Dr. Jason Rodeghero is a board certified orthopedic specialist who is fellowship trained in orthopedic manual physical therapy. He completed his Masters of Physical Therapy at Bradley University in Peoria, IL followed by a transitional Doctorate from the University of St. Augustine. Jason then completed his fellowship in manual physical therapy at Regis University in Denver, CO. He went on to complete a PhD at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions with his dissertation demonstrating the significant impact fellowship trained physical therapists have with their patients. Jason was involved with the development of the Evidence In Motion residency and fellowship programs and served 3 years as the director of the orthopedic residency. He is an associate professor at the South College DPT program in Knoxville, TN. Jason also works as an executive leader over a division of clinical services for a large Catholic healthcare system. He is married and has two young children.
What inspired you to pursue fellowship training?
I was inspired to pursue fellowship training to advance my manual skills but, more importantly, my clinical reasoning skills. As an entry-level intern in 2001, I completed an internship with a FAAOMPT who was providing very different treatment techniques than what I had seen up to that point. Not only that but his outcomes were markedly better and faster than other therapists. I knew there was something to manual therapy and committed as a new grad to advancing my skills. After graduating and practicing for 4-5 years, I had taken a lot of varied courses from all different approaches and even earned different certifications. These experiences helped give me an understanding and appreciation for what each program offered. However, weekend courses and certification programs only helped me so much. I was struggling to apply a sound clinical reasoning approach into clinical practice and grew increasingly frustrated because I felt like I wasn’t offering patients my best. A colleague encouraged me to look into research, which was fairly limited 13 years ago. That’s when I first got exposed to the concept of evidence-based practice. I read every article there was and felt like I knew even less. This encouraged me to learn more, so I started e-mailing various authors to learn about their research in hopes to fill in what I perceived to be knowledge gaps. One of those e-mails was to Dr. John Childs, who replied with 4 words, “Let’s talk, call me.” During that conversation, I shared my professional story with John and discussed my struggles clinically with decision making and reasoning. John commented that I had tremendous experience and qualifications with manual therapy but I had lacked a true mentor, someone to help me put everything into a clinical framework that made sense to me and better served my patients. He recommended I consider fellowship training and connected me with Dr. Tim Flynn. I committed to fellowship and the value/need for mentorship then and there.
What fellowship program did you attend and why?
I was amongst one of the first couple cohorts to complete the orthopedic manual physical therapy fellowship at Regis University in Denver, CO. This program was started in 2005 and was the first hybrid model fellowship program in the country. I explored other programs but each of them would have required physical relocation, which was not an option for us at that time. The Regis program offered flexibility, connection to expert researchers, and the mentorship I desperately needed.
What did your fellowship program entail (as far as specific training, etc.)?
Like most programs, there was a combination of didactic work as well as lab-based instruction and testing. For mentorship, I was afforded the opportunity to be mentored by Tim as well as therapists who were from different backgrounds and programs. This was encouraged and something I truly appreciated. There was no dogma. Humility was a requirement with acknowledgement that we don’t have all the answers but we have a lot of questions. We set out to ask and answer some of those questions to contribute to the body of knowledge in orthopedic manual physical therapy.
Are you trained in any specific areas of manual therapy (e.g., Maitland, McKenzie, etc.)? If so, why did you choose that area?
Prior to fellowship training, I completed a lot of different courses and certifications so the short answer is yes. I will add that each approach offered valuable knowledge and helped me hone my skills as a manual therapist.
What advice would you give to new grads aspiring to pursue residency/fellowship training?
The value of fellowship training and the mentorship that comes along with it cannot be overstated. Hopefully from what I’ve shared, you will see that knowledge and skill are only 2 pieces. We need mentorship to help us in the practice of our specialty with real patients. That can be from technique selection, timing, application, etc but also includes soft-skills such as communication and empathy. Learn from your mentors by observing their behaviors and patterns. Soak up as much as you can from their clinical experience. Lean in on experience when research is lacking. No matter what approach or program there’s one thing that will benefit every single patient we see and is not up for debate… show them you care; the rest will fall into place.