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Geriatric Physical Therapy Residency Program

The Madison VA Medical Center offers licensed physical therapists a year-long advanced practice residency in Geriatric Physical Therapy. The experience a resident will obtain from this program is bolstered by its distinct, specialty area-specific resources, including one of the nation’s 20 Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Centers (GRECCs).

The Madison VA Medical Center also was the first VA hospital in the country to be recognized as Dementia Friendly and our emergency department received accreditation through the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation Program (GEDA) with the support of the PT Department.  The Madison VA is a 5-star ranked medical center by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), one of only 13 VA hospitals in the country to earn this rating. 


Provide evidence-based education and excellent clinical mentorship to physical therapists to develop Geriatric Clinical Specialists dedicated to providing exceptional, evidence-based patient care to the community of geriatric veterans they serve. The program will encourage the advancement of geriatrics within the profession of physical therapy and the Veterans Health Administration. The program is dedicated to continuous improvement and strategic initiatives.


  • Promote the specialty of geriatric rehabilitation within the practice of Physical Therapy in the VA system which aligns and contributes to the mission and vision of the VA.
  • Empower residents with a diverse learning curriculum that promotes advanced clinical competence in Geriatric Physical Therapy.
  • Develop highly skilled and dedicated geriatric clinicians who contribute to the profession of physical therapy and the larger healthcare community.


We are a new program currently pursuing accreditation and funding by the VA.  At this time, we do not have outcomes to report but plan for publishing graduation rates, board pass rates, and hire into VA rates once we have achieved accreditation and recruited our first resident.


  • Exhibit proficiency with evidence-based evaluative skills and treatment strategies for advanced practice in Geriatric Physical Therapy.
  • Demonstrate specialist-level clinical reasoning.
  • Acquire, integrate and share best evidence.
  • Establish a presence in the Geriatric Specialist community.  
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills necessary to qualify for and successfully pass the ABPTS exam for board certification in Geriatric Physical Therapy.


This one-year Clinical Residency Program is designed to develop clinical specialists in Geriatric Physical Therapy to provide the highest evidence-based care for the aging veteran through a full spectrum of care settings and acuity.  Upon completion of the residency program, graduates will be eligible to sit for the ABPTS Geriatric Clinical Specialist certification exam. The resident will develop and build clinical skills, accumulate deep breadth of knowledge and gain confidence to manage complex clinical experiences common in the geriatric population. Residents spend four months in acute care, four months focused on wellness chronic conditions including skilled care and home health rotation and a final four months working in the outpatient setting. Residents receive a structured week to include direct patient care, one-on-one mentoring, and self-study.

Credentialing: The Madison VA Geriatric Physical Therapy residency program has been granted candidacy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE). 

Length of Program: 12 months

Program Start Date: The second Monday of July each year.

Salary and Benefits:

  • 13 vacation days
  • 11 paid federal holidays
  • 13 days separate sick leave available as needed
  • Health insurance
  • Annual Salary  
  • Free Parking

Residency Staff and Faculty:

Jamie McKeon, MPT, Site Coordinator of Clinical Education, Residency Program Director

Christl Eggleston, MPT, GCS

Colleen Howes, PT, MSPT, GCS, Geriatric Program Coordinator               

Collin Rekowski, DPT, GCS


Sample Learning Unit Topics

Rotation 1: Acute Care

  • Physiology of Aging
  • Cognitive Conditions (dementia, delirium, and depression)
  • Pharmacology
  • Oncology
  • Neurological
  • Cardiovascular
  • Pulmonary
  • Integumentary

Rotation 2: Wellness & Chronic Conditions

  • Interpreting & Using Research in Clinical Practice
  • Wound Care & Edema Management
  • Assistive Technology & Environmental Adaptations
  • Health Promotion & Wellness
  • Exercise Prescription
  • Nutrition & Weight Management
  • Frailty & Sarcopenia
  • Home Health
  • Palliative & Hospice

Rotation 3: Outpatient

  • Musculoskeletal
  • Pain Management
  • Posture & Osteoporosis
  • Gait & Mobility
  • Balance & Falls
  • Parkinson’s Disease & Parkinsonism
  • Diabetes
  • Prosthetics & Orthotics
  • Vestibular
  • Incontinence

Residency Experiences

  • Acute Care/ICU
  • Outpatient
  • Community Living Center
  • Home-based Primary Care
  • Specialty Clinics
  • Wellness Programs


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 an 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 geriatric patients. Acceptance to the program will be based on interest, ability, and aptitude for a career as a Physical Therapist clinical specialist in geriatric practice.


  • The Madison VA Geriatric Residency program has been granted candidacy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE).  Following successful ABPTRFE review, this candidacy status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation. Achieving candidacy status is not an indication that ABPTRFE will grant initial accreditation. Participants who graduate from a program in candidacy status are not deemed to have completed an accredited program.
  • A completed package will be required through the APTA Residency/Fellowship Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (RF-PTCAS) once made available in mid-2024 with anticipation of a program start date no later than July 31, 2024.
  • Should you have any questions or interested in submitting application, please contact Colleen Howes, Geriatric Clinical Coordinator at


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:

Colleen Howes PT, MSPT, GCS

Geriatric PT Residency Coordinator

VA Madison health care