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Geriatric Physical Therapy Residency Program

VA Northern California’s developing residency program is designed to offer robust and comprehensive clinical learning across four practice settings. The residency faculty is composed of seasoned and passionate physical therapists, who are highly versed in pre and post-professional education. The range of their specialty areas are broad and well connected to the health care needs of older adults.

The clinical training offered through this program will help the resident prepare for Geriatric Clinical Specialist (GCS) certification from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS).

The VA Northern California Health Care System employs the residents full-time for the year-long program. Clinical training consists of managing caseloads involving older adults, weekly mentoring with experienced clinical staff , and a didactic curriculum. The clinical training opportunities are spread out over Acute Care, Skilled Inpatient Rehabilitation, Home Health, Outpatient, Health & Wellness, Vestibular Rehab, Brain Injury, Pelvic Health and Chronic Pain clinics. Residents also participate in interdisciplinary patient rounds/clinics, journal clubs, staff in-service presentations, research project participation or exposure, clinical instruction to doctoral students, surgery observation, and special gait analysis experience with UC Davis BRaIN lab staff.

Mission statement

The mission of VA Northern California Health Care System Geriatric Residency is to provide advanced, evidence-based education to physical therapists in the area of geriatric physical therapy so they will provide specialist-level care to the veterans we serve. The residency curriculum will include best practices, incorporation of patient outcome measures to ensure enhanced patient care and client education. The program will promote growth and practice continuous improvement and strategic initiatives in support of the Mission of the VA.


  • The VANCHCS Geriatric Residency will provide excellent mentoring and resources in support of the residents.
  • The  VANCHCS Residency will provide an up to date, evidence-based curriculum to the residents.
  • The  VANCHCS Residency Program will achieve and maintain full accreditation status with ABPTRFE.
  • The  VANCHCS Residency Program's key components of the residency are sustainable.
  • The Residency Program will support the mission and core values of the VANCHCS, to improve the quality of care to geriatric veterans served by advanced geriatric practitioners.
  • The VANCHCS Residency Program will prepare the resident to effectively communicate with patients/clients, referral sources, clinical faculty, administration, physicians, and other members of the health care team.

The program's comprehensive curriculum will follow all Learning Domains set forth by the most recent version of the ABPTRFE Description of Residency Practice (DRP) in Geriatrics. Educational methods will be broad to ensure the participants are advancing their level of mastery, and meeting all defined competencies in the ABPTS Description of Specialty Practice (DSP). 


Curriculum Design will follow a structured, systematic process that ensures content validity in accordance with the ABPTRFE DRP in Geriatrics. Clinical experiences will occur in the four practice areas of Acute, Outpatient, Home Health and Skilled Nursing care. The curriculum of the program ensures congruency between clinical and didactic components.  The curriculum design observes and follows ABPTRFE Quality Standards requirements, such as residency program clinical hours of no less than 1,500 being met.  300 educational hours and 150 hours or more of 1:1 mentoring will be provided throughout the program.

VANCHCS Geriatrics PT Residency didactic curriculum will include online offerings from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Learning Center, MedBridge, Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Talent Management System and staff presentations. This residency offers remote access for completion of some didactic components off-site.

How to Apply

Admission requirements

  • U.S. citizen
  • 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 plans to become licensed prior to residency start date or are awaiting the results of the National Physical Therapy Exam.
  • Am I Eligible? Checklist for VA Health Professions Trainee (HPT) 

Application procedures

To view our program profile, please visit the ABPTRFE website. If you have met or will meet requirements prior to residency start date you may apply using the APTA Residency/Fellowship Physical Therapist Centralized Application Services (RF-PTCAS). All applicants must participate in an interview process and submit all required paperwork if selected.


Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)

When will this residency program begin?

The VANCHCS Geriatrics Physical Therapy Residency Program begins July, 2024. 

How many residents do you accept?

This residency program accepts one resident each academic year. 

How long is this program?

This is a one-year, temporary appointment.

What will my schedule look like?

Residents at this facility will have 6 to 10 hours each week devoted to didactic curriculum time and one-on-one mentoring. The remaining 30-34 hours are set aside for clinical patient care obligations. Time outside of regular hours is expected for additional didactic components and presentation preparations. The resident's tour of duty is 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, although this schedule may change based on mentors' schedules and patient care needs. Weekend and holiday work may be required.

What does mentoring entail?

"Mentoring is a professional relationship where a more experienced mentor guides a less experienced mentee to promote professional growth in a clinical setting. It is different from providing clinical instruction to the entry-level Physical Therapy student. It is pre-planned to meet specific educational objectives and facilitate the development of advanced professional behaviors, clinical decision making, proficiency in communications, and consultation skills.” (APTA 2012). Our program has a minimum of 150 hours of 1:1 mentoring.

Will I receive a stipend/salary?

Yes. The salary is determined annually by the VA Office of Academic Affiliations. The salary for 2024 is $65,287.

Will I be eligible for benefits?

Yes. Benefits include health insurance and options for vision and dental insurance. Residents receive ongoing accrual of 4 hours of paid annual leave and 4 hours of sick leave per biweekly pay period. Residents also receive 11 paid federal holidays each year.

Will I have an opportunity to attend a professional meeting or continuing education courses?

Geriatrics PT Residents are encouraged to attend combined Sections (CSM) and/or credentialing course series; Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults (CEEAA).  Funding from VA Northern CA may be available, however is not guaranteed. Medbridge and other online educational courses will be provided. 

Will I be eligible for a job at the VA upon graduation from the residency?

Residents in good standing will be encouraged to apply for job vacancies within the VA system, but a job is not guaranteed. We will help support residents during the Spring as they search and apply for potential post-graduation employment opportunities.

VA Northern California PT Residency Financial Fact Sheet


Dr. Neil Gregor

Dr. Neil Gregor PT, DPT, GCS, CEEAA

PT Residency and Gerofit Director

VA Northern California health care

Dr. Gregor received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2008 and his Geriatrics Specialization from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in 2014.

Neil has provided Geriatrics focused care in home health, skilled nursing and outpatient settings. 
Dr. Gregor is a Director of the Northern California VA Health Care System’s (VANCHCS) Exercise and Wellness Program, GEROFIT. He is also Director and a Mentor for the VANCHCS Geriatric Physical Therapy Residency Program. As a credentialed Clinical Instructor, Neil has taught Physical Therapy students for over ten years.

Dr. Gregor has graciously donated his time to his profession. He has served as a public reviewer for clinical practice guidelines for rehabilitation following hip fracture and as a state advocate for the Academy of Geriatrics under the American Physical Therapy Association. Neil has a deep seeded passion for Geriatrics focused education, rural health care and preventative medicine services. Above all, what Dr. Gregor loves most in his career, is providing patient-centered care, developing meaningful connections with those he serves, and the countless life lessons learned from them.

Dr. Angela Labastida

Dr. Angela Labastida PT, DPT

Program Coordinator, Geriatric Residency Program

VA Northern California health care

Dr. Angela Labastida received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy degree from Samuel Merritt University in 2009.

After graduating, she started her career in the private sector at a skilled nursing facility.  In 2011, Dr. Labastida began her journey with the VA, taking a position in the Center for Rehabilitation and Extended Care in Martinez, CA. She took over the role of Site Coordinator of Clinical Education (SCCE) for the Northern California Health Care System in 2014. Since taking over the role as SCCE, she has placed dozens of students at various sites throughout Northern California. Angela is a certified clinical instructor and personally takes 1-2 students every year.

Angela is currently serving her second two-year term as a member of the National Clinical Education Strategic Workgroup, a group aimed to assist Physical Therapy clinical educators in VAs across the nation. Angela serves as the coordinator for the Geriatric Residency Program and will also serve as a mentor for the resident.

Dr. Sarah L. Yanko

Dr. Sarah Yanko PT, DPT, GCS, CWS, CEEAA, RYT-500

APTA certified Clinical Instructor

VA Northern California health care

Dr. Yanko earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from St. Catherine’s University in 2008. In 2011 she became Wound Care Certified (WCC) and in 2016 earned the Certified Wound Specialist (CWS) designation through the American Board of Wound Management and allowed her WCC to lapse after. Additionally, she pursued and was granted Geriatric Certified Specialist (GCS) in 2018 by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. 

Dr. Yanko transferred to the Northern California system 2023, where she is serving as a Physical Therapist wound specialist.  Prior to transferring to Northern California, she served veterans at the Tomah, Wisconsin VAMC in a variety of clinical roles, one of which was wound care.   She also has clinical experience working with inpatient rehabilitation, long-term care, outpatient, and home-based primary care veteran populations using traditional and complimentary therapy modalities.  She has served on a variety of teams and committees committed to improving care and quality of life for veterans.

Early on in her VA Wound Care career, she collaborated with the facility wound nurse to develop an outpatient interdisciplinary wound clinic. She served as a mentor/subject matter expert to other PMR therapists, along with other disciplines.  Dr. Yanko participated in the Tomah VA Pressure Injury Prevention Committee from 2009-2023.   Dr. Yanko is an APTA certified Clinical Instructor.

Dr. David Crivello, facility member and mentor for the VA Northern California Geriatric Residency Program.

Dr. David Crivello PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS

Exercise and wellness program, Gerofit co-director

VA Northern California health care

Dr. Crivello received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy Degree from the University of the Pacific in 2012.

He achieved his Orthopedic Specialization from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists in 2019.
Crivello’s clinical experiences lie primarily in outpatient orthopedics but include Home Health Physical Therapy and Acute Care Physical Therapy. Crivello joined VA Northern California in 2015. In preparation for his Orthopedic Specialization, Crivello attended a yearlong Musculoskeletal Residency at Baylor University in 2018. He currently serves as the Co-Director of the VA Northern California Gerofit Program. He is also a board member of the National Pilot Program for Joint Health Management in conjunction with the Memphis VA. Dr. Crivello also is a certified Dry Needling practitioner. Crivello serves as a facility member and mentors for the VA Northern California Geriatric Residency Program.

Dr. Karina Ortiz, Clinical Educator in the specialty area Pelvic Health for the VA Northern California Geriatric Residency Program.

Dr. Karina Ortiz PT, DPT

Clinical Educator

VA Northern California health care

Dr. Ortiz received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy Degree from the University of Southern California in 2019. She was a student at VA Palo Alto Health Care System and began working at VA Martinez in July 2019. Prior to the pandemic, she led the Parkinson’s Disease Group Class. In 2021, she established the Pelvic Health Clinic at VA Martinez through the support of the Women’s Health Innovation and Staffing Enhancements and the Office of Rural Health “Enhancing Pelvic Health Across the Continuum” Grants. She has undergone extensive pelvic health physical therapy specialty training since 2021 and has undergone pelvic health specialty mentorship training to improve patient outcomes in pelvic health.

She is the Director of the NorCal VA Pregnancy, Postpartum and Pre-prostatectomy classes and is passionate about pelvic health access and education. She is currently pursuing ABPTS Women’s Health Clinical Specialty and APTA Certificate of Achievement in Obstetric Physical Therapy. Dr. Karina serves as a Clinical Educator in the specialty area Pelvic Health for the VA Northern California Geriatric Residency Program.

Dr. Henry Perlman

Dr. Henry Perlman PT, DPT, GCS

VA Northern California health care

Dr. Perlman received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2017 from Touro at Nevada.  His interest in the geriatric population motivated him to become a Geriatrics Specialist from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in 2023.  Dr. Perlman has years of geriatric-centered care in acute, home health, skilled nursing, and outpatient settings.  Dr. Perlman loves the synergistic relationship between teaching and learning that first began while working for the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, NV.   Colleagues have described him as genuine, caring, and hard-working with a passion for geriatric physical therapy. 

Dr. Carolynn Patten

Dr. Carolynn Patten PhD, PT, FAPTA

Research Career Scientist

VA Northern California health care

Dr. Patten is a neuroscientist and physical therapist who specializes in assessing and treating motor dysfunction associated with aging and adult neuropathologies, such as stroke.

She directs the UC Davis Biomechanics, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Neuroscience (BRaIN) Lab is a Co-Director of the UC Davis Center for Neuroengineering and Medicine. In addition to her primary faculty role at UC Davis School of Medicine, Dr. Patten is a senior investigator with the VA Northern California Health Care System. She holds Research Career Scientist status.

Dr. Kate Schopmeyer

Dr. Kate Schopmeyer PT, DPT, CSCS, CPE

Clinician, educator, and program coordinator

VA Northern California health care

Dr. Schopmeyer is a clinician, educator, and program coordinator specializing in interdisciplinary pain rehabilitation.

She is actively driving practice changes for pain care via national and regional committees and workgroups, both within the VHA and the non-VA health care community. Her primary goals in clinical work are to foster active patient engagement through education, train behaviors that promote self-management, and teach people how to re-engage in life while living with persistent pain. She believes pain care is a “team sport,” that knowledge is power, and that movement is the best medicine.