Residency Corner: Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine

Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester, Minnesota, offers an one-year Physical Therapy Sports Residency Program.  Their program integrates physical therapy practice, research and scholarly inquiry consistent with the mission and goals of the Mayo Clinic.  In addition to the Sports Medicine Residency, they also offer residential opportunities in Orthopaedics, Geriatrics, and Neurology at their campus in Minnesota.  For more information on their programs, please see their website: Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Residency Program.

Current Residents: Paul Yerhot (on left) and Anthony Thompson (on right)
Dr. Paul Yerhot attended the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse for both his undergraduate and graduate schooling. In 2012, he received his Bachelors of Science in bio-medical biology and chemistry and went on to earn his Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2015. He worked for one year at a sports medicine private practice in northern Wisconsin before beginning residency at Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Anthony Thompson graduated with a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse in 2012. He went on to receive his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the Mayo School of Health Sciences in 2015. Prior to entering residency he worked at Park Nicollet in Minneapolis, MN.

What makes your residency program unique compared to other programs?

At Mayo Clinic, I am very fortunate to be able to interact with a wide variety of clinicians. It is not uncommon to work alongside clinical or laboratory researchers, top level orthopedic surgeons, expert physicians in regenerative medicine along with specialized physical therapists and athletic trainers on a weekly basis. Because Mayo has a strong culture and focus of clinical education, these experts are available and open to my questions and developing my understanding. Additionally, I have opportunities to attend medical residency didactic sessions and also present in front of these different specializations, providing a unique opportunity for feedback and mentoring from varying perspectives.

What would you consider the strengths of your program?

The vast resources at Mayo Clinic provide a tremendous foundation for the Sports Residency Program.

First, the physical therapy mentors and the majority of the clinical staff have achieved clinical specialization and are also actively engaged in lecturing within Mayo’s DPT program. Working with and learning from a multitude of high achieving providers creates a very fruitful learning environment.

Second, as residents we get to select from a large array of research topics to pursue because Mayo’s Sports Medicine Department is active in so many fields. I am currently participating in ACL research with Tim Hewett’s biomechanics laboratory. Meanwhile my co-resident, is highly involved exploring novel topics in concussion diagnosis and management. The fact that we both can simultaneously pursue topics we are passionate about speaks volumes to the variety of resources available.

Lastly, Mayo Clinic’s Physical Therapy Residency’s have strong footing in both the clinic and the DPT program. This has provided the opportunity to interact with DPT faculty and students. This relationship has provided me the opportunity to create and deliver presentations, which was an area I sought to gain experience coming into the residency.

What time (length of program and hours/week) and financial implications should students expect when entering an IPA residency?

Mayo Clinic’s Sports Medicine Physical Therapy Residency is 12 months in length (August – July). I am scheduled for 30-35 hours of patient care and 3-4 hours of athletic training room coverage per week with didactic course dispersed throughout. Additionally, I participate in coverage for local sports 1-2 nights per week as well. There is no tuition and we are provided a stipend that is 75% of a starting physical therapy salary.

What makes focused learning within a residency worth pursuing?

Developing adult learning strategies is one of the most beneficial aspects of pursuing a residency.

In physical therapy school the majority of information is shared in a pedagogical fashion in which students are passive consumers. During didactic sessions in residency, I am treated as a colleague and am encouraged to interact with, question and explore the new content via open discussions.

Most importantly however, I feel I have gained tactics on how to maintain active engagement with current research and how to practically apply that research to clinical practice once the residency is completed.

What do you look for in a quality candidate for your residency program?

First and foremost, I feel a candidate needs to be passionate about the specialty of their residency. It sounds obvious, but if you lack the excitement for sports medicine physical therapy you will struggle to stay motivated for 12 months. Second, a strong candidate should possess a high degree of professional humbleness and self-awareness of their strengths/weaknesses. One of the greatest benefits to residency is the constant feedback.

A humble and accepting attitude is crucial in order to be open to the new ideas and critiques shared with you. If not, you are forcing yourself to miss out on many learning opportunities.

Lastly, being flexible is critical. In one afternoon, my schedule could vary from patient care, didactic work, and assisting in the DPT program. Being able to adapt quickly while still being able to perform at a high level is important.

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

For students that are seriously considering pursuing a residency, I would recommend they try to find the residency that is the best fit for them. All residencies have strengths and weaknesses. However, those strength and weaknesses will vary greatly based on the perception of the individuals’ priorities. As the applicant, you need to shop around and find the residency that most closely reflects your goals. For example, if you have a strong desire to gain teaching experience it wouldn’t make sense to apply to a program that doesn’t provide that experience. Once you have found a residency that feels like the right “fit”, I would recommend contacting the residency as early as possible – ask questions or shadow if possible.

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

Being that this is the first cohort of sports residents at Mayo Clinic, I cannot speak to opportunities residents have pursued afterwards. We will both be in an excellent position to sit for our SCS exam next spring. Personally, I am pursuing a short-term sports therapy opportunity in Shanghai, China after residency and before staring a full-time position. I plan to stay on at the Mayo Clinic with hopes of continuing to be involved with the sports residency.

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