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Women’s Health Residency

Therapy Partners Group University Women’s Health Residency is a 15-month program that includes extensive 1 on 1 mentoring, didactic courses (outlined below), and clinical training. We have multiple mentors that provide different perspectives on approaching patient-centered treatment to assist our residents in developing a holistic and individualized approach to patient care.

Our curriculum is structured to guide our residents in passing the American Physical Therapy Board of Specialists Women’s Health Physical Therapy Certification exam.

Therapy Partners Group University Women’s Health Residency prides itself on mentoring residents to promote community education surrounding topics of pelvic health and lymphedema.

Description

The mission of Therapy Partners Group University Women’s Health Residency program is to provide professional development opportunities for physical therapists to receive board certification in Women’s Health Physical Therapy.

The program will encourage the development and enhancement of advanced manual therapy skills, evidence-based treatments, and clinical reasoning to allow the resident to evaluate and treat all patients within the realm of pelvic health physical therapy.

Goals:

  1. Provide residents with advanced training in Women’s Health rehabilitation according to the Women’s Health Physical Therapy Description of Advanced Clinical Practice.
  2. Allow residents to enhance their expertise through focused and planned instruction with their mentor.
  3. Promote holistic care of the patient and develop connections with referral sources to best support your patients.
  4. Produce clinicians, mentors, and educators to assume leadership roles in Women’s Health Physical Therapy.
  5. Foster involvement in community outreach and educational programs, including teaching a lecture in Women’s Health physical therapy to a local PTA program.
  6. Provide opportunities to develop teaching and mentoring skills.

Location

The Women’s Health Residency currently has approved sites in Tucson, Arizona. This is through our BodyCentral Physical Therapy chapter of Therapy Partners Group University

Each year the Women’s Health residency is anticipated to have additional sites. Please make sure to contact us for specific locations.

Faculty

Residency Coordinator

Melissa Buss, PT, DPT, WCS, CLT

Melissa Buss, PT, DPT, WCS, CLT

  • Director of Education and Residencies
  • Graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with DPT
  • Graduated from Pittsburgh Medical Center Women’s Health Residency
  • APTA Clinical Instructor Level 1&2 Certified
  • I teach the Pelvic Health Foundations, Oncology, Upper Extremity Lymphedema, Lower Extremity Lymphedema, Visceral Mobilizations Modules within the residency.
  • “I love the fact that there is so much variety in patients! My favorite part of my job is teaching other clinicians how to develop critical thinking skills so they will all be better PT’s than I will be!”

Program Faculty

Rachael Nevsimal PT, DPT, WCS

Rachael Nevsimal PT, DPT, WCS

  • Graduated from Marquette University with DPT
  • Graduated from Body Central Women’s Health Residency in 2021
  • APTA Clinical Instructor Level 1 Certified
  • I teach the Postpartum, Female Athlete, and Osteoporosis Modules within the residency.
  • “My favorite population to treat is those suffering from tailbone issues! Many women do not realize that tailbone pain and misalignment can be causes and reasons for pelvic pain and dysfunction.”
Tonya Bunner, PT, DPT, OCS, WCS, BCD-PMD

Tonya Bunner, PT, DPT, OCS, WCS, BCD-PMD

  • Graduated from Old Dominion University with PT
  • Graduated from AT Stills University with DPT
  • I teach the Lumbar/ Sacroiliac and Biofeedback Foundations Modules within the residency.
  • "Pelvic Health has given me the greatest sorrow and joy over the past 22 years. I have cried, laughed, and celebrated milestones in my patients' lives. It has been a true honor to serve this population. It is about my patient and their needs and working with them to accomplish their goals."
  • Outside of the Residency Tonya is a Senior Diplomat and Mentor/ Instructor for Biofeedback Certification Institute of America, Instructor and Creator of Advanced Concepts Pelvic Floor and Lumbopelvic Health Complex, Instructor and Creator of Foundations of Pelvic Health for Therapy Partners Group, and is the co-founder.
Elaina Stover, PT, DPT, WCS

Elaina Stover, PT, DPT, WCS

  • Graduated from Washington University in St. Louis DPT
  • Owens blood flow restriction, dry needling, and RYT-500 Yoga certification
  • I teach the Climbing Rehabilitation and Masters Athlete courses for Therapy Partners Group University.
  • “My favorite population to treat within pelvic health is prenatal and postpartum: I like the way this population requires knowledge of the musculoskeletal system and the neuroendocrine system. I also enjoy educating women on the physiological changes associated with 1st through 4th trimester. I also enjoy treating lumbopelvic and hip pain. I like this population because I can use my orthopedic skills and postural restoration principles to create quick changes in the neuromuscular system.”

Resident

2021-22

Erin Frost, PT, DPT

Erin Frost, PT, DPT

  • Graduated from the University of Texas Southwestern School of Health Professionals with DPT
  • Current Therapy Partners Women’s Health Resident with anticipated graduation date on 10/2022
  • Yoga Certified Teacher, LSVT BIG Certified, APTA Clinical Instructor Level 1 Certified
  • I teach the Pregnancy Module within the residency.
  • “My favorite population to treat is dyspareunia and prolapse because I enjoy strategizing ways to reduce symptoms and empower patients to physically and mentally train their own bodies.”

2022-23

Minija Edgar, PT, DPT

Minija Edgar, PT, DPT

  • Undergrad: Colorado State University, BS in Health and exercise science
  • PT school: University of Vermont
  • Certifications: 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher
  • I want to work in pelvic health to provide a safe space for patients to attain bodily autonomy; I aim to guide my patients to their highest quality of life
  • DPT curriculums have minimal Pelvic health content. I chose residency to experience complete immersion into treating pelvic health, so that all my patients will receive the best care possible. Prior to graduating PT school, I spent 12 weeks at BodyCentral for a clinical rotation, and I'm so excited to be back!

Program Outline

Women’s Health Residents are in the clinic treating patients 30 hours per week. Mentoring is included in those 30 hours (about 4 hours per week).  Didactic time is built into the schedule to work on article reviews, MedBridge/other courses, research, outreach opportunities,  interprofessional shadowing, surgery observation, or attending lab and lecture modules.  One morning per week and one afternoon per week are allotted for this.  The weekly schedule typically changes and adapts to best fit the needs of the schedule throughout the course of the residency.

Program Overview

Residents are provided with additional training, didactic teaching, and coaching in the clinic to allow them to focus on each resident’s unique requirements. The curriculum is also structured to help therapists pass the American Physical Therapy Board of Specialists Women’s Health Certification exam.

  • WCS Exam Pass Rate: 100% (as of June 2022)

Mentoring Model: 

Each resident mentors a minimum of 150 hours 1:1 with a member of our Women’s Health Residency Faculty: Each mentor will spend a period of 1-3 months mentoring a resident on a weekly basis before residents are transitioned to a different mentor.  Mentoring slots are typically 4-5 hours with time blocked for patient discussion and planning. Primary mentors are WCS credentialed therapists, but we also have additional mentoring time with some of our faculty with NCS and previous residents prior to WCS certification. This promotes a well-rounded experience.

Women’s Health Resident Caseload:

Our residents see a caseload of 90-100% women’s health patients. This includes but is not limited to bladder and bowel dysfunction, pre-and post-surgical, sexual dysfunction, pain syndromes, pregnancy, and postpartum care, male pelvic health dysfunction, pain syndromes, pediatric pelvic floor dysfunction, and oncological and lymphedema cases. Our resident’s caseload is designed to be inclusive of all ages and genders to promote proper healthcare for all. The remainder of the caseload will be general orthopedic cases.

For more information please contact Melissa Buss, PT, DPT, WCS, CLT- melissabuss@bodycentralpt.net

Program Description

Women’s Health Specific Residency Curriculum:

Kegel Klub

  • 1x per month meeting to review research and new topics in women’s health
  • Discussion of challenging cases

Case Presentation

  • Case presentation in May to review case study that will be submitted for WCS examination

Guest lecture for PIMA physical therapy assistant program

  • Lecture/Lab regarding pelvic health treatment and diagnosis for PTA students in their final year

Lecture with AZ Village Gatherings

  • Lecture introducing pelvic health topics to underserved moms in our community 

Lumbopelvic hip dry needling (27 hours)

  • Structure and Function

Attendance at ISSWSH conference

  • International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health

CSM attendance

  • Combined sections meeting attendance

Mentoring

  • Direct mentoring in patient session: at least 150 hours
  • Indirect mentoring hours outside of direct patient treatment: at least 150 hours

 

Observation Hours:

“Subject to changes due to COVID-19 rules and regulations within hospitals”

  • Pediatric Urology
  • Urology
  • Urogynecology
  • Colorectal Surgery
  • Postpartum Psychiatry
  • Pain Management

 

Modules:

Bladder Health Foundations: (4 hours lecture; 4 hours lab)

  • Background information on genito-urinary systems
  • Dysfunctions related to the urinary system
  • Pharmacological review
  • Proper internal and external examination of pelvic floor
  • Incontinence differentiation and treatment
  • Hypertonicity versus hypotonicity diagnosis and treatment

Biofeedback Foundations: (4 hours lecture; 4 hours lab)

  • Background information on sEMG
  • Education on sEMG usage and standardization
  • Proper use of sEMG including documentation and billing related to biofeedback

Pregnancy Foundations: (3 hours lecture; 2 hours lab)

  • Pregnancy-related physiological changes
  • Pregnancy treatments and areas of focus per trimester
  • Treatment and evaluation of patients with a high-risk pregnancy
  • Birthing position, perineal massage, and education on preparing for delivery

Postpartum Foundations: (4 hours lecture; 2 hours lab)

  • Management of the postpartum patient
  • Postpartum healing and recovery including typical medical management
  • Episiotomy grades, forceps delivery, and vacuum-assisted delivery
  • Screening for postpartum depression
  • Common dysfunction following c-section or vaginal delivery
  • Examination and treatment of the postpartum patient
  • Returning to intimacy

Bowel Foundations: (4 hours lecture; 2 hours lab)

  • Colorectal anatomy and function
  • Overview of Crohn’s disease and IBS
  • Coccyx pain and mobilization
  • Fecal incontinence, dyssynergia defecation, Anismus
  • Nutrition and exercise management of constipation
  • Fiber supplements, stool softeners, and laxatives overview

Male Pelvic Floor Foundations: (4 hours lecture; 2 hours lab)

  • Anatomy overview and review
  • Male-specific pelvic floor dysfunctions
  • Prostate surgeries
  • Male-specific pelvic floor treatment and recovery

Pelvic Pain: (4 hours lecture; 2 hours lab)

  • Etiology of chronic pelvic pain
  • Background and psychology of pelvic pain
  • Specific sexual dysfunctions and pain
  • Treatment, surgery, and rehab options

Male Pelvic Pain: (4 hours lecture; 1-hour lab)

  • Etiology of male pelvic pain
  • Treatments of male pelvic pain
  • Psychosocial aspects of male pelvic pain
  • Myofascial release and manual techniques to aid recovery

Visceral Mobilization: (2 hours lecture; 2-4 hours lab)

  • Genito visceral manipulation background history and treatments
  • Intensive lab focused on mobilizations of bladder, uterus, prostate, ovaries, kidneys, and fascia

Pediatric Pelvic Floor: (8 hours lecture; 2-hours lab)

  • Pediatric genitourinary and gastrointestinal typical and atypical development
  • Pelvic floor assessment in pediatrics
  • Training proper pelvic floor and bladder/bowel habits
  • Specific dysfunction and treatments relating to the diagnosis of ASD, cerebral palsy, meningomyelocele, down syndrome, ADHD, tethered cord syndrome, and other
  • Treatment of encopresis, vaginal voiding and reflux, constipation, recurrent UTI, nocturnal enuresis, and other pediatric pelvic floor dysfunctions
  • Psychological component of pelvic floor dysfunction in pediatrics
  • Management of family dynamics to best support child

Osteoporosis: (3 hours lecture)

  • Osteoporosis development and structural changes throughout lifespan
  • Pharmacology related to management and cause of bone loss
  • Treatment post vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty
  • Treatment and building or maintenance of bone density
  • Diet and nutrition

Female Athlete: (3 hours lecture)

  • Background and historical perspective of female athletes
  • Female-specific sports injury
  • Female athlete triad
  • Female athlete-related urinary leakage
  • Treatment and screening procedures

Oncology: (3 hours lecture)

  • Rehabilitation during active treatment
  • Surgical interventions and medical management
  • Chemotherapy, radiation, gene therapy
  • Pharmacology and common side effects
  • Cancer staging

Upper Extremity Lymphedema: (3 hours lecture; 4 hours lab)

  • Breast cancer pathology
  • Breast cancer rehabilitation and lymphedema
  • Medical management
  • Lymphedema grading and severity
  • Lymphedema care includes complete decongestive therapy, wrapping, MLD, and PORi techniques, compression garments and skin care

Lower Extremity Lymphedema: (1-hour lecture; 3 hours lab)

  • Cancers and other pathologies causing lower extremity lymphedema
  • Assessment and treatment of lymphedema
  • Lymphedema care includes complete decongestive therapy, wrapping, MLD, and PORi techniques, compression garments and skin care

Topics Specific to Treatment and care of Transgender Patients: (3 hours lecture)

  • History of transgender patients and medical care
  • Review of surgical procedures and hormone replacement therapy
  • Proper technique and treatment of the transgender patient
  • Specific diagnosis related to transgender pelvic floor dysfunction

Preconception Care and Infertility: (4 hours lecture; 2 hours lab)

  • Overview of female cycles including hormones and common dysfunction
  • Female infertility and treatment overview
  • Medical management of infertility
  • Pelvic Floor PT role in treatment and management of infertility
  • Visceral manipulation techniques

Foundations Courses (all residency programs):

APTA CI Credentialing Course (27 hours)

Dry Needling Foundations Course (27 hours)

Lumbar Module and Lab

Hip Module and Lab

Cervical /TMJ Module and Lab

Chronic Pain Module and Lab

FAQs

What is a Payback Period?

This is a 15-month employment commitment following the residency program. Residents are required to work for 15 months as a staff clinician at one of our locations. Our resident graduates will be paid a staff PT salary during this time and be eligible for bonuses.

We encourage our graduates to participate in our residency program by teaching lectures and mentoring our new residents.

During this time, we also help prepare our graduates to sit for their WCS by providing guidance and study materials. There is no cost for the Payback Period unless you choose to buy yourself out of it at the end of the residency period.

What are you looking for in a Women's Health Resident?

We are looking for someone that is passionate about Women’s Health and clinical education. We want someone who is a “go-getter” on our team.  Residents need to be driven and motivated to make their residency experience the best 15 months possible.

It is also very important that our Women’s Health Residents are a good personality fit with our Residency Faculty and our treating staff.

When is your application deadline?

Women’s Health Residency follows the universal application deadline and decision date for Women’s Health Residencies, which is typically a 12/31 deadline, and decisions are announced the week of 3/1.

What is the program start date?

August 1

Can I apply if I’m taking July boards?

We would strongly encourage you to take boards in April if you are applying to this residency program, as your licensure may be delayed otherwise.  However, you will still be considered for a position.

How many residents do you accept each cycle?

2

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