Lectures and Activities


The didactics portion of the residency consists of a broad range of topics and activities based on the educational guidelines set by the American Board of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. Didactics are scheduled as weekly course-based lectures facilitated by a faculty member. The series is completed in 18 months allowing each resident to be exposed to each course twice.

Courses include:

  • Introduction to PM&R
  • General Rehabilitation
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Neurorehabilitation
  • Pediatric Rehabilitation
  • Pain Medicine
  • EMG
  • Musculoskeletal/Sports Medicine
  • Orthotics and Prosthetics
  • Geriatric and Cancer Rehabilitation
  • Ultrasound
  • Spasticity

Board reviews are held in preparation for the PM&R written board examination.


PGY-1 options:
  • Categorical match - UPMC Mercy
  • Advanced PM&R match - UPMC Presbyterian/Montefiore or another institution
Model Schedule for Categorical PGY-1:
Floor medicine
3 blocks
Night medicine
1 ½ blocks
1 block
1 block
1 block
1 block
PM&R Junior Inpatient Rotation
1 block
2 ½ blocks
Model Schedule for Advanced PM&R Track through UPMC Internal Medicine PGY-1:
Ambulatory (VA Urgent Care Center)
1 block
UPMC Presbyterian Emergency Department
1 block
Medical ICU
1 block
4-5 Blocks of Inpatient Medicine
Inpatient PM&R
1 block
Internal Medicine Night Float
1/2 block
3-4 blocks


Research Requirement

Residents are expected to complete a research project by graduation. In PGY-2, residents are schedule for a month-long research rotation dedicated to an academic project such as longitudinal research, basic science, book chapters, case series, and more. The program’s research has resulted in national presentations for many of our residents—several of whom have won Best Research Paper at the Association of Academic Physiatrists national meeting.

Quality Improvement

All residents are expected to complete a QI project by graduation. QI projects may be completed in a small or large group and should be introduced towards the end of PGY-2 and developed in PGY-3. The QI project can be completed in tandem with the required research project. Recent graduates have been recognized on a national level as part of the Practice Improvement Project spotlight by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.


  • Six-week Anatomy Cadaver Course – intensive study of neuromuscular anatomy led by faculty and senior residents
  • Prosthetics and Orthotics Workshop – annual opportunity to visit local prosthetics companies for observation of the manufacturing and fitting of devices
  • MSK Ultrasound Workshops – hands-on experience with attending oversight
  • Spasticity Workshop - annual educational experience focusing on introduction to chemodenervation, clinical assessment of spasticity, and ultrasound-guided approaches
  • Joint Injection Workshop – hands-on experience at the Wiser Simulation Center led by senior residents and the program directors
  • Professional Development Lecture Series – series led by guest speakers and department faculty covering a wide variety of topics including: statistics for PM&R physicians; billing and coding; medico-legal issues for physiatrists; the culture of patient safety; coping with stressful situations; ethical dilemmas; and volunteer opportunities in Pittsburgh
  • Monthly Clinical Case Reviews – led by our Associate Director
  • Radiology Rounds – cases presented by residents involving radiological images, EMG, or clinical pearls
  • Resident Journal Club – led by a PGY-2 resident with faculty mentorship and guidance
  • Monthly Chair Lectures – lectures or discussions with Dr. Sowa covering current PM&R news and events

Grand Rounds

  • Resident Grand Rounds — Scheduled during PGY-3, each resident presents a lecture on a topic of their choosing with faculty mentor guidance.
  • Panther Rehab Grand Rounds — Invited guest speakers from other institutions and/or departments are invited on a monthly basis to present lectures covering topics relevant to PM&R. For more information about upcoming Panther Rounds click here.


UPMC PM&R Administrative Leadership Track

This track promotes leadership development for residents interested in pursuing careers in healthcare administration. The track features complement the courses already available in our training program.

Track Features:

  • PGY-3 Orientation: 5 protected two-hour blocks during the first 3 months of PGY-3 to establish leadership fundamentals and initial project development
  • One-month Administrative Rotation in PGY-4.
  • Protected time for participation in UPMC Rehabilitation and System meetings
  • A mentored longitudinal administrative project

UPMC PM&R Research Track

The goal of this program is to promote research development for residents interested in pursuing research as a part of an academic career. This track will compliment other resident research experiences already offered as a part of our training program.

Track Features:

  • One-month research rotations in each training year
  • Protected half days for research time
  • Mentorship from experienced research faculty
  • Funding for presenting research at national conferences