Geriatric Physical Therapy Residency Program
The James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital Physical Therapy Department offers a Geriatric Physical Therapy Residency Program that is accredited by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE). This exciting and innovative program is designed to offer the recently licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy an opportunity to advance their knowledge and skills in the area of geriatric specialty practice in preparation for Geriatric Clinical Specialist (GCS) certification through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS).
Residents are employed full-time by the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital for the year long program and thus must be U.S. citizens. Clinical training consists of managing a caseload of patients with geriatric involvement, mentoring sessions with highly experienced clinical staff (2 to 4 hours/week), as well as a didactic curriculum component. Clinical training opportunities/rotations exist within the following clinical areas: Acute Care Medical/Surgical/ICU, Outpatient, Neuro Gait and Balance, Community Living Center Skilled Nursing Facility (CLC), Cardiac Rehabilitation and Home Health. Residents will also have opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary patient rounds, journal clubs, in-service presentations, scholarly activity, and mentoring doctoral students.
Program Mission Statement
The program prepares qualified physical therapists for geriatric specialty practice who provide exceptional healthcare for the aging Veteran population. The faculty cultivates highly skilled independent clinical specialists utilizing diverse clinical experiences, meaningful mentorship, and comprehensive didactic education. This leads to the development of clinicians who are critical consumers of evidenced based research, consider the whole person while being mindful of the unique needs of the aging adult, value teaching & learning, and uphold the program’s core values.
1. To recruit and passionately mentor residents equipping them to deliver exemplary specialty rehabilitative care for the aging Veteran population.
2. Critically assess and appraise the current literature and integrate the latest relevant evidence into advanced geriatric practice.
3. Exhibit the skills and knowledge to be competent mentors, instructors and advocates of geriatric physical therapy practice.
4. To provide opportunities through direct patient care and specialty observation for residents to excel in geriatric practice for a diverse geriatric patient population and within a variety of practice settings.
5. To graduate caring and compassionate residents who are prepared and committed to pursue and obtain board-certification through ABPTS.
6. The Geriatric Physical Therapy Residency program will obtain full ABPTRFE accreditation.
7. The program will maintain financial stability and program sustainability.
Dr. Amy Firestone, DPT, SCCE, Residency Program Director, PT Supervisor received a Master of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of South Florida in 2006 and joined on with the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital as a staff physical therapist immediately following her graduation. She went on to complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Temple University in 2010. Her clinical experience has included: Polytrauma/TBI, acute care, spinal cord injury, inpatient rehabilitation, orthopaedics, and locomotor training. Dr. Firestone has served as a Neurologic PT residency faculty member since its establishment in 2012 and has been a clinical specialist in locomotor training since 2013. In 2016 she became the Site Coordinator of Clinical Education (SCCE) and Orthopaedic & Neurologic Residency Program Director for the physical therapy department. She continues to serve at the JAHVH in these manners in addition to other duties including being a PT Supervisor, Chair of the Hospital Affiliations Committee, and a member of the hospital education committee. She also serves as an adjunct faculty and member of the Curriculum Committee at the University of South Florida School of Physical Therapy.
Dr. Grace Toyinbo PT, DPT, Board Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist, CEEAA, received her Bachelor of Physical Therapy Degree from the University of Ife, Nigeria in 1981, and earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Boston University in 2006. She received her APTA Board Certification Specialty in Geriatric Physical Therapy in 2014. She is also credentialed as a Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults (CEEAA), received her certification in vestibular rehabilitation from the American Institute of Balance (AIB), and is an APTA certified Clinical Instructor. Dr. Toyinbo began working at the JAHVA hospital in 2009, where she now practices as a Clinical Specialist in Geriatric Physical Therapy. She has had 35 years of professional practice experience in various clinical settings in Nigeria, UK, and USA, including over 4 years of administrative experience as the director of rehabilitation at skilled nursing facilities. She is passionate about helping our veterans achieve and maintain high levels of physical function and health as they age.
Dr. Lisa Siegl, PT, DPT, Board Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist, ACEEAA, received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of South Florida in 2013. She practiced the first 3 years of her career in an outpatient setting specializing in orthopedics, neurology, vestibular and geriatric physical therapy. She transitioned to the James A. Haley VA in 2017. She has worked in the acute care, inpatient rehabilitation and traumatic brain injury clinics. Dr. Siegl is also credentialed as an APTA Certified Clinical Instructor, Advanced Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults, LSVT BIG and in operating the Eksoskeleton. Dr. Siegl has obtained her Board Certification in Geriatric Physical Therapy from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists
Dr. Cynthia Barros, PT, DPT, Board Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist, ACEEAA, graduated from the University of Delaware with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. She is recognized as a Board Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists and she is also an APTA Credentialed Clinical Instructor. Dr. Barros has been a clinician at the James A. Haley’s Acute Care, Spinal Cord Injury, Polytrauma/Traumatic Brain Injury, and Outpatient Physical Therapy clinics. She is also credentialed in LSVT BIG, and as an Advanced Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults; she is passionate about successful and optimal aging in the veteran population.
Dr. Stacey Wenker, PT, DPT, , Board Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist, ACEEAA, received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse in 2017. She began her career at William S. Middleton Veterans’ Hospital and University of Wisconsin Hospital in acute care and inpatient rehabilitation prior to transferring to James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in 2018. While at JAHVA, she has focused her time pursuing her passion of geriatric PT while in acute care and the skilled nursing facility. She is an APTA Certified Clinical Instructor and is passionate about mentoring students. She is also credentialed as an Advanced Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults and in LSVT BIG. Dr. Wenker has obtained her Board Certification in Geriatric Physical Therapy from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists.
Dr. Lauren Maczuga, PT, DPT, Board Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist, received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of South Florida in 2016. She completed the Neurologic Residency program at the James A. Haley VA from 2016-2017 and obtained her Board Certification Specialty in Neurologic Physical Therapy from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists in 2018. Dr. Maczuga is LSVT BIG certified and has been a clinician at the James A. Haley Acute Care, Neuro Gait and Balance, Polytrauma, Spinal Cord Injury, and Vestibular clinics.
- US citizen
- Applicant must have a degree from CAPTE accredited program
- Successful/satisfactorily completed National Physical Therapy Examination
- Applicant must obtain PT license prior to beginning the program (may be obtained from any state). A temporary license is sufficient to begin the program but the applicant must obtain their permanent license while in the program.
- 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). Should you have any other questions please contact Dr. Amy Firestone at Amy.Firestone@va.gov.