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Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy Residency Program

Welcome! If you are a Physical Therapist seeking to advance your practice in the field of cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy, we are excited to have you here. The Madison VA is a regional specialty care site for cardiovascular and pulmonary referrals for Veterans across Wisconsin and Northern Illinois and is the only VA hospital in nation that performs both heart and lung transplantation. All cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation is provided by PT specialists in the inpatient and outpatient settings for a rich learning experience for our residents.

Mission statement

The Mission of the Madison VA Cardiovascular and Pulmonary PT Residency is to prepare Physical Therapists for advanced specialty practice by fostering an environment of continuous learning and professional growth by modeling excellence in clinical practice through teaching, research, and community service.  Promote a model of care that adapts to future demands of Veterans through a forward-thinking approach based on scientifically sound clinical principles.

Program goals

Goal 1: Promote the specialty of cardiovascular and pulmonary rehab within the practice of Physical Therapy in the VA system that aligns and contributes to the mission and vision of the VA and the UW PT Program.

Goal 2: Offer a diverse learning curriculum that promotes and expedites advanced clinical competence in cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy.

Goal 3: Promote the professional advancement of Physical Therapy

Goal 4: Promote the professional growth and retention of the physical therapy staff at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital.

Goal 5: The Madison VA Cardiovascular and Pulmonary PT program maintains ABPTRFE accreditation

Resident Goals

Goal 1: Acquire the appropriate knowledge base, clinical skills, and breadth of experience in cardiovascular and pulmonary therapy commensurate with that of a board-certified specialist to support the mission of the APTA.

Goal 2: Refine knowledge of a wide variety of cardiovascular and pulmonary conditions to allow for the development of safe, efficacious, and individualized care plans.

Goal 3: Identify best practices in the field of cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation. 

Goal 4: Achieve independence as a cardiopulmonary therapist in a collaborative medical model.

Goal 5: Participate in the research process.

Goal 6: Participate in didactic instruction, laboratory exploration, patient education, and independent study.

General Information

Overview: This one-year Clinical Residency Program is designed to develop clinical specialists in Cardiovascular and Pulmonary rehab to provide the highest evidence-based care for the cardiopulmonary patient through a full spectrum of care settings and acuity.  Upon completion of the residency program, graduates will be eligible to sit for the ABPTS Cardiovascular and Pulmonary specialist certification exam. The PT residency program is a year-long study of the specialized treatment of cardiovascular and pulmonary conditions. Residents spend six months in the outpatient setting and six months in the inpatient setting. During their outpatient rotation, residents will also serve the role as a teaching assistant for the UW Madison PT Program cardiovascular class (PT523). Residents receive a structured week to include direct patient care, one-on-one mentoring, and self-study.

Credentialing: The Madison VA Cardiovascular and Pulmonary PT Residency is fully accredited through the American Boar of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE).

Length of Program: 12 months

Program Start Date: The second Monday of August each year

Tuition: There is no fee for residents to enroll in the Madison VA PT Residency.

Salary and Benefits: Residents will receive a salary and benefits (health care, dental, paid time off) through the VA. Details of either salary or benefits can be obtained through the Program Director and Madison VA Human Resources

Didactic Curriculum

Sample Learning Unit Topics

  • Cardiopulmonary Anatomy and Physiology
  • Clinical Interpretation of Arrhythmias
  • Cardiopulmonary Pharmacology
  • Cardiopulmonary Assessment
  • Therapy Considerations for Cardiac Pathologies
  • Therapy Consideration for Pulmonary Pathologies
  • Pediatric Cardiopulmonary Considerations
  • Management of Peripheral Vascular Disease
  • Clinical Interpretation of Cardiopulmonary Diagnostic Studies
  • ICU/Early Mobilization Decision Making
  • Ventilatory Support in the Acute Care Setting
  • Management of Critical Lines and Drips
  • LVAD and Circulatory Support Devices
  • Rehabilitation of the Heart and Lung Transplant Patient
  • Cardiac and Pulmonary Outcome Measures
  • Telemedicine for Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab
  • Promoting Cardiopulmonary Health and Wellness in PT Practice
  • Applying Social Determinants of Health to the Cardiopulmonary Patient
  • Understanding Health Literacy for the Cardiopulmonary Patient
  • Adult Learning Theory and Practice
  • Principles of Academic Curricular Development
  • Utilization of Clinical Simulation in Acute Care Instruction
  • Introduction to virtual care for the cardiopulmonary patient


Clinical Faculty:

                Jamie McKeon, PT, SCCE (Program Director)
                James Carlson, MPT, CCS (Residency Coordinator)
                Natalie Hagen, DPT, CCS

Core Academic Faculty:

                James Carlson, MPT, CCS (Residency Coordinator)
                Natalie Hagen, DPT, CCS

Adjunct Faculty:

                Liz McGowan, DPT
                Kevin Cannon, DPT
                Adam Gepner, Asst. Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

Application Process

Applicants will submit applications through the APTA’s RF-PTCAS portal.  Any potential candidate who seeks out staff within the program directly will be redirected to the RF-PTCAS.  Go to the RF-PTCAS web site to submit your application. 

Deadlines: Applicants can apply at any point starting in November each year. Faculty will review completed application packages in RF-PTCAS as they are completed and will interview candidates on a rolling basis.  The deadline for applications is no later than the first week of April for that Academic Year. But, please note that a superior candidate with a completed application may be interviewed and selected prior to the deadline for applications.

Admission Requirements

All applications received are reviewed for completeness by the residency faculty to ensure the candidate meets the minimum requirements for employment in the VA system by the Program Director and the Clinical Specialist(s).  Specifically, applicants must have successfully graduated (or will be graduating) from a CAPTE PT program.  The applicant must indicate they either have a current Physical Therapy License or will have one by the start of the residency.  Residents with incomplete packages will be notified and given one week to submit needed documents. Superior candidates will be given and interview which is conducted by Madison PT Residency faculty.  Ideal candidates will possess excellent verbal and written communication skills, exhibit high standards of professional behavior, have a strong grasp of the fundamentals and principles of clinical reasoning and the application of examination and treatment procedures, and demonstrate a strong desire or previous experiences with working with cardiopulmonary patients. Acceptance to the program will be based on interest, ability, and aptitude for a career as a Physical Therapist clinical specialist in cardiovascular and pulmonary practice.

Disability Requirements        

Students requesting disability accommodations must do so by filing a disability accommodation request in writing with the program coordinator at the time of application.

For further information, contact:

James Carlson, MPT, CCS
PT Residency Coordinator
William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
2500 Overlook Terrace
Madison, WI 53705
Phone: 608-280-7036

Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy Post-Professional Residency Program Outcomes
Graduation Year Program Graduation Rate by Year CCS Board Exam Pass Rate by Year Overall Program Board Exam Rate
Graduation Year 2021 Program Graduation Rate by Year 100% CCS Board Exam Pass Rate by Year Pending 2022 exam Overall Program Board Exam Rate
Graduation Year 2020 Program Graduation Rate by Year 100% CCS Board Exam Pass Rate by Year Deferred to 2022 Overall Program Board Exam Rate
Graduation Year 2019 Program Graduation Rate by Year 100% CCS Board Exam Pass Rate by Year 100% Overall Program Board Exam Rate 80% (4 of 5 passed)