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Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program

The James H. Quillen VA Medical Center is home to the East Tennessee State and James. H Quillen VA Orthopedic Residency System. This Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency is designed to offer experience and develop skills in a variety of clinical setting settings. We emphasize care across the continuum to develop clinical reasoning skills. Residents will manage patients in outpatient and inpatient settings throughout the entirety of the year program.

The James H. Quillen VA Medical Center is home to the East Tennessee State and James. H Quillen VA Orthopedic Residency System. Our partnership with ETSU is designed to create a program that offers the benefits of both clinic practice within a variety of settings and the academic strengths of ETSU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.

This Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency is designed to offer experience and develop skills in a variety of clinical setting settings. We emphasize care across the continuum to develop clinical reasoning skills. Residents will manage patients in outpatient and inpatient settings throughout the entirety of the year program.

We begin the program with a two-week orientation to both the VA and ETSU systems which allows a smooth transition as they ramp-up for patient care. During this time the resident will spend most of their time with mentors in the program as they prepare for the transition to full schedule and caseload within the initial month. This ensures that the residents develop competence in all care settings, while improving their clinic skills and providing the best level of care to our nation’s veterans from the start.

A strength of the program is our dedication to mentoring and the didactic portion of the clinical residency. While it is common for residencies to focus on clinical practice, we believe that mentoring and dedicated academic time are key to growth. Resident schedules are blocked four hours each week for mentoring, and an additional four hours for didactic course work. During each session the resident will receive 1:1 training and hands on clinical instruction.  Mentoring is achieved through three primary mentors; however, we have no less than six board certified mentors that can each offer slightly different clinical perspectives or additional areas of expertise.

Our didactic program progresses from foundational knowledge and information and progresses to core clinical modules in each region associated with the Description of Specialty Practice (DSP) in Orthopedics. Each primary mentor also leads curricular content to ensure a high level of continuity is achieved.

Our collaboration with ETSU allows for our residents to get exposure to teaching first year DPT students during their basic skills, musculoskeletal, and biomechanics classes.

Additional highlights of our program include generating case reports, presenting CEU lectures to local professional PT community, and community-based outpatient clinic for diagnoses under age 18.

Mission statement

To train licensed physical therapists for advanced specialty practice through cultivating highly skilled clinical specialist who integrate evidenced-based practice, contribute to clinical research, and provide service and education to their community to provide the best quality care for veterans and to impact the community with which the VA resides.

Vision

To utilize our residency training programs to better provide veterans the world-class benefits and services they have earned, and to do so by adhering to the highest standards of compassion, commitment, excellence, professionalism, integrity, accountability and stewardship.

Program goals and objectives

  1.  To meet and maintain all ABPTRFE stands for accreditation. 
  2. To support the mission of the James H. Quillen VA Physical Therapy Residency Programs by improving the quality of physical therapy practice within the VA and surrounding community.
  3. To graduate participants who obtain and hold board certification or fellowship status through the American Physical Therapy Association. 
  4. To graduate participants who continually contribute to the practice of physical therapy within their specialty area of practice.
  5. To graduate participants who demonstrate advanced clinical reasoning and skills within specialty area of physical therapy practice. 
  6.  To graduate participants who contribute to the healthcare system through interdisciplinary and collegial collaboration.
  7. The program is operational and sustainable.
Curriculum Overview
Foundational Courses Core Orthopaedic Courses Core Geriatric Courses Special Topic Courses
Foundational Courses Research Core Orthopaedic Courses Clinical Gait Concepts Core Geriatric Courses Clinical Gait Concepts Special Topic Courses Evidence Based Acute Care Management
Foundational Courses Clinical Reasoning Core Orthopaedic Courses Pain Science Core Geriatric Courses Pain Science Special Topic Courses Mentoring
Foundational Courses Exercise Dosing Core Orthopaedic Courses Frontiers in Orthopaedic Science Core Geriatric Courses Cardiopulmonary System Special Topic Courses Teaching and Learning
Foundational Courses Motor Control Core Orthopaedic Courses Intervention Concepts Core Geriatric Courses Neuromuscular System Special Topic Courses Insurance 101
Foundational Courses Patient Examination Core Orthopaedic Courses Advanced Concepts in management of the upper extremity Core Geriatric Courses Falls and Balance Special Topic Courses Exam Writing
Foundational Courses Patient Management Core Orthopaedic Courses Advanced Concepts in management of the lower extremity Core Geriatric Courses Pharmacology in Geriatric Practice Special Topic Courses Conference Attendance
Foundational Courses Pharmacology Core Orthopaedic Courses Advanced Concepts in management of the spine Core Geriatric Courses Wound Care Special Topic Courses Medbridge GCS prep course
Foundational Courses Imaging Core Orthopaedic Courses Core Geriatric Courses Special Populations in Geriatric Practice Special Topic Courses
Foundational Courses Red Flags Core Orthopaedic Courses Core Geriatric Courses Evidence Based Home Health Overview Special Topic Courses
Foundational Courses Core Orthopaedic Courses Core Geriatric Courses Wheelchair Seating Assessment Special Topic Courses
Sample Resident Schedule
Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri
8:00 AM - 12:00 AM Mon Outpatient Clinic Tues Inpatient Acute Clinic Wed Inpatient Acute Clinic Thur Outpatient Clinic Fri Inpatient Acute Clinic
Lunch Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri
12:30 PM - 4:30 PM Mon Mentored Outpatient Clinic Tues Outpatient Clinic Wed Residency Class (1-5) Thur Outpatient Clinic Fri Outpatient Clinic

Dr. Beau Whitt – Dr. Whitt graduated from East Tennessee State University with his Doctorate in physical therapy in 2009 and began his tenure with the Department of Veterans Affairs at the James H. Quillen VA in 2010. He became board certified in Orthopaedic physical therapy in 2014 and together with a small team began development of the Orthopaedic physical therapy residency that is shared by the James H. Quillen VA and ETSU. Currently he is the physical therapy residency director for JHQVA, the site coordinator for clinical education (SCCE), curricular faculty and serves as a primary mentor in the Orthopaedic residency program. Dr. Whitt will be the director of the developing geriatric program that is planned to begin in 2023. He serves on the PT residency advancement committee within the Department of Veterans Affairs and is also clinical faculty within ETSU’s Fellowship program. In his spare time Dr. Whitt enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, being outdoors and all things sports related.

Ryan Minick – Mr. Minick graduated from Western Carolina University in 2006 with a Master’s in physical therapy. He began his career at a private clinic in Charlotte NC before beginning his tenure with the Department of Veterans Affairs at the W.G. “Bill” Hefner Salisbury VA before transferring to the James H. Quillen VA in 2012. He became board certified in Orthopaedic physical therapy in 2012. Together with a small team he began development of the Orthopaedic physical therapy residency that is shared by the James H. Quillen VA and ETSU. Uniquely Mr. Minick also holds a Bachelor of Science in occupational therapy. Currently he is a residency coordinator, curricular faculty, and serves as a primary mentor in the Orthopaedic residency program. He will be involved in the developing geriatric residency program. In his spare time, he remains loyal to all Pittsburg sports teams and running around to his kids’ school and sports activities.

Dr. Michael Bourassa - Dr. Bourassa graduated from Elon University in 2010 with is doctorate in physical therapy. He became board certified in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy in 2014 following his residency through Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville FL. He also is a fellow in the American academy of Orthopaedic manual physical therapists after completion of a fellowship in Orthopaedic manual physical therapy through Brooks Rehabilitation in 2014. Currently he serves as an assistant professor in the ETSU DPT program and is the program director for ETSU residency and fellowship programs. For the collaborative ETSU-VA program he is a co-director and oversees the ETSU side of the program. Dr. Bourassa maintains clinical appointments within the VA and ETSU health system. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, watching sports, and traveling.

Dr. Jennifer Pearcy - Dr. Pearcy graduated from Quinnipiac University with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2016. She is a residency and fellowship trained physical therapist with ABPTS board certifications in both Orthopedic and Geriatric Physical Therapy. She completed her orthopedic residency training through the James H. Quillen VA partnership with ETSU as part of the inaugural cohort of residents. She then completed her fellowship training through ETSU’s Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship. Clinically, she is in the float physical therapist role and is the residency program coordinator for the developing geriatric physical therapy residency program. She currently serves as adjunct faculty for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at ETSU, core faculty for ETSU’s Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship, and Subject Matter Expert for Evidence in Motions Geriatric Certification Program.

All applications must be submitted through the RF-PTCAS system with the link available below. Applications are due by March 15th of each year. Interviews are required for acceptance into the program. They will be scheduled at the end of March or first week in April. Decisions on acceptance are completed no later than the end of April each year.

 https://rfptcas.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login

  • Be a United States Citizen.

  • Graduation from a CAPTE accredited physical therapy program.

  • Proof of license or temporary license and in good standing to practice physical therapy in Tennessee.

  • Satisfy the pre-employment physical screen including a health screen and immunization record submission. Including meeting the physical demands of a physical therapist.

  • Submission or application as described above via RF-PTCAS

We believe in a work-life balance and while residency is demanding of time and effort, it is important to make time to ensure your physical and emotional wellbeing are also taken care of.

  • 13 paid days of annual leave
  • 11 paid federal holidays
  • 13 days separate sick leave available as needed
  • Annual Salary is set and not negotiable. Recently it has been between $46,000-48,000 per year.

Applicants are encouraged to reach out to any of our current or previous residents for more information. We strive to provide a close-knit team-oriented environment that allow our residents to thrive.

Dr. Ansel Clayton, DPT OCS         ansel.clayton@va.gov

“The East Tennessee State University and James H. Quillen VAMC Orthopaedic Residency was and continues to be fundamental in my growth as a physical therapist and professional. I can’t speak highly enough about the staff involved with this residency. They take the time to make sure you get unique learning experiences, time to think and grow in your practice, and foundational orthopedic knowledge. The staff for this residency are dedicated to your success and more broadly to the success of your patients throughout your career. If you are interested in growing as a professional, working within the VA system, or developing as an educator, seriously consider this program.”

Dr. Macauley Duncan, DPT          macauleyduncanpt@gmail.com

“As an ETSU grad who was familiar with the program, I had some already established expectations of what this residency experience would be.  I have to say that it has far exceeded my expectations on all accounts.  The learning environment of the clinic and didactic classroom is infiltrated with a high level of expertise but also a conducive environment for growth.  I am always pushed to utilize an evidence-based, patient centered approach with constructive guidance and encouragement.  With that being said, the mentors throughout this residency are honestly what make this program so special.  They never fail to place the learning of their residents as the first priority, but what sets them apart is their attention to your personal attributes, desires, and overall satisfaction.  I have not only gained important interprofessional connections, but genuine friendships. I could not recommend this program enough to anyone pursuing orthopedic residency training. I feel like a year won't be nearly long enough with these wonderful people!”

Dr. Dan Nguyen, DPT      dan.hoa.nguyen@gmail.com

“The Mountain Home VA Orthopedic residency has been one of the single best decisions I have made in not just my professional career as a physical therapist, but my personal life as Well. Professionally, I have been challenged and given the room to grow my clinical reasoning skills to a level that would have taken many years to accomplish and now have the skill sets to foster growth in future generations of physical therapists as well as help all my patients. Personally, I have built lifelong friendships with people who have broken bread with a kid from California and accepted me as a brother. Beau, Mike, and Ryan are truly everything one could hope for in a mentor, to help develop and foster your growth into the best version of yourself.”

Resident Name Cohort/Year PT Education Contact Info
Resident Name Macauley Duncan Cohort/Year 2021-2022 PT Education DPT East Tennessee State University Contact Info macauleyduncanpt@gmail.com
Resident Name Katelyn Haney Cohort/Year 2021-2022 PT Education DPT Western Carolina University Contact Info katelynhaney@gmail.com
Resident Name Christa Smith Cohort/Year 2021-2022 PT Education DPT East Tennessee State University Contact Info waldeckerc@etsu.edu
Resident Name Dan Nguyen Cohort/Year 2021-2022 PT Education DPT Samuel Merritt University Contact Info Dan.hoa.nguyen@gmail.com
Resident Name Brant Nickens Cohort/Year 2021-2022 PT Education DPT Belmont University Contact Info Blnickens42@gmail.com
Resident Name Kirby Capps Cohort/Year 2019-2020 PT Education DPT University of Texas MB Galveston Contact Info kirbyjocapps@yahoo.com
Resident Name Whitney Ward Cohort/Year 2019-2020 PT Education DPT Western Carolina University Contact Info Whitneyw48@yahoo.com
Resident Name Chase Edwards Cohort/Year 2018-2019 PT Education DPT Emory and Henry College Contact Info dchaseedwards@gmail.com
Resident Name John Morris Cohort/Year 2018-2019 PT Education DPT Western Carolina University Contact Info Johnjmorris91@gmail.com
Resident Name Ansel Clayton Cohort/Year 2018-2019 PT Education DPT Western Carolina University Contact Info Ansel.clayton@va.gov
Resident Name Jennifer McGrath Cohort/Year 2018-2019 PT Education DPT Quinnipiac University Contact Info Jennifer.pearcy@va.gov

Orthopedic Certified Specialist Board Pass Rate: 100%

Post Residency Federal Employment: 6/9 residents have obtained federal employment post-graduation.

Fellowship Pursuit: 3/9 residents have been accepted into fellowship training post-graduation.