Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency
The mission of VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System's Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program is to systematically advance the resident’s clinical competence and expertise in the practice of Orthopaedic physical therapy. The experiences provided through the enriched environment and structured learning opportunities will prepare the resident for successful completion of the Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist certification examination.
- Prepare physical therapy residents to become advanced practice practitioners of Orthopaedic physical therapy.
- Prepare physical therapy residents to attain Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist Certification
- Advance resident's competence in the utilization of research to provide effective care for patients/clients presenting with a variety of Orthopaedic health conditions.
- Prepare resident to effectively communicate with patients/clients, referral sources, payers, clinical faculty, administration, physicians, and other members of the health care team
- Provide opportunities for the resident to teach and mentor others in Orthopaedic physical therapy
- Support the teaching mission of VA and demonstrates quality and value for Orthopaedic physical therapy specialty practice by enrolling qualified applicants and meeting or exceeding American Board of Physical Therapy Resident and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) standards.
- Upon completion of the residency program, participants will provide specialized physical therapy services to patients/clients with orthopaedic health conditions and serve as advisors to other healthcare professionals on complicated cases.
- Upon completion of the residency program, participants will be prepared to sit for ABPTS exam for specialty board-certification in Orthopaedic Physical therapy. Participants recognize the value of specialty board certification and become board certified clinical specialists in orthopaedic physical therapy.
- Upon completion of the residency program, participants will pursue current evidence in advanced clinical practice to provide specialized evidence-based care to orthopaedic patients. Participants demonstrate commitment to lifelong learning through their pursuit of on-going continuing education and additional post-graduate certificates.
- Upon completion of the residency program, participants will effectively communicate and collaborate with patients/clients, caregivers, referral sources, payers, clinical faculty, administration, physicians, and other members of the health care team.
- Upon completion of the residency program, participants will serve as a mentor in to colleagues, residents, and students in Orthopaedic physical therapy.
- Upon completion of the residency program, participants will Utilize self-assessment, reflection and feedback from others to continually improve their clinical, communication and teaching knowledge, skills and abilities.
Curriculum includes readings/home study, observation, education sessions from faculty members, 1-on-1 mentoring, practicing in community clinic, and didactic hands-on practice of advanced skills for psychomotor training. Trainings will be completed at the Cleveland VA Medical Center and surrounding areas as appropriate. Topics including:
- Foundations- Imaging, Pharmacology, Research, Professional Development, Documentation, Medical Screening, Amputee Care, Safe Patient Handling, Pain Science
- Lumbar Spine
- Cervical Spine
- Thoracic Spine
- Regenerative medicine
How To Apply
- Either a licensed physical therapist within one of the 50 U.S. states -OR- a doctoral student from a CAPTE accredited physical therapy program who is eligible for licensure and graduates prior to commencement of the program. The applicant must obtain a state license during the first testing cycle following program initiation. Failure to pass the license examination will require the applicant to terminate the program. In addition:
- U.S. Citizens
- Able to comply with all VANEOHS employment requirements
- Residency applicants must submit the following to the Residency and Fellowship Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (RF-PTCAS) prior to application deadline:
- Resume/ curriculum vitae
- Essay statement- 500 words or less
- Official Transcripts
- Two Letters of Recommendation
If you have or will meet requirements prior to residency start date you may apply using the APTA Residency/Fellowship Physical Therapist Centralized Application Services (RF-PTCAS). For more information on using this application service to apply for this residency program please visit: RF-PTCAS | Applicant Login Page Section (liaisoncas.com)
Should you have any other questions please contact:
Bryan Geletka PT, DPT, OCS
Maria Rufener PT, DSC, OCS, COMT, FAAOMPT Maria.Rufener@va.gov
Resident Outcomes and Testimonials
As of 2023 the data includes residents who sat for examination as of 2023:
- 100% graduation rate
- 100% specialty board pass rate
- 75% employed in the VHA healthcare system
“I am very happy that I completed the residency program and feel that it has had a very positive effect on my career path. I would recommend other therapists consider the residency in the future. “
- Orthopedic Resident 2014-2015
“I don't think I could have been the therapist I am today if not going through this residency. Great opportunity to learn from therapists that are practicing with modern evidence and also teach very well. I would recommend this residency to anyone that wants to better their skills and strive for greatness”
- Orthopedic Resident 2020-2021
"A great opportunity to hone clinical decision-making skills with guided mentorship and advanced didactic curriculum"”
- Orthopedic Resident 2021-2022
Meet the Staff
Bryan Geletka, PT, DPT, OCS (Geriatric/Orthopedic Residency Director) received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Youngstown State University in1997. In 1999, he received his Bachelors of Science in Physical Therapy from Youngstown State University. In 2016 Dr. Geletka became a Board-Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. Dr. Geletka completed his Doctorate of Physical Therapy and his certification in Orthopedic Manual Therapy from EIM Institute of Health Science in 2019. He is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association. Dr. Geletka is the Section Chief, Rehabilitation Therapies Service Manager at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. He worked in outpatient Orthopaedics before joining the Cleveland VA Medical Center. Dr. Geletka currently serves as a faculty member of the Orthopaedic and Geriatric Residency Programs teaching the musculoskeletal module (Geriatric Residency).
Maria Rufener PT, DSc, OCS, COMT, FAAOMPT (Program Coordinator- Orthopaedic Residency/Mentor/Faculty) received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Cleveland State University and her Masters of Physical Therapy Degree from Cleveland State University in 2003. She received her Doctorate of Science at Andrews University in 2016. Dr. Rufener began working at the Cleveland VA Medical Center conducting outpatient care in 2004 where she is still currently employed. She currently serves as the Cleveland VA Orthopedic Residency Program Coordinator. Dr. Rufener also is a clinical residency mentor and serves as a clinical faculty member for the Cleveland VA Orthopedic Residency program teaching coursework in the Cervical Spine, Thoracic Spine, and Craniomandibular dysfunction. Dr. Rufener also teaches the manual assessment and treatment portion or the sacroiliac, knee, ankle, and foot modules. She completed her Orthopaedic Manual Therapy fellowship in 2017, and Certification of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy with the North American Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy (NAIOMT) in 2015. In recent years Dr. Rufener has become a Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist, Certified in functional dry needling, and taken multiple manual therapy specific courses.
Kevin Brochetti PT, DPT, OCS, Cert. DN, C-OMPT, FAAOMPT (Mentor/Faculty): graduated from the Doctoral of physical therapy program at Cleveland State University in 2013. Upon graduation, Kevin accepted a job with VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System, in the outpatient setting. He has since completed his certification of orthopaedic manual therapy, orthopaedic residency, and orthopaedic and manual fellowship at the Institute of Therapeutic Sciences. Kevin has also obtained board certification as an orthopaedic clinical specialist, certification in dry needling, and has attended numerous manual therapy continuing education courses of various philosophies. He is an active member of the Northeast Ohio Physical Therapy Association and has continually maintained an APTA membership. Kevin has a strong passion for teaching, and has presented as a guest lecturer, at continuing education courses, and at local/state events.
Joan Hollis, PT, COMT, OCS, cert MDT, DSc(candidate) (Mentor/ Faculty) As a Clinical Specialist, she has served as a mentor for residents, for the past 8 years. Joan develops and teaches Hip and Lumbar Spine modules, as well as Lumbar Directional Preference examination. She’s currently working toward a Doctor of Science (DSC) in Physical Therapy, with an emphasis on Orthopedic Manual Therapy from Andrews University, Berrien Springs MI, with anticipated graduation date of 2020. She earned her Physical Therapy degree from St. Louis University and worked as Manager of the Center for the Spine at Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and in outpatient clinics including pediatric and private practice, for over thirty-five years. Her affiliations/ certifications include: Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (cert. MDT) (2012); ABPTFRE Board Certification as an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) (2014); North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy (NAIOMT) Certification, CMPT (2018) and COMT (2019); Fellow-in-Training through NAIOMT (2018); APTA Advanced Certified Clinical Instructor (ACCIP) (2015); American Association of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT) the McKenzie Institute, and the Orthopedic Institute of the APTA.
Damian Keter PT, DPT, PhD(c), OCS, Cert. DN (Mentor/Faculty), earned his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Chatham University in 2013 and is currently a Philosophy Doctorate (PhD) candidate through Youngstown State University. He achieved Board Certification as an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist in 2017. He completed a Certificate program in Chronic Pain Rehabilitation through the Retrain Pain Organization in 2018. Dr. Keter is a clinical faculty member for the Cleveland VA Orthopedic Residency program teaching coursework in Pain Science, Shoulder dysfunction, Cervical, and Thoracic spine. Dr. Keter has taken coursework in the Maitland, Mckenzie, and Mulligan methods of Physical Therapy and is certified in Dry Needling. He has guest lectured and taught continuing education courses related to pain science and manual therapy. Dr. Keter has published peer reviewed literature on the topic of orthopedic manual therapy. He is currently serving an appointment to the Specialization Academy of Content Experts for the APTA.
Amber Simecek, PT, DPT OCS, CMTPT (Mentor/Faculty), earned her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Gannon University in 2006 and immediately began work as an officer in the Army, serving as a Physical Therapist in the Medical Specialty corps states side and overseas. After completing her tour of duty in the military, she began working as a staff CLC/Skilled Nursing Physical Therapist at the Cleveland VA Medical Center in 2010. Dr Simecek achieved her Orthopedic Specialization from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in 2015. She assisted in the development of the Orthopaedic and Geriatric Residency programs at the Cleveland VA. Dr. Simecek then transitioned into a role as a mentor and faculty member and moved to the clinical outpatient setting to care for veteran patients. She continues to serve as mentor and faculty member within the Orthopaedic Residency program teaching modules on the imaging, ankle/foot and wrist/ hand. Dr. Simecek recently completed her Certification as a Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist with the focus on Functional Dry Needling. She is currently enrolled in additional coursework toward Certification in Hand Therapy, as is working toward further manual therapy certifications including fellowship training.
Kaimee Devore, PT, DPT, GCS (Faculty) received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from Walsh University in 2015. Following graduation, she completed Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center Geriatric Residency in 2015. She then transitioned to a full-time staff physical therapist at Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. Dr. Devore achieved her Geriatric Specialization from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in 2017. In addition to clinical responsibilities Dr. Devore serves as faculty member for both the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Geriatric and Orthopedic Residencies.
Thomas Eaton, PT, DPT, SCCE, (Faculty) graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from Youngstown State University in 1999. He has been employed with the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center since July of 2000. Dr. Eaton has past clinical experience with Inpatient Physical Therapy care providing coverage in a variety of specialties including Intensive Care, Vascular, Bariatric, Orthopedic and General Surgery, as well as the Inpatient Acute Rehabilitation services. In 2011, he became a full-time member of the Outpatient Physical Therapy team where he continues to serve Veterans to this date. Dr. Eaton serves as a clinical faculty member of our Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency Program specializing in Evidence Based Practice and assessment of the Elbow. Since 2004 he has acted as Site Coordinator of Clinical Education. The Cleveland VA currently manages Affiliation Agreements with eighteen PT and twenty OT Academic Institutions and provides outstanding clinical experiences to numerous Physical Therapy and Physical Therapy Assistant students. In 2019, Dr. Eaton completed the transitional Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Montana. He is certified in Functional Dry Needling and his clinical passions include Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment (MDT) of both the lumbar and cervical spine.
Jessica Jozwiak, PT, DPT, OCS (Faculty) received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from Cleveland State University in 2013. She completed an Orthopaedic Residency at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center in 2015 and transitioned to a full-time staff physical therapist. Dr. Jozwiak has become a Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist, Certified in functional dry needling and taken multiple manual therapy specific courses. She is currently enrolled in Bellin College’s Manual Therapy Fellowship program.
Adam Wendt, MPT, GCS, CEEAA (Faculty) graduated with his Physical Therapist Assistant degree in 2001 from Lorain County Community College and then went on to earn his master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Cleveland State University in 2005. He began working at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center in 2006 and now serves as the program coordinator and primary clinical mentor for the Geriatric Physical Therapy Residency program. Mr. Wendt teaches the vestibular module for both the geriatric and Orthopedic Residency programs as well as the cardio/pulmonary and frailty/exercise prescription modules for the geriatric residency program. Adam also has a clinical interest in the management of vestibular dysfunction and is Herdman certified in vestibular rehabilitation and intervention. He is the primary therapist responsible for the outpatient vestibular clinic which he played an integral role in establishing. He is a member of the team that provides clinical management to the OEF/OIF/OND and poly-trauma clinic. Mr. Wendt was also recently selected to participate in the 2019 Geriatric Scholars program at the VA. This program is designed to enhance clinical care of medically complex geriatric patients. Adam has participated in several speaking engagements through local and national VA clinics as well as Lorain County Community College to clinicians and students. Adam is actively engaged as a consultant in the community at the collegiate level working with Walsh University, Cleveland State University, and Lorain County Community College.