A new residency program in Geriatric Physical Therapy has received accreditation from the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE). The program is a collaboration between the Cincinnati Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center and UC’s Doctorate Program in Physical Therapy, housed in the College of Allied Health Sciences.
The program was established in 2012 as part of a three-year pilot study funded by the Veterans Administration’s Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA). The accreditation marks Cincinnati’s program as both the first geriatric physical therapy residency in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and one of five credentialed and fully funded year-long residencies through the OAA.
"Residency programs are relatively new to our profession,” says Chalee Engelhard, EdD, assistant professor of rehabilitation sciences at UC. "Residency program development in the physical therapy profession began around 1999 and has been growing rapidly over the past several years.”
Engelhard also directs clinical education within UC’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. She says that while PT residencies are typically completed immediately following graduation, some practicing physical therapists—including the first resident in the Cincinnati program—use a residency program to enhance their skills and professional development.
Program director Alice Holder, DPT, says the residency helps the Cincinnati VA Medical Center address the needs of its patient population and provides professional development in a growing field.
"At the VA, our veteran population is aging. We want to be at the forefront of improving care and access for them—while providing professional development for physical therapists interested in serving the geriatric population.”
The program accepts two physical therapists each spring for the year-long residency program. Geriatric clinical experiences are provided at the VA Medical Center (including at in-patient, out-patients and specialty clinics) as well as at the VA’s community living center and community-based outpatient clinics. The residency program also includes opportunities to participate in teaching and research.