Residency Corner: Institute of Physical Art

The Institute of Physical Art, founded in 1978 by Gregory S. Johnson, PT, FFFMT, FAAOMPT and Vicky Saliba Johnson, PT, FFFMT, FAAOMPT, is the sole provider of Functional Manual Therapy®, developed by Johnson and Saliba Johnson.  IPA promotes the use of manual therapy and education to facilitate each patient’s existing potential.  The IPA presents continuing education courses, a FMT® certification, a mentorship intensive Residency Program, and an APTA/AAOMPT accredited FMT® Fellowship program.  These multilevel professional opportunities of the IPA equip clinicians with confidence, expertise, and clinical reasoning; EXPERIENCE THE DIFFERENCE you can make as a clinician and your potential to change your patient’s lives! –  description taken from About IPA on their website.


This interview was completed by:

Guia Sheker, PT, MPT, CFMT is currently the residency instructor at Kabat and Associates Physical Therapy in Antioch, CA.  Prior to starting this position, she was the Clinical and the FMT Residency Director at Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY and even before then she was the first FMT resident at Long Island University.

Mark Ferlito, PT, DPT, CSCS is currently a resident at Kabat and Associates Physical Therapy in Antioch, CA. Prior to starting an IPA residency, Mark began his career at Manhattan Sports & Manual Physical Therapy after graduating from NYU in 2015.

What makes the IPA’s residency program unique compared to other programs?

Mark: An IPA residency is not through a University, in turn they all vary in regards to duration, mentors, location, setting, etc. In addition, while many IPA residencies promote the completion of the OCS (orthopedic clinical specialist), most do not include it as a requirement; as the main goal for all IPA residents is achieving CFMT status through the Institute.

Guia: The IPA residency is unique in that you are taught not only to evaluate your patients well but it also teaches the young professional to efficiently treat them as a whole person.  You are taught to look at each patient as a whole person with compensations that can drive his/her pain and then effectively treat the particular driver(s). The IPA is a family and as you grow to know the different instructors, you not only have your mentor to give you guidance but you also have the guidance of others who have and will go through CFMT.  Every one is interested in helping people improve.

What would you consider the strengths of this program?

Mark: Overall, the main strengths of an IPA residency program are the connections made within the IPA community, which continue to expose you to the endless potential we all have within this profession as well as the latest research.

Guia: The IPA is a family and as you grow to know the different instructors, you not only have your mentor to give you guidance but you also have the guidance of others who have and will go through CFMT.  Every one is interested in helping people improve.

What makes focused learning within a residency worth pursuing?

Mark: After taking a few of the IPA courses outside of the residency I quickly realized the impact the material had on both my patients and myself, however I also quickly became aware of how much information was packed into each one of the courses, which made me want to pursue an IPA residency in order to be guided through the material on a more consistent basis.

I believe the focused learning within the residency’s mentorship helps provide a much needed “checks and balances” in regards to my actual knowledge of the material.

Guia: Each IPA course is jam packed with information that it is hard to make sure that you have learned all that you need to know even after taking it 2-3 times.  A residency allows the resident to ask questions and have concepts cleared up after the course is finished and even weeks later.

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

Mark:  A residency program is a sacrifice, both in terms of paycheck and time, so it’s important to decide on pursuing a residency for the right reasons, which I believe can vary from individual to individual, but should be mostly patient-centric and not for the alphabet soup behind your name.  

I would also suggest any potential resident to spend some quality time thinking about what they want out of a residency, for just wanting mentorship is not enough in my opinion; one must think further into what their goals are, so that they can chose the program that gives them the best chance for meeting those goals.

Guia: Try to take a course from each of the different schools of thought ie. Mailand, Paris, McKenzie, IPA, etc.  Find a way of evaluating/treating that resonates with you as a clinician and then find someone willing to help you grow within that paradigm.

What additional opportunities do IPA residents pursue after completing their training?

Mark: IPA residents after successfully passing/completing CFMT have the option of potentially pursuing further training within an IPA fellowship program, which then might foster future teaching opportunities within the IPA system. In addition, there are opportunities with the IPA to practice and teach around the world, for example at the IPA clinic in India.

Guia: CFMT graduates have the opportunity to teach for the IPA locally and internationally, advance their skills in Fellowship and even  have the opportunity to mentor other residents in their journey to CFMT.


For more information about the program, please visit IPA’s Residency Page

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