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Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency Program

The Greater Los Angeles VA Orthopedic Residency Program (GLAVAORP) in Physical Therapy offers a year-long advanced practice residency in Orthopedic Physical Therapy. GLAVAORP features in-depth, evidence-based management strategies in manual therapy and Movement System Impairment (MSI) in partnership with California State University Northridge (CSUN).

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GLAVAORP is accredited by the American Board of Physical Therapy and Residency Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) as a postprofessional physical therapy program in Orthopedic Physical Therapy, funded by the Veterans Affairs Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA).  Residents are fully employed for this year-long residency program which offers 150+ hours of 1:1 mentoring with clinical faculty, 300+ hours of learning activities, while independently managing a caseload of patients.  Education is tailored to the specific learning needs of a resident to ensure success in the program and beyond.

To fulfill President Lincoln's promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans.

Physical Therapy Residency Mission

To provide high-quality training to entry-level Physical Therapists, using evidence-based, experiential and didactic learning, to train masterful clinicians who possess strong problem-solving abilities, and the desire for self-reflective, life-long learning.

  • Support the mission of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services department at the Greater Los Angeles VA, by elevating the quality of orthopedic Physical Therapy, consistent with specialist practice.
  • Provide the veteran population with residency-trained Physical Therapists who excel in advanced orthopedic practice, guided by a strong foundation in evidence-based practice.
  • Maintain American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship education (ABPTRFE) accreditation as an orthopedic residency.
  • Develop a pathway for Orthopedic Physical Therapy research that is inclusive of the Resident and current staff.
  • To train Residents who demonstrate advanced skills in clinical reasoning, guided by evidence-based practice, to provide high quality care for the complex veteran population.
  • To train Residents who possess specialist-level clinical judgement and psychomotor skills in human movement system evaluation and treatment, as well as manual therapy interventions.
  • To prepare Residents to pass the Orthopedic Specialist Examination.
  • To be a local orthopedic residency of choice with a reputation for high quality training.
  • To graduate Residents who have the ability to obtain and maintain American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists (ABPTS) board certification through diverse exposure of clinical practice, research, and professional education.
  • To graduate Residents who contribute to the advancement of Physical Therapist practice and engage in educating the community or emerging professionals.
  • Graduates are prepared to provide the patients of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS) with excellent care through advanced orthopedic physical therapy examination and interventions, consistent with specialist practice.
  • Graduates demonstrate advanced skills in clinical reasoning, guided by evidence-based practice, to provide high quality care for the complex veteran population.
  • Graduates possess specialist-level clinical judgement and psychomotor skills in human movement system evaluation and treatment, as well as manual therapy interventions.
  • Graduates are prepared to pass the Orthopedic Specialist Examination.
  • Graduates are skilled educators and excel at conveying abstract and esoteric concepts, in a simple, yet accurate format that is specific to the target audience, using both technical and soft skills.
  • Graduates are committed members of the profession, who remain engaged through professional activities with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), ABPTS, ABPTRFE, or the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT), or any other local professional groups or programs related to rehabilitation.
  • 100% or participants successfully graduated from residency
  • 100% of graduates were offered positions in VA

Residents will get 150+ hours of 1:1 mentoring where the resident leads a patient encounter with a mentor present.  Mentors will provide the resident with feedback, make suggestions for improvement—whether they be clinical reasoning or improvement of psychomotor delivery of patient management.  Residents will be in an outpatient facility working with a complex veteran population.  Training includes:

  • Rigorous practice of applied anatomy and applied kinesiology
  • Movement analysis (with and without video capture)
  • Use of Computerized Dynamic Posturography
  • Vestibular Training, as is required by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists (ABPTS) for those who possess the clinical specialty in orthopedic physical therapy as indicated in the orthopedic Description of Specialty Practice (DSP)
  • Advanced manual therapy procedures, including manipulations
  • Movement System Impairment diagnosis and treatment
  • MedBridge Education subscription for select special topics
  • Pain science education
  • Telehealth for the contemporary clinician
  • Guided research, scholarly work, and presentation opportunities
  • Outpatient
  • Primary Care (in development)
  • Amputee Clinic
  • Occupational Therapy for elbow, wrist, and hand
  • CSUN as a learner for the MSI course in the Fall Semester
  • Assistive Device Clinic
  • Observational opportunities for Nerve Conduction Study & Electromyography Clinic & Orthopedic Surgery
  • Opportunity to work as an Assistant Clinical Instructor with credentialed staff
  • US Citizen
  • Graduate from a CAPTE-accredited Doctor of Physical Therapy Program
  • Submit a completed application through APTA Residency Fellowship Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (RF-PTCAS)
  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Three (3) letters of recommendation where one must be from a former Physical Therapy Instructor
  3. Complete the short essay writing samples within RF-PTCAS
  • Full COVID-19 vaccination as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • Physical Therapist License Applicant (PTLA) status will be sufficient to start the program.  However, the applicant must obtain an unrestricted license while in the program.  An unrestricted license prior to the start of the program is preferred.
  1. Complete 1800 total program hours
  2. Pass Fall and Spring Written Examinations
  3. Pass Fall and Spring Live-Patient Examinations
  4. Participation and successful presentation of scholarly work
  5. Active moderator for GLAVAORP’s Journal Club
  6. Successful participation in Movement System Impairment learning activities at CSUN
  7. Complete all clinical reasoning assignments, critical appraisal of literature, and self-reflection activities
  8. Complete comprehensive Manual Therapy Assessment and Interventions Tool
  • Stipend is approximately $50,000, annually, paid every two weeks
  • No tuition
  • No weekend didactics or patient care; didactic lectures are done in-house during working hours
  • Accrued paid Annual Leave: 4 hours per pay period, or 13 days
  • Accrued paid Sick Leave: 4 hours per pay period, or 13 days
  • 11 paid Federal Holidays
  • Eligible site for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
    • After 120 student loan payments while working for an eligible site, the remaining balance on student loan debt is forgiven
    • Please contact your loan servicer and go to Federal Student Aid for details
  1. GLAVAORP’s application will be live for approximately four (4) months on RF-PTCAS (from early October to late January or early February)
    • Note: as RF-PTCAS only posts programs when their application is live, our program will not be viewable from March-September on RF-PTCAS.
  2. Online Application: RF-PTCAS | Applicant Login Page Section (liaisoncas.com)
  3. Interviews with qualified applicants: February-March
  4. Notification of Decision: March
    • While the most qualified applicant will be offered the position, a wait list will also be available.
    • The top candidate has 1 week to accept the position. Otherwise, the program will advance the wait list to the next most qualified candidate until a signed resident attestation as been received.  Even so, the wait list will be updated until the candidate has been onboarded and sworn-in to duty.
  5. Program Start: July

Amanda Songstad, PT, DPT, OCS (2020)

“I graduated from GLAVAORP in 2020 and am now a Physical Therapist II at UCLA in their outpatient rehabilitation department. GLAVAORP has shaped me as a physical therapist in so many ways. This residency program blends Movement System Impairments with standard orthopedic practice, all while instilling the importance of evidence-based practice. The resident is granted unique one-on-one time with mentors, including patient mentoring hours, lab time, and detailed lectures to enhance learning.

These qualities have set a foundation of strong clinical reasoning abilities and have greatly influenced sound practice as a young clinician. GLAVAORP provided me with so many opportunities, aside from strongly preparing me to sit for the OCS exam. This program sees the value in application of knowledge through teaching.

As a resident, I was granted the opportunity of being an assistant CI, a teaching assistant for CSUN’s Movement System Impairments class, and presenting my research project at CSM. Each of these experiences allow for that next level of knowledge application, which is a huge strength of the program.

As a clinician who is now almost 2 years post-graduation from residency, I can confidently say that this program more than prepared me for the diverse population of patients I see on a daily basis. GLAVAORP is a very well-rounded program and fulfills the goal of producing true clinical specialists.” 

 

Roberta Brehm, PT, DPT (2021)

“Expectations are high in this program.  Learning how to meet them was difficult, but very rewarding. 

This program is outstanding in its ability to provide personalized teaching.  I received extensive one-on one attention from my mentor which allowed me to advance my practice to a level I had never before experienced in my career. 

This residency’s training allowed me to get a wonderful job within the VA.  I have found that my expertise in diagnosis and treatment has been widely recognized in my current position.  Often, I am the go-to person for other therapists who have questions regarding complex patients.  My boss has also commented favorably several times on my ability to take on the most challenging patients and handle them well.”