Skip to Content

Physical Therapy Geriatric Residency Program

The mission of the Physical Therapy Geriatric Residency Program is to create and sustain a culture of continuous learning and professional development through advanced evidence-based education and interprofessional collaboration in geriatrics, thereby elevating standards of excellence to optimally serve our nation’s Veterans and community at large.

This developing program offers a year-long advanced training program for physical therapists specializing in geriatrics. The program is funded by the VA Office of Academic Affiliations.

About the program


  • Residents treat a geriatric patient caseload about 30 hours per week - rotating through three different areas of practice including acute medicine, subacute care (Community Living Center) and outpatient.
  • Residents are also involved in 1:1 mentoring sessions with expert clinicians a minimum of 4 hours per week, didactic coursework 6-8 hours per week, research exposure and a variety of teaching opportunities throughout the year at Concordia University, St. Paul.
  • Residents who successfully complete the program are eligible to apply to sit for the Geriatric Clinical Specialty (GCS) exam.


  • Annual base salary is $57,243
  • Health, dental and vision benefits
  • Accrue 4 hours of sick and 4 hours of annual (vacation) leave every 2 week pay period
  • Eleven paid federal holidays
  • Liability coverage and protection under Federal Tort Claims Act
  • Uniform (scrubs) provided by Minneapolis VA Health Care System
  • Medical library access
  • MedBridge subscription


  • Support the mission, vision and values of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System by meeting the needs of our Veterans, service members and geriatric residency program through provision of geriatric physical therapy services.
  • Contribute to the profession of geriatric physical therapy through writing, teaching and leadership in consultative roles.
  • Be a discerning consumer of scientific literature and proficient in the inclusion of new evidenced-based treatment techniques and knowledge into clinical practice.
  • Exhibit the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.
  • Complete required curricular content and clinical experience to successfully prepare for completion of the GCS exam.
  • Participate in clinical research to advance geriatric physical therapy.


This program will not have additional application or tuition fees, although the RF-PTCAS process does have its own fee. Minneapolis VA Health Care System provides tuition support for didactic programming. The costs associated with the program are related to attendance at Combined Section Meeting (CSM) to cover travel and tuition expenses.

Fees for continuing education courses and national conferences are not covered by this program, but residents often qualify for student rates or can attend VA or sponsored programming for free.

Program outcome goals

  • 100% first time pass rate on GCS exam
  • 100% of residents will report feeling satisfied or highly satisfied with the geriatric residency program on the 6-month and 12-month Resident Satisfaction Survey
  • 100% of residents will achieve required number of clinical hours within 66/71 diagnostic categories within the Description of Residency Practice (DRP).
  • 100% of residents will receive at minimum 400 hours (or greater) of instructional hours during the residency program
  • 100% of residents will receive 200 mentoring hours during the residency program
  • 100% of residents will attend at minimum one professional conference (CSM) during the residency program

Program structure

We plan to have one permanent residency position each calendar year. Evidence of an interest in geriatric physical therapy is desirable, although we don't require any specific continuing education course work or specific clinical and/or didactic learning experiences to apply.

Between the clinical practice, mentoring, teaching, research and didactic programming, it is anticipated that the resident spends 50-55 hours per week on residency-related activities. In addition to direct patient care, this includes teaching prep time, data analysis, assigned readings, webinar attendance, researching given topics, etc.


The didactic portion of this program will include weekly modules taught by residency clinical faculty or through self-directed home study. All clinical faculty are either geriatric clinical specialists or subject matter experts.

Modules are developed based on the Description of Residency Practice for Geriatric Physical Therapy with the intention to prepare the resident to take the Geriatric Board-Certified Specialty Exam (GCS). Module topics include:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • EKG reading and cardiac rehabilitation
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Integumentary
  • Orthopedics: post-operative care, spine, upper quarter and lower quarter
  • Neurologic impairments: central and peripheral nervous systems
  • Complex acute care
  • Frailty
  • Osteoporosis
  • Amputee rehabilitation
  • Aquatic therapy
  • Incontinence and pelvic floor therapy
  • Manual therapy
  • Chronic pain management
  • Fall risk and prevention
  • Home safety evaluation and assistive technology
  • Senior athlete
  • Nutrition
  • Health promotion and wellness
  • Exercise physiology and prescription
  • Pharmacology
  • Hospice and end of life care
  • Home care physical therapy
  • Financial management and reimbursement
  • Policy issues in aging
  • Ethics
  • Professionalism

Clinical and professional experiences

Various clinical and professional experiences will be offered to provide the resident with a well-rounded education related to care of older adults. These experiences include:

  • Prosthetics and orthotics lab
  • Caregiver support
  • STRIDE (assiSTed eaRly mobIlity for hospitalizeD vEterans)
  • TBI/CVA rehabilitation
  • Behavioral Recover Outreach (BRO) Team
  • Occupational therapy: home safety evaluations, cognitive testing
  • Assistive technology
  • Wheelchair seating/positioning clinic
  • Lymphedema
  • Palliative care
  • Group-based telerehabilitation
  • LSVT ® Big & Loud programming
  • Recreation therapy
  • Vestibular rehabilitation (VNG testing)
  • Primary care physical therapy
  • Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center (GRECC)
  • Research experience
  • Journal club
  • Teaching experience at university DPT program level
  • Grand rounds presentation


Resident will be evaluated in various ways throughout the program including written examinations, live-patient evaluations, patient tracer assignments, weekly journal entries, journal club presentations, self-assessment and using the Resident Competency Evaluation Instrument.


This program is currently in the development stage with plan to apply for full ABPTRFE accreditation.

How to apply

Who can apply

  • Am I Eligible? Checklist for VA Health Professions Trainee (HPT)
  • Residents are employed by the Minneapolis VA Health Care System; therefore applicants need to be U.S. citizens.*
  • Licensed physical therapists; you will need to be licensed to practice in Minnesota by the start of the residency program.
  • Physical therapy students; you must be on track to graduate by May of the year you will start the residency program (in June).

We prefer that incoming residents have passed the licensure exam on the April test date, although registration for the July test date is acceptable. Failure to pass the licensure exam will result in termination of the residency.

Application process

Applicants are encouraged to submit applications through the RF-PTCAS by COB January 19, 2024. To be considered for the residency, please submit the following items:

Three essay questions

Current curriculum vitae (CV) or resume

Graduate transcripts (unofficial transcripts are acceptable at the time of application. If you are offered an interview, official transcripts will be required at that time).

Three letters of reference from individuals familiar with your clinical work.

Applications are submitted using the RF-PTCAS system.

Prior to submitting an application, please check the "Am I Eligible?" checklist to determine if you are eligible to apply to our program.

*Health Professions Trainees (HPTs) are appointed temporary employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs. As such, HPTs are subject to laws, policies and guidelines posted for VA staff members. There are infrequent times in which this guidance can change during a training year which may create new requirements or responsibilities for HPTs. If employment requirements change during the course of a training year, HPTs will be notified of the change and impact as soon as possible and options provided. The VA Training Director for your profession will provide you with information you need to understand the requirement and reasons for the requirement in a timely manner.


Will I be able to work part-time, perhaps picking up some weekends?

Given the busy schedule and heavy load of teaching, didactic and research expectations, it is unlikely that you will feel you have the time to work outside of the residency program.

How many hours does the resident treat patient at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center?

Residents are contracted to provide 40 hours a week. Workdays tend to be Monday through Friday.

How often does the resident receive 1:1 mentoring?

Mentoring sessions are scheduled weekly, with topics to be determined by the resident and mentors depending on the resident’s interests, needs, previous experiences and opportunities available.

What are the teaching expectation and opportunities?

Teaching hours vary depending on which class the resident is teaching. Teaching responsibilities are relegated to the position of teaching assistant and generally require hands on assistance in labs, setting up the equipment for the class and may involve 1 or 2 lectures.


Lori Danzl, PT
Residency Program Director
Minneapolis VAHCS, PM&R (117)
One Veterans Drive,
Minneapolis MN 55417

Phone: 612-467-3073

Laura Gude,  MPT, GCS
Residency Training Director
Minneapolis VAHCS, PM&R (117)
One Veterans Drive,
Minneapolis MN 55417

Phone: 612-707-2056