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Postgraduate Primary Care Physician Assistant Residency Program

The Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center offers a 12-month clinical and didactic education program focusing on adult primary care medicine designed to produce highly competent primary care physician assistants.

Postgraduate Primary Care PA residents will develop a deep and broad evidence-based knowledge foundation of the common disease processes seen in a typical, complex VA patient through online didactic course-work and clinical rotation experiences spanning multiple different specialties as well as primary care. Residents will be trained to provide coordinated, safe, high-quality, efficient care to patients receiving ongoing care within the Veterans Affairs Patient Aligned Care Teams, or PACTs. This program will build upon the graduate PA’s generalist knowledge base to promote clinical competence and confidence.

The program offers a competitive stipend for one year of training, paid vacation and sick leave, and options for health insurance. Two residents will be accepted for this program annually.

Deadline: Jan. 31 for the upcoming academic year beginning in July.

Mission Statement

To train highly qualified graduate physician assistants (PAs) to provide coordinated, safe, high-quality, efficient care to patients receiving ongoing care within the Veterans Affairs Patient Aligned Care Teams or PACTs. The program will provide the physician assistant resident with deep and broad evidence-based knowledge about the common disease processes which are seen in veteran patients.

Residency Overview

  • One-year commitment: beginning as close to July 1 as possible through the following June 30 (dates may fluctuate depending on graduation from PA school)
  • Receive clinical and academic training from Medical College of Wisconsin physicians and VHA physician assistants and faculty
  • Learn the VA Patient Aligned Care Team or PACT methodology of care to improve access and availability of care to our nation’s veteran population
  • An excellent opportunity to add expertise in Primary Care to your PA credentials while enhancing your skills, experience and marketability
  • Clinical rotations all within the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center with options for rotations at CBOCs (Community Based Outpatient Clinics)
  • Competitive stipend
  • Scrubs and white coats provided
  • Hiring preference within the VA system upon completion of residency
  • Two residents selected per year


Postgraduate residency program rotations

  • Primary Care, including a weekly primary care continuity clinic experience
  • Urology
  • Cardiology
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Internal medicine
  • Behavioral Medicine
  • Pre-Anesthesia Clearance clinic
  • Pain management/Physical Medicine and Rehab/Neurosurgery
  • Spinal Cord Injury Rehab
  • Endocrine/Radiology
  • Neurology/Dermatology
  • Infectious Disease
  • Home based Primary Care
  • Possible time for Electives

Training Sites

  • Clement J. Zablocki Medical Center: 196-acute care bed 1A facility servicing 64,000 patients with over 900,000 outpatient visits in FY 2022.

Application Criteria/Process

  • U. S. Citizen
  • Graduate (or anticipated graduation at time of application) from an ARC-PA accredited PA program
  • Current BLS certification
  • Completed application form
  • Current resume/curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of recommendation, including a letter from PA Program clinical director or Program Chair
  • Personal Essay on why you are interested in postgraduate primary care training with emphasis on caring for the VA patient
  • Official transcripts from colleges/PA school

Application may be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to:

Krista Berner, MPAS, PA-C
Clement J. Zablocki Medical Center
5000 W. National Ave.
Room 8140
Milwaukee, WI 53295

  • There is no application fee and competitive applicants will be interviewed
  • Selected trainees must pass the NCCPA PANCE exam prior to starting the residency program. Once eligible, selected trainees should initiate application for WI state PA licensure.
  • Selected trainees must adhere to all federally mandated policies (including VHA Directive 1193)
  • Selected trainees should submit an online application for an NPI number

Resident Testimonials

"Deciding to complete this residency program was one of the best decisions I could have made for myself and my career. Throughout the yearlong residency I gained not only medical knowledge, but a huge confidence boost in my clinical decision-making skills too. Rotating through the multiple specialties available was extremely helpful in the primary care setting to better understand the appropriateness and necessity of consults. Also, further training in these specialties can allow a primary care provider to practice at the top of their scope. The knowledge I learned and connections I made during this residency program truly set me up for success. I am now a full-time employee at the VA, and I couldn’t be happier!" 

— Kelly Aukamp, PA-C Class of 2023


"My experience as a primary care resident was invaluable because of the type and quality of clinical rotations available. Coming out of PA school, I was unsure what I wanted to specialize in or if I wanted to specialize at all. This residency gave me the opportunity to try so many different specialties while also giving me the opportunity to provide excellent primary care to our Veterans. The ability to pick an elective rotation brought about me finding a job at the VA! I got to work with a lot of passionate providers and gave myself another year to learn while getting paid for it. I can adamantly say that this extra year of learning made me a better provider to my patients. Additionally, I think any person will be hard-pressed to find another physician assistant residency program that offers the diversity of specialties offered at the Milwaukee VA."

— Robin Koopmeiners, PA-C Class of 2022


"The Milwaukee VA Primary Care Residency Program was one of the best choices I made as a new grad starting my career as a PA. The wide breadth of clinics that I rotated through including Urology, GYN, PMR, Psych, Pain Management, Neurology and Neurosurgery as well as inpatient Hospital Medicine, Cardiology, Infectious Disease and the ER gave me a deeper understanding of various disease processes and organ systems in specialties I may never have had the opportunity to see if not for this residency. In each of these settings, I was able to practice the nuances of each specialty and then bring this back to the general practice longitudinal clinic to provide better care for my patients. I continue to utilize this knowledge and skillset in my practice today.

"In addition, the VA is an incredible system that I am so grateful I had the opportunity to be a part of, and I would encourage everyone to spend time in a VA system if given the chance. From the amazing providers I was able to work alongside to the patients I had the pleasure of taking care of, my time at the VA will forever hold a special place in my heart."

— Tori Rehfuss, PA-C Class of 2022


"The VA Primary Care Residency was the best decision I could have made as a new graduate PA. The time, investment and learning opportunities that it provides are invaluable. Krista and the collaborating physicians you work with are so dedicated to your experience and provide incredible support as you grow into your new role. It provides real hands-on experience in multiple settings, helping mold you into a provider. Working with a multidisciplinary team is so beneficial in understanding how the health care system functions and how to best serve your patients. Could not recommend more."

— Emily Wieting, PA-C Class of 2016

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