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Geriatric Physical Therapy Residency Program

Program Overview

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.

JAHVH Geriatric Physical Therapy Residency Program accepts two (2) qualified residents.
As of close of 2023 Academic Year, JAHVH Geriatric Physical Therapy Residency Program has the following outcomes:
100% Graduation Rate (3/3)
100% Board Pass Rate (2/2, 1 sitting for 2024 exam)
75% Completion Rate (2023: 1/2, 2022: 1/1, 2021: 1/1)

Program Mission Statement and Goals

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 evidence-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.

Program Goals

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 program maintains ‘good standing’ and full ABPTRFE accreditation.

7. The program will maintain financial stability and program sustainability.

Geriatric Residency Faculty

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. 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. 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. 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.


How To Apply

Admission Requirements

  • 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.
  • Health Professions Trainees (HPTs) are appointed as 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 the information you need to understand the requirement and reasons for the requirement in a timely manner.

Application Procedures

  • 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 the program coordinator, Dr. Cynthia Barros, at or Residency Director, Dr. Amy Firestone at


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