Fellowship Corner: IAOM

Dr. Becky Sherwin
Dr. Elizabeth Sargent

IAOM-US Fellowship Program Mission

The mission statement for IAOM-US Fellowship Program is based on a commitment to excellence in clinical practice and professional development. In response, the IAOM-US Fellowship Program is committed to advancing physical therapy practitioners in evidence-based clinical diagnostics and orthopedic manual therapy.

What makes the IAOM-US Fellowship program unique compared to other programs?

The IAOM-US strikes a balance between combining the most current knowledge of systematic examination and precise diagnosis with evidence-supported manual therapy while incorporating principles of neuromuscular re-education, motor control/learning and pain science.

What would you consider the strengths of the IAOM-US program to be?

One of the goals of the IAOM-US examination is to provide the therapist with a systematic way of determining the pain generator. Fellows are trained to gather the most amount of information with the least amount of testing. Consequently, the fellow develops a method that is efficient, consistent and precise. In addition, the mentors are open-minded and willing to discuss current issues in the profession, while providing the fellows with an opportunity to explore the literature. No one in the leadership is committed to a single school of thought. Dialogue and debate are welcomed.

What makes focused learning within a Fellowship worth pursuing?

The IAOM Fellowship helps a clinician to improve their manual therapy skills in order to become a master clinician. In addition, the IAOM Fellowship requires fellowship candidates to teach, elevating each candidate’s knowledge and skill mastery. Ultimately, fellows become leaders in the field, continuing on to mentor other physical therapists and evolving the profession.

What advice would you give to students that are seriously interested in pursuing Fellowship training?

If your goal is to become a master clinician, pursuing a Fellowship will help you in this endeavor. Be ready to be tested and tried, corrected and honed in order to be a better version of yourself, clinically speaking. Consequently, fellowship candidates need to have the confidence to be able to let go of preconceived notions of patient management and allow their mentors to deconstruct and reconstruct the fellowship candidate’s clinical practice.

What additional opportunities do your Fellows pursue after completing their training?

Many of the IAOM-US Fellows also seek additional education with an ScD (doctorate of science) from Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Lubbock. This degree can either be with an emphasis in education or in research. The beauty of this degree is the close relationship with the IAOM-US and the classes offered at TTUHSC that coincide with the clinical / continuing education courses that you take through the Fellowship program. In addition, many Fellows go on to become professional educators in DPT programs around the country.

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