Dr. McDevitt is an Associate Professor in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, School of Medicine. She has been practicing as a physical therapist for 22 years. Clinically, she practices at the University of Colorado Health, CU Sports Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation. She is a board-certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist and a Fellow in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists. Her local and national service has included Nominating Committee and Delegate at Large for the Colorado Chapter of the APTA, Awards Committee for the APTA, Academy of Orthopedics and Nominating Committee and Secretary of the ACF-SIG and Research Core Committee for AAOMPT. She teaches entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy students and is currently completing her clinical PhD through the University of Newcastle, Australia. Amy is active in clinical and educational research at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and her research interests include musculoskeletal pain, shoulder pain, regional interdependence, dry needling and assessment of clinical reasoning in physical therapist students.
What inspired you to pursue fellowship training?
I decided to pursue manual therapy certification soon after graduating from the University of St. Augustine with my MPT. Fresh out of school, my intent was to gain more experience and practice in the orthopedic setting. Soon after I started taking manual therapy courses, it became apparent to me that to gain more confidence in my skills and clinical reasoning abilities, I should pursue fellowship training. Therefore, as soon as I completed my transitional DPT, I enrolled in formal fellowship training. I think I recognized that in my practice setting, I was seeing very challenging patients with chronic spinal pain and I needed to figure out a way to better serve the patients I was treating.
What fellowship program did you attend and why?
The fellowship program I attended was the North American Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy (NAIOMT) which was an ideal choice for me because I had mentors in the Denver area that I could work with directly in clinic (Kathy Stupansky, Gail Malloy, Bev Parrott and Fred Stoot). At the time, there was not a virtual option to complete coursework, therefore all of the courses were 5-7 days in length and NAIOMT had a number of Denver offerings. I believe that is why some programs have traditionally had a more regional following; it was based on where mentors were working and teaching. Now, I believe the landscape of fellowship training is very different and prospective students have more options both locally and nationally.
What did your fellowship program entail (as far as specific training, etc.)?
My fellowship program entailed taking numerous manual therapy based courses which were at the time 5-7 days in length. It was a real commitment to work through the courses, testing and find people to study with to keep skills fresh. I remember Kathy Stupansky and I working together in my practicing clinic and in hers for my 1:1 hours. We had a great relationship and a great time working together. I must say, I met some wonderful people, I enjoyed the process tremendously and it certainly helped to bring me the confidence I needed in clinic. Further, little did I know that my career would take a different path after 12 years of practice. I felt very prepared to teach manual therapy based content and skills based on what I gained through completing a fellowship program.
Are you training in any specific areas of manual therapy (e.g., Maitland, McKenzie, etc.)?
If so why did you choose that area? NAIOMT, in my opinion, was more focused on an osteopathic or biomechanical approach which really resonated with me at the time. In my opinion, it’s really important to expose yourself to different approaches and appreciate the history of manual therapy including the experts whose techniques and theories we continue to draw from today; many of these techniques, have served as foundations for our clinical research in manual therapy. Manual therapy education has evolved significantly over the past 20 years, especially with an increased emphasis on evidence-based practice and clinical practice guidelines.
What advice would you give to new grads aspiring to pursue residency/fellowship training?
My advice for new grads is to find a mentor. I believe having a mentor to guide you, especially in your 2-3 years of clinical practice is crucial. Further, take a few different types of courses in your first year or attend a conference and talk to different clinicians and residency/fellowship programs to learn about the different programs so you can make an educated decision and determine which program would be a good fit for you. Shameless plug forthcoming…I would absolutely recommend attending the AAOMPT conferences and maintaining membership if you’re interested in a manual therapy residency/fellowship. It’s not just an organization, it’s a family full of incredible humans, friends, and mentors waiting and willing to guide you in your professional endeavors.