Featured Residency Program: UIC

University of Illinois Chicago: Orthopaedic Residency Program

Written by their Current Residents:




Our Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency is a 13 month full-time educational program which entails a specialized clinical learning experience in an academic faculty practice. The program is designed to both challenge and expand the resident’s clinical reasoning capabilities as well as significantly enhance skills that are critical for effective teaching and mentoring.  

Find more information from their webpage.

Current residents (2017)

What makes your residency program unique compared to other programs?

One of the most unique aspects of UIC’s residency program are the academic track options of clinical education or research. This gives the residents an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and gain experience within other areas of physical therapy. Another unique quality is the constantly evolving curriculum. When UIC developed their program, they made it a priority to go above and beyond the APTA requirements. They incorporate resident and faculty interest areas, adding new subject areas each year, to truly span all areas of orthopedic physical therapy. One of the things we like the most is that the residents and faculty members work alongside one another in the same clinic. It is nice to be able to observe faculty therapists working with patients and have them easily available for mentoring. UIC also recently started a cardiac rehabilitation program within our clinic. It has been really interesting to observe their work and even treat some of the patients for orthopedic complaints.

What would you consider the strengths of your program?

The strengths of our program include the qualities that make us unique (question 1). Another strength is the positive working relationships and environment established here. It really feels like a family. The residents feel supported by our faculty and enjoy coming to work every day. Our patient population can be challenging to work with but we consider this a strength of our program. When you leave UIC’s residency you feel prepared to handle any patient situation, including presentations that other therapists may shy away from. Since we are part of a major health system and university, there are opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have in terms of resources, research, and teaching DPT and medical students.

What financial implications should students expect when entering your program?

We have the luxury of a fixed financial model at the UIC Faculty Practice (meaning our revenue as a clinic is not tied to the volume of patients).  This structure insulates the residents from the pressures of seeing more patients.

What makes focused learning within a residency worth pursuing?

Focused learning within a residency is everything worth pursuing. Especially for new or recent graduates, our minds are completely scattered, looking for your own “style” or “path”. The beauty of residency and having experienced mentors guide you, will help shape you into an efficient and effective physical therapist. Even with a few years under your belt, residency can help open your mind to expand your clinical knowledge and reasoning without staying in your comfort zone.

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

I would reach out to programs by emailing contacts listed on the APTA website, visiting information booths at conferences, etc. Talking to current and former residents was one of the best sources of information for me. Shadowing a resident is another great way to get to understand their perspective and experience what their schedule is like.

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

Our residents have the opportunity to participate in research projects at other universities, for example, a partnership was recently established with Georgetown University in Washington D.C. for a resident from last year’s cohort to work as a clinician at Georgetown as well as assist with a research project related to physical therapists ordering diagnostic imaging studies directly.  Some residents have also gone on to the Manual Therapy Fellowship or PhD programs at UIC.

Find out more about the current residents at their webpage.

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