Residency Criteria

Medical Residency Programs at CHS

Post-professional Clinical Residency Program Vision Statement: 

Our vision is to prepare trainees for independent advanced practice in geriatric physical therapy and as a clinical specialist in an integrated environment of clinical excellence and educational effort by a team of professionals who are committed and knowledgeable in gerontology and geriatric physical therapy and who are role models in the professional biopsychosocial care of elderly patients.  Graduates express their education through excellence in evidence-based practice and teaching of clinical skills and continue to expand the body of knowledge in geriatric physical therapy by participating in clinical research and make a lasting contribution to their local and professional community.

Post-professional Clinical Residency Program Mission Statement:

Our vision is to educate physical therapists who are able to meet the needs of society by becoming advanced practitioners of geriatric physical therapy (clinically and administratively).  Graduates demonstrate mastery as critical consumers of the relevant scientific literature and incorporate appropriate new techniques and knowledge into advanced geriatric physical therapy practice. They contribute to the body of knowledge in geriatric physical therapy by participating in clinical research and are competent instructors of geriatric physical therapy practice. Graduates become consultants, advocates, and ambassadors to the public and medical communities for the profession of physical therapy and as advocates for health promotion and wellness for the aging adult and always exhibit the highest standards of professionalism. 

St. Catherine’s/Villa Maria Postprofessional Residency Program

Program Goals and Objectives

Program Goals: 

The goals of the Residency Program are to:

  1. Provide academic and clinical training in advanced skills in geriatric physical therapy.
  2. Facilitate the resident’s ability to integrate science and theory with advanced clinical practice in geriatrics through structured academic and clinical experiences.
  3. Provide opportunities to develop advanced skills as a consultant in a variety of geriatric physical therapy settings.
  4. Provide opportunities to develop advanced skills as an educator in a variety of geriatric physical therapy settings.
  5. Provide opportunities to develop advanced skills as a direct service provider in a variety of geriatric physical therapy settings.
  6. Provide opportunities to develop skills in critical thinking and research to enable them to contribute to the geriatric physical therapy profession in the future.
  7. Provide opportunities to observe and model behaviors reflecting the highest standards of professionalism as a geriatric physical therapist.
  8. Prepare residents academically and clinically to successfully complete the geriatric clinical specialist certification examination by the ABPTS.

 Program Objectives:

 The objectives for the academic and clinical faculty of the Residency Program are to:

  • Develop a curriculum that addresses all areas of the current Geriatric Description of Specialty Practice.
  • Model professional behaviors, roles and core values identified in the current Geriatric Description of Specialty Practice.
  • Provide experiences with a variety of medical conditions identified in the current Geriatric Description of Specialty Practice through direct patient care or through specialty observation.
  • Provide opportunities for the resident to observe and implement the Patient/Client Management model, including examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention, and outcomes assessment.
  • Provide on-site supervision of the resident.
  • Provide a minimum of 150 hours of 1:1 patient interaction time with residency mentors with emphasis on guiding the resident’s clinical decision-making, including hypothesis generation, data collection, synthesis of data, and treatment selection (utilizing evidence-based practice). 
  • Provide opportunities for the resident to observe and/or participate in a community-based screening program.
  • Provide didactic coursework in educational theory.
  • Provide educational opportunities to observe and participate in:
  • Patient/caregiver education
  • Peer education including in-services
  • Community education programs 
  • Teaching students enrolled in a doctoral-level physical therapy program
  • Provide instruction in critical inquiry and research methodology to develop skills necessary to complete the following:
  • Critically review scientific literature (rigor, methodology, results, limitations)
  • Develop clinically relevant questions
  • Search the literature to find evidence to answer a clinical question.
  • Complete a case report and/or participate in an ongoing study 

General Information

Credentialing: The residency program is fully credentialed by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE)

Credential Conferred: Certificate of Completion of Postprofessional Residency in Geriatric Physical Therapy.

Length of Study: 12 months.

Program Entrance Date: August of each year

Tuition: While enrolled as a resident in SC/VM's program, there is no fee for tuition.

Salary: Residents will receive a salary. Salaries are somewhat lower than those for new graduate PT's. (Residents do not carry a full-time caseload in order to allow time for didactic coursework, research, presentations, and projects.)

Benefits: Residents are eligible for benefits through St. Catherine's/Villa Maria. This includes employer-supported health and dental insurance, employer-paid long-term disability, employer paid pension plan, employer paid life insurance, and paid time off (vacation, sick time, a personal day and six holidays). This is not an all-inclusive list, and applicants are directed to the human resources department at SC/VM for a full description of benefits.

Overview: The program is designed to provide residents with a year-long intensive study of geriatric physical therapy, preparing them to sit for (and pass) the Geriatric Clinical Specialist Exam offered by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. The clinical time during the residency, which includes structured one-on-one mentoring, is provided for 75-80% of a typical week. The remainder of the time is spent completing didactic training, research, projects, and presentations related to the overall curriculum of the residency program.

Didactic Curriculum

Residents receive didactic training on numerous topics related to geriatric physical therapy which are expected knowledge areas published in the current Description of Specialty Practice for Geriatric Physical Therapy. The content is taught by expert faculty from St. Catherine's/Villa Maria and the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Department of Physical Therapy. Learning units are taught weekly throughout the year. In addition, residents participate in Grand Rounds, Case Presentations, and/or Journal Clubs and Community Fall Screening Events.

Learning Unit Topics include:

  • Overview of Aging
  • Healthcare Delivery Sites
  • Interpreting and Using Research in Clinical Practice
  • Musculoskeletal Considerations
  • Exercise Prescription
  • Cognitive/Psychiatric Considerations
  • Cardiac Considerations
  • Pulmonary Considerations
  • Neurological/Sensory Considerations
  • Vestibular Rehab
  • Geriatric Gait/Posture
  • Balance/Fall Risk Assessment
  • Functional Assessments
  • Prosthetic/Orthotic Considerations
  • Sexuality and Aging
  • Principles of Adult Education
  • Ethical Considerations
  • Frail Elderly
  • Medicare Regulation & Administration
  • Integumentary and Wound Care
  • Health Promotion and Wellness
  • Incontinence
  • Environmental Adaptation
  • Consulting, Case Management, and Advocacy
  • Teaching & Learning
  • Aquatic Therapy for the Geriatric Population
  • Continuum of Wellness and Population Health Management
  • Bariatric Medicine


Clinical Faculty:
Jennifer Cabrera, PT, DPT, GCS
Aaron Dougherty, PT, GCS
Debra Frisch, PT, DPT, GCS
Vincenzo Bombara, PT, DPT, GCS 

Core Academic Faculty:
Jennifer Cabrera, PT, DPT, GCS
Aaron Dougherty, PT, GCS
Greg Hartley, PT, DPT, GCS, CEEAA
Debra Frisch, PT, DPT, OPT, GCS
Adjunct Faculty:
Jorge Casauay, PT, DPT, GCS, CWS
Karen Lagares, PT, DPT, GCS, CEEAA
Meryl Cohen, PT, DPT, CCS, FAPTA
Neva Kirk-Sanchez, PT, PhD
Mariangela Obispo, PT, DPT, GCS
Kathy Roach, PT, PhD
James Moore, Ph.D., PT, PCS
Ira Fiebert, Ph.D., PT

Residency Policies and Procedures

Admission Requirements

  1. The applicant must be a graduate of a CAPTE (Commission for Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education) accredited physical therapy program and hold a current license to practice physical therapy in the state of Florida.
  2. A complete application must be received. Interested candidates should apply online at Residency/Fellowship Physical Therapy Centralized Application System (R/F-PTCAS) at:
  3. Acceptance will be based on interest, ability, and aptitude for a career as a physical therapist in a geriatric setting. The strongest applicants include those who:
    • Completed an extended internship or externship under the direct supervision of a Clinical Specialist in Geriatric Physical Therapy
    • Possess superior verbal and written communication skills
    • Have experience in data collection, analysis, and publication
    • Possess strong fundamentals in the principles of clinical reasoning and the application of examination and treatment procedures related to the practice of geriatric physical therapy
    • Exhibit high standards of professional behavior.
  4. Residents will be selected by the Admissions Committee and their decision will be final.  Superior candidates will be given an interview, which is conducted by members of the admissions committee.  Candidates are assessed in the areas of commitment, knowledge of the purpose of the program, interests (as outlined above), and personality.  Good candidates will possess qualities of flexibility, team building, leadership, professionalism, and desire to learn.

Disability Requirements

Students requesting disability accommodations must do so by filing a disability accommodation request in writing with the program coordinator.

Application Process

  1. Applications are accepted only through RF-PTCAS.  Interested candidates may learn more and apply online at:
  2. SC/VM reserves the right not to process any application that is incomplete.
  3. All complete applications will be reviewed within 60 days of the published deadlines (see below).  Strong applicants will be contacted for an interview (generally via phone, but can be in person if desired).
  4. Acceptance into the program is provisional pending the candidates meeting all conditions of employment at St. Catherine’s Rehabilitation Hospital & Villa Maria Nursing Center.  Applicants will be notified of their status in the program in writing within 60 days of the published deadlines for the desired trimester.

Deadlines are as follows:

Please refer to RF-PTCAS for admission into a class beginning in August.

Space is limited and classes fill quickly. There are not always vacancies in each trimester. Please email or call for details of vacant residency slots. Details concerning submission of these materials are provided with the application materials.

Details concerning submission of these materials are provided with the application materials.

Further Information

For further information please contact:

Geriatric Residency Program Director
Physical Therapy Department
St. Catherine’s/Villa Maria
1050 NE 125th Street
North Miami, FL 33161

Telephone: (305) 351-7181 ext. 2410

This information represents what is current at the time of printing this publication and is subject to change. Applicants should contact the Geriatric Residency Program at St. Catherine's Rehabilitation Hospital/Villa Maria Nursing Center to verify the requirements for the year for which the residency application will be made.

It is the policy of the Geriatric Residency Program to recruit, admit, and retain participants on a nondiscriminatory basis. Specifically, the program does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, gender, age, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, and disability or health status.

Revised September 2017