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Residency Training Program Curriculum

The resident didactic curriculum is repeated every 12 months so that each resident has the opportunity to see topics at least 2-3 times during their residency; 24 modules make up the 12-month didactic curriculum.

Anatomy / Manual Muscle Testing
Exercise physiology / Cardiopulmonary
Geriatrics / Cancer
Leadership & Teamwork
Medical Administration
Neuromuscular Physiology and Progressive Neuro
Occupational Medicine
Prosthetics and Orthotics
Spinal Cord Injury
Trauma / Fractures / Burns
Traumatic Brain Injury
Tone Management

In addition to the formal lecture series the department hosts a multitude of other conferences throughout the year:

  • Monthly Grand Rounds lectures
  • Quarterly Quality Improvement/Patient Safety conferences
  • Yearly visiting professorship
  • Gersten Day – an annual rehabilitation scientific symposium that highlights the research of our graduating residents/fellows, as well as research from the Physical Therapy program and the Rehabilitation Sciences PhD program.

Residents are required to present a Resident Seminar twice over their training, as PGY2s and PGY3s. 


Each resident must be involved in a research project during their residency. A formal research curriculum module is taught every year, led by Dr. Lisa Brenner, Director of Research. The residents will learn, through didactics and mentorship, how to select a topic, formulate a research question, and design appropriate methods. Senior residents are required to present their research on Gersten Day, the department’s annual research symposium. There are a multitude of faculty available as research mentors for residents.


The residency program has a 2-month rotation schedule, or 6 rotations per year. Residents will receive 12 inpatient months, 12 outpatient months, 6 consult months, and 6 outpatient/consult selective months.

Our residents have the unique opportunity to train at 5 different hospital sites during the course of the program.

 University of Colorado Hospital

University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) is a tertiary medical center and the primary teaching hospital for the University of Colorado School of Medicine (CUSOM) programs. It is located on the Anschutz Medical Campus and serves as a primary site. Full time faculty from CUSOM are assigned to the clinical service and are responsible for resident/fellow supervision. The PM&R inpatient unit has 12 beds and a full-time inpatient director. Unique patient populations on the inpatient unit include burn, transplant, joint replacement, stroke, and brain tumor rehabilitation. This team also manages a PM&R consult service for the hospital.

In addition to the inpatient service, UCH also houses the Spine Center. The Spine Center is a multidisciplinary center housing physiatrists, neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, physical/occupations therapists, psychologists, integrative medicine, and anesthesiologists. The PM&R team focuses on musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, sports medicine, and spine care. Residents will get hands on procedural experience in fluoroscopic guided spine injections, ultrasound guided injections, Botox injections, and electrodiagnostic testing.

The CU Sports Medicine clinics are of UCH Sports & Spine rotation and are located off campus in Denver and Boulder, CO. Here residents see and treat sports injuries in a multidisciplinary approach with additional hands on procedural experience in ultrasound guided injections including PRP injections and percutaneous tenotomy procedures.

UCH Rotations:

  • Inpatient (inpatient service)
  • Consult (consult service and outpatient clinics)
  • Inpatient Senior (supervision and teaching of inpatient and consult services combined with outpatient MSK and spine clinics)
  • Spine Neuro (neuromuscular and MSK medicine)
  • Sports & Spine (sports medicine and spine care)

 Denver VA Medical Center

The Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) provides experience in the provision of care in a government setting for all of Colorado. Full time faculty from the University of Colorado School of Medicine are assigned to the clinical service and are responsible for resident/fellow supervision. Experiences provided to residents include inpatient, consult, and electrodiagnostic training, musculoskeletal medicine, neuromuscular medicine, as well as multidisciplinary outpatient clinics (spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, ALS, and traumatic brain injury). The Denver VAMC in the process of relocating to the Anschutz Medical Campus at Fitzsimmons, joining the medical school, University of Colorado Hospital and the Children's Hospital Colorado. The new Denver VAMC will also house a new regional Spinal Cord Injury unit providing specialized care for the entire region. Residents get hands on experience with electrodiagnostic testing, ultrasound guided injections, and fluoroscopic guided spine injections.

VAMC Rotations:

  • Inpatient (inpatient service)
  • Consult (consult service and outpatient clinics)
  • MSK (musculoskeletal medicine)
  • EMG (electrodiagnostic testing)
  • Neuro (neuromuscular medicine)

 Denver Health Medical Center

Denver Health Medical Center (DHMC) is a Level 1 Trauma Center with a diverse patient population. Full time faculty from the University of Colorado School of Medicine are assigned to the clinical service and are responsible for resident/fellow supervision. Denver Health services provide resident experiences in both inpatient and outpatient/consult services. The inpatient service is involved with the care of the inpatients on the rehabilitation unit which primarily houses polytrauma. Residents receive extensive experience in the care of adults and adolescents with brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and multi-traumas. There is an 8 bed rehabilitation unit at DHMC, with additional beds available for more subacute rehabilitation. There is also a consult service and outpatient clinics that involve general rehabilitation, durable medical equipment prescription (wheelchairs, orthotics, and prosthetics) and electromyography.

DHMC Rotations:

  • Inpatient (inpatient service)
  • Consult (consult service and outpatient clinics)

 Children’s Hospital Colorado

Children’s Hospital Colorado (CHCO) serves as the tertiary referral center for pediatrics across the Rocky Mountain region. Full time faculty from the University of Colorado School of Medicine are assigned to the clinical service and are responsible for resident/fellow supervision. CHCO is located adjacent to the University of Colorado Hospital (on the Anschutz Medical Campus) and offers a full range of pediatric services. CHCO has 225 beds and typically 13 inpatient rehabilitation beds. The resident educational experience at Children's Hospital includes a month each of inpatient/consult service and outpatient pediatric rehabilitation experience. The rotation provides exposure to pediatric physiatry, caring for a plethora of diagnoses including spina bifida, cerebral palsy, concussion, and neuromuscular disease.

CHCO Rotations:

  • CHCO (inpatient, consult, and outpatient)

 Craig Hospital

Craig Hospital is a free standing rehabilitation hospital focused toward the care of spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. Craig Hospital is a Model System for both traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury, consistently rated as one of the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals by U.S. News and World Report. Attending physicians at Craig Hospital have clinical faculty appointments at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and are all board certified in either Spinal Cord Injury Medicine or Brain Injury Medicine. The Craig faculty also teach the spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury modules in the didactic curriculum. Craig Hospital houses two rotations for the residents: Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury. These rotations allow for the residents to be exposed to the acute inpatient, and chronic care of SCI and TBI patients, under the direction of the supervising faculty. These rotations continue to be very popular among the residents, not only for the Medical Knowledge and Patient Care that they are exposed to, but also for the opportunity to experience how PM&R is practiced in a health care system outside the traditional academic medical center.

Craig Hospital Rotations:

  • SCI (spinal cord injury service)
  • TBI (traumatic brain injury service)