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Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program

Welcome to the Physical Therapy Residency information page. Thank you for your interest in our residency training program where we take pride in our training post-professionals to become experts in the field. We understand the importance of motivating and inspiring our residents through didactic instruction, mentorship, research and clinical experience.

Program Overview

The Washington DC Veterans Affairs Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program is designed to develop qualified post-professional physical therapists in advanced orthopaedic specialty practice to provide Veterans with the highest quality of care and improve functional outcomes. This is achieved through the integration of post-doctoral clinical experience, mentorship and didactic education by our highly skilled mentors.

Program Highlights

  • 1:1 mentorship by highly dedicated and experienced clinical mentors
  • Affiliation with Marymount University, Department of Physical Therapy
  • On-site Orthopaedic and Neurologic Clinical Specialists
  • On-site Amputee Care Team
  • Designated as a Polytrauma Network Site, Polytrauma Amputation Network Site, CARF & Joint Commission Accredited

Program Benefits

  • Competitive salary
  • Health and Dental Insurance eligible
  • Paid leave and sick days
  • Federal holidays
  • Onsite library and access to online library services
  • One year appointment at the Washington DC VA Medical Center

Curriculum Overview

The curriculum is structured by region of the body but remains and open and dynamic instrument. Each year, the curriculum is reviewed to adapt the best practice standards and is actively updated to reflect emerging evidence. Each scheduled mentorship period offers didactic training in a specified subject, followed by lab instruction where the skills are further developed. The resident is then provided with clinical mentorship for direct patient care for application of the concepts and skills. While the concepts and skills are pre-set by the curriculum, the guidance is tailored to the individual based upon the learning styles and preferences established during onboarding and orientation.

Educational methods and resources available to the residents

  • National VA Residency Journal Club
  • Monthly journal club (Washington DC VAMC)
  • Combined Sections Meeting
  • Lab Instructor opportunity with Marymount University
  • Specialty clinic observations
    • Amputee clinic
    • Podiatry
    • Driver’s rehab
    • Certified Hand Therapist
    • Orthopedics
    • Pain Management Clinic
    • Pelvic Floor specialty clinic
    • Acute care rotation
    • ALS, MS and SCI clinics
    • Vestibular Rehabilitation
  • Independent study/scholarly project
  • Rehab Grand Rounds
  • Community service activities in collaboration with Marymount University
  • Didactic instruction provided by mentors and program consultants
  • Research study participation with the Center for Research and Development at the VA Medical Center
  • Surgical observations (Opportunities to observe the following: carpal tunnel release, total hip replacements, total knee replacements and cardiothoracic surgical procedures)
  • Access to Anatomy TV

Educational methods specific to Marymount University

The Marymount students and residents have access to all courses offered that semester through Canvas (our learning management system). Canvas houses recordings of all lectures and labs and access to documents used as course materials. Course materials include but are not limited to lecture and/or lab handouts, in-class activities, tutorial patient cases and quizzes and/or exams. In addition, the residents are given access to any courses taught in our curriculum, regardless of course offerings that semester. As an example, the residents typically study the pediatrics course content and materials although they are not enrolled in that course. The resident is eligible to attend all the curricular and co or extra-curricular activities sponsored by our program either in person or using a distance learning format (synchronous or asynchronous). In the past, activities included clinical grand rounds, lectures, laboratories, DEI discussions, invited guest lectures and continuing education courses. Lastly, the resident is enrolled in all courses and activities as a teaching assistant, giving the resident a higher level of access to materials than students enrolled in the program.

Clinical Faculty

PT Residency Program Director
Dr. Latasha Thomas, PT, DPT, NCS

Latasha Thomas received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from George Washington University in 2010. She worked in an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy practice for three years and enjoyed medically complex patients. In 2014, she graduated from the MedStar Rehabilitation Network and George Washington University’s Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program. Shortly thereafter, she joined the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Service. In 2015, she obtained her Board Certification in Neurologic Physical Therapy from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.

During her career at the DC VA Medical Center, she has served as the Site Coordinator for Clinical Education and assisted in the development of the Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency curriculum. She continues to serve as a Clinical Instructor to pre-professional students and a clinical mentor to the orthopaedic residents during the vestibular and neurologic gait modules.  She also enjoys the opportunity to teach as adjunct faculty at the George Washington University Doctor of Physical Therapy program.  Outside of the clinic, she loves spending time with her family, travel, singing, dancing and reading.

PT Orthopaedic Residency Program Coordinator
Dr. Obioma Ogbuawa, PT, DPT, OCS

Obioma Ogbuawa is a physical therapist and Orthopedic Residency Coordinator at the Washington D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In her current role, she is the Physical Therapy and Kinesiotherapy Supervisor and a mentor in the residency program.  She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science from Howard University and earned her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Obioma joined the Washington D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2013 and started off as an Amputee Physical therapist prior to sitting for the Orthopedic specialist exam in 2016.   She enjoys working with all patient populations and clinical settings and loves education. The VA has been able to bridge both of those interests with the Residency Program.  Outside of work, catch her if you can as she loves traveling and spending time with her family!       

Residency Mentor
Dr. Melanie Millstein, PT, DPT, OCS

Melanie Millstein graduated from University of South Florida with her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2011.  Prior to earning her DPT, Melanie attended the University of Florida with her Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology in 2008.  Melanie started at the Washington DC VA Medical Center in 2013 as a staff physical therapist.  Within 3 years, she became Board Certified as an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist and was one of the first mentors of the Orthopedic residency program.  Melanie is certified in dry needling and has received advanced training in spinal manipulation.  Most recently, Melanie has received training in rehabilitation of pelvic health conditions and plans to continue blending her orthopedic background with pelvic health.   She enjoys treating the athletic and chronic pain population and helping people get back to active lifestyles and improve their quality of life.  In her free time, she enjoys running, crossfit, and spending time with her husband and pups.

Residency Mentor
Dr. Erin Dennis, PT, DPT, OCS

Erin Dennis graduated from Sacred Heart University in 2010 with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She began her career in an outpatient physical therapy private practice and returned to SHU’s DPT program as adjunct faculty. She has since expanded her practice through acute care, military facilities and now in the Veteran’s Affairs. Erin’s love of teaching has been a common thread throughout her career, working as adjunct faculty, clinical instructor and residency mentor. Her passion for life-long learning has motivated her to seek wide range of educational opportunities including dry needling, battlefield acupuncture and Maitland COMT (to be completed 2022 baring COVID). Erin has been a board certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist since 2017 at which point she began mentoring in the DC VAMC Orthopedic Residency program. Erin is currently the DC VA Total Joint PT Program manager and is heading open research protocols on total joint functional outcomes. When Erin isn’t working, you can find her hiking with her husband and their dogs, teaching yoga, baking bread, gardening or reading a library book.

Residency Mentor
Dr. Arsalan Khan, PT, DPT, OCS

Arsalan Khan is a physical therapist and residency advisor at the Washington D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In his current role, he teaches in the residency program, provides mentoring, is a clinical instructor for physical therapy students, and participates in clinical research. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Human Health and Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University (Go Rams!!). He then took his talents to Tampa where he earned his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida. In seeking clinical excellence, he decided to pursue a Board-Certified Clinical Specialty in Orthopedics and was rewarded the certification in 2018. Arsalan has taken continuing education courses from institutions such as Maitland, McKenzie, Institute of Physical Arts, and Mid-Atlantic Manual Therapy Consultants to name a few. Over the years he has adopted current evidence in order to provide the most up to date and highest quality of care. A principal concept in his care consists of patient empowerment through education. Outside of work you can find him blocking the right lane of traffic as a road cyclist or in the gym emulating Kobe Bryant. As a DMV native, he is an avid supporter of the hometown sports clubs and hopes to see a winning product in his lifetime.

How to Apply

Admission Requirements:

  • United States Citizenship
  • Must obtain a degree from a CAPTE accredited Physical Therapy Program Successful
  • English language proficiency
  • Physical Therapy Licensure (must be obtained prior to beginning the program and the active license may be from any state)

Application Procedures:

Our program profile can be viewed on the ABPTRFE website. If you have met or will meet the admission requirements prior to the residency start date in August, you may apply but submitting your application using the APTA Residency and Fellowship Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (RF-PTCAS)

If you have additional questions or concerns regarding the application procedures, please contact Latasha Thomas at Latasha.Thomas2@va.gov

**Applications are due by January 31st and the 12-month residency begins in August every year

Program Outcomes
100% ABPTS OCS pass rate on the first attempt
80% program graduation rate

Frequently Asked Questions

There is no cost or tuition for enrollment in the residency program. If you are selected for the residency program, you will be considered an employee on a one-year appointment for the duration of the residency.

The salary is determined by the Office of Academic Affiliations and is determined prior to the start of the academic year. The program salary is subject to change and further information can be provided by contacting the Residency Program Director.

Benefits will include eligibility for sick leave accrual, paid federal holidays, health, vision and dental benefits.

The residency is a 12-month program if a resident meets all requirements in the curriculum.

  • Acute care
  • Subacute rehab
  • Outpatient
  • Vestibular rehab
  • Amputee rehab
  • Pelvic health
  • Pain Clinic
  • Physician specialty clinics (podiatry, orthopedics, etc)

Your schedule is subject to change depending on departmental needs; however, the hours are typically from 8:00am to 4:30 pm from Monday through Friday. Specialty experiences may include weekend days for community service or activities from time to time.


Contact Us

Latasha Thomas

Latasha Thomas PT, DPT, NCS

PT Residency Program Director

VA Washington DC health care

Email: Latasha.Thomas2@va.gov

Obioma Ogbuawa

Obioma Ogbuawa PT, DPT, OCS

PT Orthopaedic Residency Program Coordinator

VA Washington DC health care

Email: Obioma.Ogbuawa@va.gov

Melanie Millstein

Melanie Millstein PT, DPT, OCS

Residency Mentor

VA Washington DC health care

Erin Dennis

Erin Dennis PT, DPT, OCS

Residency Mentor

VA Washington DC health care

Arsalan Khan

Arsalan Khan PT, DPT, OCS

Residency Mentor

VA Washington DC health care