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Didactics, mentorship, and patient care are the key components of the Physical Therapy Geriatric Residency. Each year, curriculum is designed to be applicable to the current rotation.

Sample curriculum

Didactic topics specifically address geriatric conditions, assessment, clinical decision making, and interventions for optimal care management of the older adult client.

Rotation 1: Outpatient

Mentors: Zackary Kleven, P.T., D.P.T., GCS and Erin Van Buren, P.T., D.P.T., GCS

Focus areas:

  • Readmission risk
  • Orthopedics/aging athlete
  • Exercise dosing
  • Pain
  • Transplant
  • Osteoporosis
  • Gait
  • Spine
  • Stroke
  • Degenerative neurologic conditions

Professional development:

  • Fall state meeting (Arizona)

Clinical experiences:

  • Facility-based clinic
  • ALS clinic

Rotation 2: Living community and SNF

Mentor: Will Wallstrom, P.T., D.P.T., GCS and Kathy Brewer, M.Ed., P.T., D.P.T., GCS

Focus areas:

  • Parkinson's disease
  • Oncology
  • Wheelchair seating
  • Diabetes, bariatrics, nutrition
  • Cognitive/3Ds
  • Concussion
  • Palliative care and hospice
  • Vestibular
  • Frailty/GU

Professional development:

  • Combined sections meeting - Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy

Clinical experiences:

  • Skilled nursing
  • OP
  • Home care and long-term care

Rotation 3: Inpatient

Mentor: Matthew Sahhar, P.T., D.P.T., GCS and Sam Sahhar, P.T., D.P.T., GCS

Focus areas:

  • Balance and falls
  • Aging in place
  • Cardiopulmonary
  • Critical care
  • Ethics and ageism
  • SDOH

Professional development:

  • Terminal project

Clinical experiences:

  • Acute care
  • ICU
  • Transplant
  • Cardiology
  • Emergency department
  • PACU
  • Acute orthopedics
  • Oncology

Patient care

During the Physical Therapy Geriatric Residency, you provide patient care in clinical sites across Mayo Clinic's campuses in Arizona under the mentorship of core faculty. You are responsible for approximately 70 percent productivity with a caseload limited to geriatric clients.


You rotate through several of the Mayo Clinic Hospital departments, including acute care (critical care, transplant, and oncology) and hospital-based outpatient services.

As a resident, you are required to practice at an off-site local retirement community with clinical responsibilities in skilled nursing and home health. Mentorship and didactic schedules will be maintained during this rotation.


The education portion of the residency features:

  • A curriculum plan aligned with the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) description of specialty practice in geriatrics, meeting specifically defined competencies.
  • Specific clinical topics that are presented to residents in a formal and concise manner.
  • Completion of a terminal project.
  • A requirement to pass written and clinical examinations at prescribed intervals.

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences is committed to developing and maintaining the best education programs. The curriculum and other aspects of this program are assessed constantly and changed as necessary to ensure the highest quality training. Your schedule includes 12 hours each week for didactic education and study, report preparation, literature review, and research.


The program provides funding for you to attend one national conference approved by the program director.


Mentor sessions occur weekly, in two-hour increments for patient case discussion and treatment. Mentors collaborate with you in clinical interpretation, treatment planning, decision-making, communications, and other issues of patient management. Mentor sessions are flexible, guided by the resident, and seek to help build confidence in clinical decision making in a variety of situations. Mentors are clinical specialists and work in their area of expertise.

Schedule and hours

The residency is considered a full-time position; 70 percent of a typical week is spent on patient care (limited to a geriatric caseload) in the specific clinical setting as the resident rotates through the areas of practice within the curriculum. A weekend rotation is required during your acute rotation.

Department and faculty

All faculty members are Mayo Clinic therapy or allied health staff with demonstrated expertise and experience that exemplify the core values of physical therapy professionalism and patient care. Mentors are clinicians who focus their practice in each setting and are neurologic, orthopedic, and geriatric board-certified specialists.

More than 50 clinicians have achieved academic rank, and 12 are American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties-certified clinical specialists. The staff also has a multitude of various specialty certifications.

Visiting professors and lecturers

A hallmark of higher education excellence is the breadth and depth of information and experience provided to students by faculty and visiting experts. Many prominent professors visit Mayo Clinic each year to lecture on their areas of medical and scientific expertise.

As a resident of Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences, you are encouraged to learn from these valuable resources by attending all conferences, lectures, and seminars prepared for students, residents, fellows, and consulting staff.


Mayo Clinic has two campuses in Arizona. The Phoenix campus includes the state-of-the-art Mayo Clinic Hospital, the first hospital entirely designed and built by Mayo Clinic. It has been recognized several times by Phoenix magazine as the Best Hospital in Phoenix.

The campus includes a 3,000-square-foot multidisciplinary simulation center, which simulates real-life patient care situations, enabling learners to practice on sophisticated mannequins in a no-risk environment. Experiential learning enhances patient safety and improves competency assessment of learners through new modes of simulation-based education.

The campus also includes a state-of-the-art education and conference center, which has a 330-seat auditorium and adjacent meeting rooms. The facility serves all types of learners engaging in lifelong learning. Services in numerous medical and surgical disciplines are provided, including outstanding programs in cancer treatment and organ transplant.

The Mayo Clinic campus in Scottsdale is centered around a beautiful, five-story outpatient clinic. This modern facility contains extensive exam rooms, an outpatient surgery center equipped for general anesthesia, a full-service laboratory, pharmacy, patient education library, endoscopy suite, and a 188-seat auditorium for patient, staff, and student education programs.


Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences uses these evaluative tools:

  • Written examinations
  • Demonstration of skills
  • Self-assessment exercises
  • Learning outcomes and assignments from didactic sessions
  • Faculty reviews
  • Terminal project

Mayo Clinic's system of evaluation provides students and faculty with a comprehensive look at individual performance. This allows faculty and administrative staff to direct students who are experiencing academic difficulty to the appropriate support resources, including tutoring programs and counseling opportunities.

Graduation and certification

After successfully completing this residency, you receive a certificate of completion from Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences.

Graduates are eligible to take the Geriatric Specialist Certification Examination administered by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS).