Lectures and Activities

The didactics portion of the residency consists of a broad range of topics and activities. The program is 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 twice to each course.

Didactics include the following courses:
Introduction to PM&R
General Rehabilitation
Spinal Cord Injury
Neurorehabilitation (stroke and brain injury)
Pediatric Rehabilitation
Pain Medicine
Musculoskeletal/Sports Medicine
Orthotics and Prosthetics
Geriatric and Cancer Rehabilitation

Additional Specific Educational Opportunities:

Anatomy Cadaver Course This six week intensive study of neuromuscular anatomy is led by faculty and senior residents.

Prosthetics and Orthotics Workshop

Residents visit local prosthetics companies on a yearly basis for observation of the manufacturing and fitting of these devices

MSK Ultrasound Workshops Gives residents a hands-on experience in MSK ultrasound with attending oversight. Residents also have the opportunity for small group teaching in the workshops

Joint Injection Workshop Provides hands on experience on ultrasound guided injection at the Wiser Simulation Center

Professional Development Broad lecture series from guest speakers and department faculty covering topics such as ‘statistics for PM&R physicians’, ‘billing and coding’, ‘medicolegal issues for physiatrists’, ‘the culture of patient safety’, ‘coping with stressful situations’, ‘ethical dilemmas’ and ‘volunteer opportunities in Pittsburgh’.

Clinical Case Reviews Monthly with our Associate Director

Radiology Rounds Residents present interesting cases involving radiological images, EMG, or clinical pearls

Resident Journal Club Discussion of relevant PM&R articles led by a PGY-2 resident with faculty mentorship and guidance.

Chair Lectures Monthly lectures or discussions with Dr. Sowa covering current rehabilitation news and/or events. Topics are chosen by the residents.

Aside from formal didactics, there are monthly resident meetings and program director meetings to discuss the program and recommendations for continued improvement.

Resident Grand Rounds - Scheduled during PGY-3, each resident presents a lecture on a topic of his/her choosing with faculty mentor guidance. Previous topics have included:

Biomarkers of osteoathritis
Music medicine
Brain tumors in TBI

The psychology of rehabilitation
The use of biological agents in sports
Overhead throwing mechanics in athletes


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.Recent presentations and presenters have included:

“Pathophysiology of Traumatic Brain Injury and Neurodegenerative Sequelae: Insights from Diffusion Tensor Imaging, Clinical, and Microdialysis-based Studies” presented by, David L. Brody, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO.

“Plexopathy in the Cancer Setting” presented by: Michael D. Stubblefield, MD, Associate Attending Physiatrist, Sillerman Center for Rehabilitation, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.

“Progressive Resistance Exercise and Parkinson's Disease” presented by, Daniel Corcos, PhD, Professor of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago.