Academic Programs : University of Miami & Affiliated Residencies

University of Miami – Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency Program

The University of Miami, Department of Physical Therapy and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital have jointly formed the University of Miami – Nicklaus Children’s Hospital (UM – NCH) Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency Program. This year long program offers licensed physical therapists the opportunity to gain structured educational and clinical experiences in a variety of pediatric settings, including: hospital, outpatient clinic and school-based/Early Intervention. The academic component of the program is completed in the University of Miami, Department of Physical Therapy on the Coral Gables campus. Clinical mentoring takes place at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s main campus and satellite centers and the University of Miami, Debbie School. Mentoring is led by experienced pediatric physical therapists and board certified pediatric clinical specialists. Our Program accepts two (2) Residents per cohort. We have a 100% graduation rate, 90% first time passing rate for the ABPTS Board Certification exam, and recently accepted our sixth cohort of residents,

Applications deadline is December 31, 2018 for the 2019-2020 year.
Applications submission through RF-PTCAS at

Residency Mission Statement

The mission of the UM – NCH Pediatric Residency Program is:

“ To provide post professional training to licensed physical therapists to advance their knowledge, skills in patient/client management, and clinical reasoning to enable them to assume a greater role in the area of pediatric clinical practice: evidence-based practice, leadership, education, administration, and consultation.”

This residency program is designed to prepare participants to become skilled primary care pediatric physical therapists by providing focused academic and clinical experiences. Residents will function as an integral member of an interdisciplinary team to assure integrated care for the patient, and will be able to provide primary care as a point of entry into the healthcare system for pediatric clients.

The goals of the residency program are to educate physical therapists to:
1. Facilitate the resident’s ability to integrate foundational science, learning and developmental theory, and evidence-based clinical practice in pediatrics through structured academic and clinical experiences.
2. Provide opportunities through direct patient care or specialty observation for the Residents to develop advanced skills as a direct service provider and/or consultant in a variety of practice settings with a variety of patient populations as required in the current Pediatric DSP and DRP.
3. Provide opportunities to develop advanced skills as an educator utilizing appropriate educational strategies that are congruent with the setting (community-based, clinical and/or academic) and needs of the learner to effectively deliver content to increase knowledge and skills of caregivers, students, colleagues, and other interdisciplinary care providers.
a. Parent/care giver education
b. Peer education including in-services
c. Community education programs
d. Teaching students enrolled in a doctoral level physical therapy program
4. Provide opportunities to develop skills in critical thinking and research to enable them to contribute to the pediatric physical therapy profession in the future.
5. Provide a curriculum that addresses all areas of the current Pediatric DSP and DRP, to successfully complete the pediatric clinical specialist certification examination by the ABPTS.
6. Provide academic and clinical training in advanced skills in pediatric physical therapy that meet or exceed ABPTRFE accreditation standards.
7. Provide the surrounding community (South Florida) and beyond with residency trained physical therapists who excel in pediatric practice, clinical education, cultural competence, and utilize a biopsychosocial approach.
8. Prepare residents to contribute to the profession of physical therapy, and the larger healthcare community, through leadership, evidence-based practice, teaching, and service.

General Information

Credentialing: The UM-NCH Pediatric Residency Program received accreditation in 2013 as the first Pediatric Physical Therapy Program in Florida. The program starts in early August and runs for 54 consecutive months. Resident’s pay no tuition fee while enrolled in the Program.
Salary: Residents will be employed full time by Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and receive an adjusted salary. Residents do not carry a full-time case load in order to allow time for didactic coursework, research, presentations and projects.) *Benefits: *Residents are eligible for benefits through Nicklaus Children’s Hospital during their Residency “year”. This includes employer supported health and dental insurance, and paid time off (vacation, sick time, a personal day and six holidays).
Overview: The program is designed to provide a year-long intensive study of pediatric physical therapy, to prepare the resident to assume a greater role in the care of children and their families in the areas of: leadership, education, administration, consultation and evidence-based practice. In addition, the combined didactic curriculum and focused clinical mentoring will prepare the resident to sit for (and pass) the Pediatric Clinical Specialist Examination. Five out of six residents successfully passed the exam on the first attempt.

Clinical Mentoring

Residents work a five (5) day, 40 hour work week with structured one-on-one mentoring approximately four hours per week. Typically, one day a week is set aside as a “residency day” during which residents spend time participating in didactic training, research, projects and presentations related to the overall curriculum of the residency program. Residents spend approximately six months in the acute care/hospital setting and approximately six months in an outpatient clinic setting. Additional clinical experiences at the University of Miami include: Early Intervention, school-based physical therapy, and specialty clinics (i.e., Hemophilia). Clinical mentors are on-site and work side by side daily with the residents.

Didactic Curriculum

Residents receive didactic training on numerous topics related to pediatric physical therapy which are expected knowledge areas published in the current Description of Specialty Practice for Pediatric Physical Therapy. The content is taught by expert faculty from the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Department of Physical Therapy, Miami Children’s Hospital and expert clinicians in the community. Learning units are taught every week throughout the year. Residents are also expected to lead and participate in hospital rounds, case presentations and/or journal clubs, and teach in the entry level DPT program at the University of Miami. Pediatric residents participate with other residents currently enrolled in Geriatrics and Orthopedics physical therapy residency programs here at University of Miami for select topics.

Learning Unit Topics (sample)

• Practice and Disablement Models
• Interpreting and Using Research in Clinical Practice
• Normal and Abnormal development
• Musculoskeletal Issues in Pediatrics
• Neurological Issues in Pediatrics
• Genetic disorders and other syndromes
• Cardiac Issues in Pediatrics
• Pulmonary Issues in Pediatrics
• Integumentary Issues in Pediatrics (wounds and burns)
• Hematology/Oncology Issues in Pediatrics
• Practice settings in Pediatric Physical Therapy
• Public law and its implications to Pediatric Physical Therapy
• Teaching and learning theory
• Early Intervention
• School-Based Services
• Feeding and Oral Motor considerations
• Speech, Language, and Communication considerations
• Adolescent/Sports medicine
• Health Promotion and Wellness Issues in Pediatrics
• Balance and Vestibular Rehabilitation Issues in Pediatrics
• Gait/Motion analysis
• Prosthetic/Orthotic Considerations
• Assistive Technology and Equipment
• Use of Complementary Medicine in Pediatrics

Program Faculty

Core Academic Faculty:
James Moore, PhD, PT, PCS (Program Director)
Martha Bloyer, PT, DPT, PCS
Meryl Cohen, PT, DPT, CCS
Michele Raya, PhD, PT, ATC, SCS
Core Clinical Faculty:
Cheryl Gimenez, PT, DPT, PCS (Program Co-coordinator – clinical/West Kendall campus)
Bianca Hornik, DPT, PCS (Program Co-coordinator – clinical/main)
Tatiana Garcia, DPT, PCS
Andrea Hayward, PT, DPT
Valerie Howell, PT
Sara Narbecki, MSPT, PCS
Julia Sanchez, PT, DPT
Marisol Sepulveda, DPT
Claudia Zuluagg-Yunis, PT

Contact Information

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Department of Physical Therapy
5915 Ponce de Leon Blvd. 5th Floor
Coral Gables, FL 33146
James G. Moore, PhD, PT, PCS (Program Director)
305-284-4535 Office
305-284-6128 Fax

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