the orthopaedic physical therapy residency program at the Durham VA Health Care System.

  • Ensure that program and residents advance the human resource capabilities and systems driving improved performance and outcomes involved in the field of orthopaedic physical therapy.

  • Maintain ABPTRFE Residency Accreditation

Didactic Curriculum

Through comprehensive coursework, one-on-one didactic sessions, clubs, conferences, multiple clinic observation, and grand rounds sessions, the resident will be guided through a robust didactic curriculum. This has been designed to align with the ABPTS Orthopaedic Description of Specialty Practice and ensure adequate material coverage in preparation for the ABPTE Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist Examination.

Mentoring & Faculty

  • The program includes regular weekly opportunities for one-on-one pre-planned mentoring sessions throughout the residency. These are designed to promote advanced patient care with focus on clinical skill and critical reasoning required of an advanced PT practitioner in Orthopaedics.
  • Through agreement with Womack Army Medical Center and Duke University Medical Center, we are able to offer a diverse faculty. Interests and training include Orthopaedics, Geriatrics, Neurology, and Pediatrics, Manual intervention, Chronic Pain management, and Dry Needling.

Clinical Settings

A comprehensive clinical care experience is coordinated through one-on-one patient care rotations primarily at the Durham VA Health Care System outpatient and inpatient setting. Over the course of 12-months, structured rotations are designed to maximize exposure to a broad range of orthopaedic diagnoses. Select observational experiences are integrated at Duke University Medical Center. Through agreement with the DOD, we boast a unique four-week planned experience at Fort Bragg (Womack Army Medical Center) where the resident will be working directly with active military as well as an opportunity to be involved in ongoing unique research projects.

In keeping with the push for direct access care, we currently host specialty PT clinics for urgent care needs as well as well embedment in primary care clinic. The program accesses a myriad of other specialty clinics integrated for observation including amputee clinic, pain clinic, hand clinic and through Duke University Medical Center, Womens Health Clinic.

Academic Experiences

  • With instruction from on-site mentorship, the program integrates Lab and Lectureship involvement opportunities in both Duke University and Campbell University’s DPT program musculoskeletal curriculum.

  • Opportunities to assist in Duke University’s DPT program Cadaveric Dissection Lab are available.

Adjunct Experiences

  • Continuous rotations of Research Project Initiatives at Womack Army Medical Center offer research opportunities off site

  • Specialty Clinic observational opportunities within Orthopaedic, Amputee, Women’s Health, Brace and Clinic as well as select surgical observations.

Clinical Core Faculty

Steve Fairbanks PT, DPT, Board Certified Specialist in Geriatric PT

Adam Gilbertson PT, DPT, Board Certified Specialist in Orthopaedic PT

Tawny Kross PT, DPT, Cert.DN

Shella LoBianco PT

Todd Marquez PT, DPT

Tasala Rufai PT, DPT, Board Certified Specialist in Geriatric PT

Brandon Sheets PT, DPT, Board Certified Specialist in Orthopaedic PT

John Sizemore PT, DPT, Board Certified Specialist in Orthopaedic PT

Benjamin Soydan PT, DPT, Board Certified Specialist in Orthopaedic PT

Womack Army Medical Center Clinical Mentors 

Michael Woody DPT, OCS, Cert. DN

Duke University Faculty: 
Neal Depersia DPT, PCS

Additional Academic and Didactic Faculty

COL (ret) Donald Goss PT, PhD, OCS, ATC

Tiffany Hilton PT, Ph.D.

Caitlin Kucharik OTR/L

Bradley Myers PT, DPT, DSc

Maureen Noh MD

Laura Pietrosimone PT,DPT, PhD

For additional information, please contact:

Benjamin Soydan PT, DPT, OCS, CCI
Program Director
Durham VA Health Care System
508 Fulton Street, Durham NC 27705
Benjamin.soydan@va.gov

Timothy S. Skarada PT
Chief of Physical Therapy
Durham VA Health Care System
508 Fulton Street, Durham NC 27705
timothy.skarada@va.gov

CURRENT RESIDENT SUCCESS RATE

Program Graduation Rate: 100%

ABPTS Board Certification Pass Rate: 100%

How many Residents do you accept?

We accept one Resident into the program each year. Applicants must have USA Citizenship, be proficient in the English language, and have successfully completed a CAPTE accredited Physical Therapy program. Personal interviews are required.

What are the prerequisites for eligibility?

1. Successful graduation from a CAPTE accredited Physical Therapy program
2. Submission of academic transcripts from Physical Therapy training
3. A current Physical Therapy license from any state in the USA. However, residents are encouraged to acquire a North Carolina License from the NC Board of Physical Therapy Examiners. For those recently graduated or anticipating graduation, obtaining license prior to the program start date is preferred
4. Three references, including two references from former Physical Therapy employment or student affiliation clinical instructors
5. A personal essay describing interest in orthopaedics
6. USA citizenship
7. Proficiency in the English language
8. Current professional resume
9. A group interview at Durham VAHCS. Currently the group interview is being conducted by the residency program director, Physical Therapy Department Chief, and 2 faculty mentors.

How do I apply to the program?

All applications are to apply using the Residency and Fellowship Physical Therapy Centralized Application System (RF-PTCAS). All applications received in full (including official transcripts), will be sent to the Durham VA residency program after application closure date. NOTE: You must have completed your application and initiated transcripts to be sent to RF-PTCAS by this date to be considered for the position. You may access the application through the RF-PTCAS website cited here: https://rfptcas.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login

You may contact the program director with any further inquiry at:

Benjamin Soydan PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
Program Director
508 Fulton Street, Durham NC 27705
Benjamin.soydan@va.gov

What is the application deadline?

February 1st

How long is the program?

This is a one year, 366-day temporary appointment. Anticipated start date is the 1st Monday after the 4th of July Holiday.

What will my weekly schedule be?

The tour of duty will be from 8AM to 4:30PM Monday through Friday. Residents will have clinical duties for ~30 hours/week and ~10 hours/week of didactic and individual mentoring.
 
What does mentoring entail?

"Mentoring is a professional relationship where a more experienced mentor guides a less experienced mentee to promote professional growth in a clinical setting. It is not the same as providing clinical instruction to the entry-level Physical Therapy student. It is pre-planned to meet specific educational objectives and facilitate the development of advanced professional behaviors, clinical decision making, proficiency in communications, and consultation skills" (APTA 2012). Our program has a minimum of 150 hours of 1:1 mentoring. However, upwards of 200 hours or more is to be expected including observational opportunities.
 

What clinical experiences should I expect?

• The Durham VA is a tertiary referral hospital and we provide a wide variety of clinical experiences at the Durham VA as well as Duke University Medical Center and Womack Army Medical Center. While clinical rotations allow for experience with both outpatient and inpatient musculoskeletal caseloads, the program is designed to provide a majority experience in the outpatient setting.

• Observational opportunities are planned at Duke University Medical Center. Anticipate multiple half-day experiences to occur throughout the year in both post-operative and pediatric orthopaedic settings.

• Anticipate a four-week clinical rotation at Womack Army Medical Center (Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, NC).

Is housing provided or available near Fort Bragg for this rotatinal component?

• While some may choose to commute daily to and from Fort Bragg, we understand that most may wish to pursue housing accommodations for a short period nearer this rotation site.

• Currently, while housing is not funded by the VA health care system, options for short term accommodations are available immediately off-base and to be pursued on an individual basis.

• In addition to general short term housing resources (VRBO, AIRBNB, HOMEAWAY, etc…),the nine regional North Carolina AHECs provide housing in 50 counties in approximately 70 towns and cities across the state. https://www.ncahec.net/student-services/student-housing/

• Most housing is provided through rented apartments or AHEC-owned homes/condos, but private homeowners, especially in rural areas, are also offered at times.

• Rate is reported up to $25 per night.

• Any health sciences student may apply for NC AHEC housing through an online portal at my.ncahec.net. Each AHEC reviews applications, considering a variety of factors (date of application, length of stay, co-ed status, school affiliation) and notifies the student as soon as possible.

Will I have to study outside of work? 

Anticipate being required to dedicate time for residency purposes outside of tour of duty hours. Resident’s typically have several hours of self-directed study each week outside of the typical work hours. This is often reading and preparation for required professional presentations or other academic requirements.
 
What is the tuition, if any, for this program?

Tuition is required to cover the cost of select didactic materials used within the residency. While this may change due to adjustments in cost of didactic coursework, anticipate a tuition of approximately ~$550-600 for the 2019-2020 residency year.
 
Will I received a stipend?

• Yes. The stipend is determined by the VA Office of Academic Affairs. As of the most current data from the Office of Academic Affiliations, this is currently $45,107.

• Will I be eligible for benefits? Yes. Benefits include health insurance and options for vision and dental insurance. Residents receive ongoing accrual of 4 hours of paid annual leave and 4 hours of sick leave per pay period. In addition, Residents receive 10 paid federal holidays per year including New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving,   and Christmas.

Will I have an opportunity to attend a professional meeting or outside classes?

Residents are encouraged to attend the APTA CSM or NC State PT meeting. While funding to attend professional meetings and/or outside classes is not provided, but authorized absence is available.

When will the program begin?

The Residency Program is scheduled to begin in early July.

Am I able to move the start date?

Unfortunately, start date is non-negotiable as start dates are aligned with funding as well as with our Physical Therapy Geriatric Residency and Occupational Therapy Residency in Mental Health.
 
Will I be prepared to take the Orthopaedic Speciality Exam upon completion of the program?

• Yes. One of our main goals is for all Resident’s completing the program to take the OCS exam and become Certified Specialists in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy. We make every effort to ensure that the clinical experience as well as didactic content parallel that expected of an advanced practitioner in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy as defined by the ABPTS and tested on in the ABPTE Orthopaedic Clinical Specialty Exam. The specialty exam is scheduled annually in March. We encourage residents to apply for the exam the year following their graduation from the residency program. Residents are responsible for all application and testing fees. For more information on application deadlines, testing dates, and costs please see the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialty website (www.abpts.org/home.aspx).

• Residents in good standing will be encouraged to apply for job vacancies within the VA system, but a job is not guaranteed. We will help support Residents during the Spring of the Residency as they search and apply for potential post-graduation employment opportunities.

How do I apply to the program?

All applications are to apply using the Residency and Fellowship Physical Therapy Centralized Application System (RF-PTCAS). All applications received in full (including official transcripts), will be sent to the Durham VA residency program after application closure date. NOTE: You must have completed your application and initiated transcripts to be sent to RF-PTCAS by this date to be considered for the position. You may access the application through the RF-PTCAS website cited here: https://rfptcas.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login 

You may contact the program director with any further inquiry at: 
Benjamin Soydan PT, DPT, OCS, CCI
Program Director
508 Fulton Street, Durham NC 27705 
Benjamin.soydan@va.gov

Will I receive a stipend?

• Yes. The stipend is determined by the VA Office of Academic Affairs. As of the most current data from the Office of Academic Affiliations, this is currently $45,284.

• Will I be eligible for benefits? Yes. Benefits include health insurance and options for vision and dental insurance. Residents receive ongoing accrual of 4 hours of paid annual leave and 4 hours of sick leave per pay period. In addition, Residents receive 11 paid federal holidays per year including New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving,   and Christmas.

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