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Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program

The VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program is designed to offer licensed physical therapists an opportunity to advance their knowledge and skills in the area of orthopaedic specialty practice.

This clinical training will help prepare the resident for Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) certification through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) upon completion of the program, which is  accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association.

Residents are employed full-time by the VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System for the year-long program and thus must be U.S. citizens. Clinical training consists of managing a caseload of patients with orthopaedic involvement, mentoring sessions with highly experienced clinical staff (minimum 5 hours/week), as well as a didactic curriculum component (minimum 4 hours/week). Clinical training opportunities exist within Outpatient, Inpatient rehabilitation, Amputee, Spinal Cord, Traumatic brain injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic pain and acute care clinics. Residents will also have opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary patient rounds, journal clubs, staff in-service presentations, research projects, mentoring doctoral students, assisting in orthopaedic labs at the University of Colorado, and observing surgeries.

Program outcomes

100% program graduation rate

100% ABPTS OCS pass rate on the first attempt

 

Mission statement

The VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System’s Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program is dedicated to provide academic and clinical education that is required to produce advanced practitioners in the field of orthopaedic physical therapy. Graduates of the residency will contribute to the profession through advanced clinical practice, clinical research, and teaching which will all benefit the local community.

Program goals and objectives

1. To support the mission and core values of the VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System, to improve the quality of care to veterans served by advanced practitioners.

  • The program will provide training in evidence-based specialty content for a veteran population of all ages to improve physical function and quality of life.
  • Resident productivity will meet clinic standards.
  • Residents will provide high quality of care to our veteran population

2. Provide learning opportunities through clinical modules to improve resident’s knowledge and skill in orthopaedic specialty content and to develop clinical reasoning and evidence based practice.

  • Provide learning experiences in 2 modules which encompasses all practice settings required by the Orthopaedic Description of Residency Practice. Module 1 inpatient, Module 2 Outpatient.
  • Provide learning experiences in all primary health conditions required by the Orthopaedic Description of Residency Practice.
  • Resident will achieve at least a 70% score on the live patient examinations.

3. The Physical Therapy Orthopaedic Residency Program will achieve and maintain accreditation through the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE).

  • Annual reports will be completed and submitted by deadline and will demonstrate compliance with residency quality standards
  • Residency Advisory Committee meets at least quarterly to review didactic, mentoring, and clinical experiences making improvements as needed.
  • Achieve reaccreditation every application cycle.

4. Provide a curriculum in an orthopaedic specialty that includes advanced practice concepts.

  • Provide curriculum and training that addresses all components of the Orthopaedic Description of Residency Practice in an evidence-based orthopaedic specialty content.
  • Provide a minimum of 300 educational hours per quality standards.
  • Graduates will successfully pass the Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist Certification Examination administered by ABPTS.

5. Graduate residents will contribute to the profession through advanced clinical practice, clinical research, teaching/mentoring, and service.

  • Graduate residents will be competent mentors and provide teaching and/or mentorship to doctoral students, post-professional residents, and/or post-professional therapist.
  • Graduate residents will be consulted as orthopaedic physical therapy subject matter experts and offer exceptional patient management and care representative of an advance clinician.

6. Program is sustainable

  • Attract qualified applicants with orthopaedic experience who demonstrate a passion for the orthopaedic specialty.
  • Maintain adequate size faculty of orthopaedic clinical experts for mentoring and didactic instruction.
  • Provide graduate residents opportunities to stay within the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide high quality care to our veteran population and opportunities to mentor in orthopaedic residency programs.
  • Apply and receive resident stipend(s) from the Office of Academic Affiliations.

Our curriculum addresses all components of the Orthopaedic Description of Residency Practice which includes a blend of didactic learning activities, online resources, clinical mentoring, and laboratory practical work. The didactic portion is split into 4 major components; APTA Orthopaedic Residency Curriculum, lectures developed on all body regions, manual therapy evaluation and treatment technique manual, and lectures developed from Sahrmann’s Movement System Impairment Syndromes. The didactic portion described in more detail consists of:

  1. Frontiers in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy
  2. Pharmacology
  3. Clinical Imaging
  4. Postoperative management of orthopaedic surgeries including the foot and ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, and elbow.
  5. Current concepts of orthopaedic physical therapy pertaining to all body regions.
  6. Manual therapy evaluation and treatment techniques for all body regions.
  7. Sahrmann’s Movement System Impairment Syndromes for all body regions.
  8. Other specialized treatment techniques and paradigms to include Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment (McKenzie), Kinematic Taping, Dry Needling, etc.

Clinical mentoring will occur weekly with faculty in each of the clinical practice settings which include but are not limited to inpatient care, inpatient rehabilitation, and outpatient services. Didactic learning will occur weekly with faculty including lectures, labs, and discussion. It is estimated that approximately 30 hours a week will be dedicated to direct patient care with the remaining 10 hours available for educational experiences including mentoring (five hours) and didactic learning from faculty (4 hours), independent study (two hours), surgery observation, journal clubs, research projects, and mentoring of doctoral physical therapy students.

Admission requirements

  • U.S. citizen
  • Applicant must have a degree from CAPTE accredited program
  • Successful/satisfactorily completed National Physical Therapy Examination
  • Applicant must obtain PT license prior to beginning the program (may be obtained from any state)

Application procedures

To view our program, pleaase visit our profile on ABPTRFE website. If you have or will meet requirements prior to residency start date you may apply using the APTA Residency/Fellowship Physical Therapist Centralized Application Services (RF-PTCAS).

Should you have any other questions please contact Jeffrey Youngberg at jeffrey.youngberg@va.gov

PT Residency Program director

Dr. Jeffrey Youngberg, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT

Youngberg received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from the University at Buffalo in 2004. He achieved his Orthopaedic Specialization from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in 2007 and recertified in 2017. 

Youngberg’s clinical experiences lie primarily in outpatient orthopaedics in a hospital system and in occupational health before coming on board to VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System in 2008. Youngberg graduated from the Manual Therapy Institutes Manual Therapy Certification and Fellowship program in 2011 and achieved Fellowship status from The American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapist later that year. Youngberg developed The VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System Orthopaedic Residency Program in 2013 and serves as physical therapy residency program director, clinical faculty and mentor of the program. He is also residency program director of our Neurologic and Geriatric Residency Programs, which were both developed in 2018. He currently serves as adjunct faculty for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and is actively involved in physical therapy research through the University of Colorado.

Clinical faculty

Dr. Angela Porto, PT, DPT, OCS,

Porto received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center in 2012. She worked in private practice orthopaedics prior to starting as the First VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System Orthopaedic Resident in 2013. She completed the program in 2014 and transitioned to a full-time staff physical therapist.

Porto achieved her Orthopaedic Specialization from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in 2015. She transitioned into a role as a mentor and faculty member of the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System later that year and continues to serve as mentor and faculty within the program. She currently serves as adjunct faculty for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and is actively involved in physical therapy research through the University of Colorado.

Dr. Shane O’Malley, PT, DPT, OCS, CMPT

O'Malley graduated with his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Ithaca College in 2012 and has been working in outpatient orthopaedic practice since that time. O’Malley has a passion for learning and teaching orthopedic manual therapy and has extensive post-graduation education in this specialty area of physical therapy. In 2014, he graduated from the Florida Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy and earned his manual therapy certification (CMPT). He is the second graduate from the Denver VAMC Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency Program and now serves as a clinical faculty member and mentor.

O’Malley became board certified in orthopaedic practice through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in June of 2016. He currently serves as adjunct faculty for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, is an on-site clinical instructor for DPT students, and is actively involved in physical therapy research through the University of Colorado. O'Malley is currently a Fellow in Training through the Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship Program at Regis University.

Dr. Craig Rudikoff, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT

Rudikoff earned his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The George Washington University in 2013 and immediately enrolled in the Johns Hopkins Hospital & George Washington University Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency. After completing the residency and becoming board certified in orthopaedics, he then enrolled and completed an orthopaedic manual physical therapy fellowship program through Regis University. In June of 2016, Rudikoff accepted a position working as a staff therapist at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Denver, Colorado. He currently serves as clinical faculty in the VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System Orthopaedic Residency and the VA Service Representative to the Federal Section of the APTA.

Dr. Benjamin Kottmeyer, PT, DPT, OCS

Kottmeyer completed his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from The University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2014. Following graduation, Kottmeyer worked across the country as a traveling physical therapist, primarily in outpatient orthopedic settings. In 2017, he graduated from the VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System Orthopedic Residency Program. He then accepted a full-time staff physical therapist position with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Denver, Colorado. Kottmeyer achieved his Orthopedic Specialization from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in 2018. Kottmeyer currently serves as a faculty member and mentor for the VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System Orthopedic Residency, adjunct faculty for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and participates in research through the University of Colorado.

What is the cost of the program?

There is no cost associated with the program however there is a nominal cost associated with the APTA Residency/Fellowship Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service Required to apply for the program. If you are selected for the residency program you will become an employee of the ECHCS for the duration of the residency.

How much will I be paid?

Salary is determined by VA Central Office and is preset. The program salary is currently $47,666. Salary is subject to change or fluctuates as determined by Office of Academic Affiliation at VA Central Office.

What benefits will I be eligible for?

Benefits will include 13 vacation days along with accrual of four hours of sick leave per pay period. It will also include 10 paid federal holidays, health benefits, vision, and dental benefits.

How long is the program?

If the resident meets all requirements as outlined the program should be completed in one year and one day from the start date.

How many residents do you accept?

At this time we are accepting one resident into the Orthopaedic Residency Program per year.

When does the residency program begin?

The program is scheduled to begin the first week of August with completion the following August.

How many hours a week will I spend treating patients?

Mentoring sessions with clinical staff will average five hours per week, didactic curriculum component averaging four hours per week, and independent study averaging two hours per week. (These are estimates and that actual time in mentoring and didactic studying may change at the discretion of the department.) The remainder of the time will be dedicated strictly to patient care. It is highly anticipated that the resident will need to reserve time outside of work duties for preparation for the board exam during this training.

What clinic will I be able to experience?

  • Inpatient/Acute Care
  • Inpatient Rehab
  • Outpatient

What will my schedule be?

While your schedule is subject to change depending on the needs of the department it typically will be from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and may include weekends or weekend days from time to time.

Does completing the residency guarantee me a job?

While residents in good standing will be employed for the duration of the residency program the VA maintains no obligation to retain the resident beyond the length of the residency program. Residents will be encouraged to apply for a position should there be openings after they have completed the residency program.

When would I be eligible to sit for the orthopaedic board certification exam?

Residents will apply in July of the year they are in the residency program and will sit for the exam February or March of the following year; a year earlier than would be possible without completing a residency. Residents are responsible for all application and testing fees. For more information on application deadlines and testing dates please see the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS).

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