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Women's Health Physical Therapy Residency Program

The Women’s Health Residency Program provides practicing physical therapists with advanced training in pelvic and abdominal health, oncology, and lymphedema management, including:

  • Examination.
  • Clinical decision-making.
  • Multi-disciplinary and patient-centered care.
  • Manual therapy techniques.

The program also places an emphasis on using current research and literature to maintain practice within the scope of evidence-based physical therapy. 

UPMC Rehabilitation Institute funds the Women’s Health PT Residency Program, housed within several outpatient clinics.

Clinics where residents may provide patient care include our locations in:

  • McCandless
  • Monroeville Corporate One
  • Chapel Harbor
  • Cranberry
  • Beaver
  • Oakland
  • Pleasant Hills
  • Pittsburgh - Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC

Who should apply to the Women’s Health PT Residency Program?

Licensed physical therapists that have already completed an entry-level program who want to:

  • Receive advanced training in pelvic health, oncology, and lymphedema physical therapy.
  • Obtain the experience and mentorship needed to become a board-certified Women’s Clinical Specialist.
The Women’s Health Residency Program runs 16 successive months, beginning in mid-August.

As part of the Didactic Plan of Study, you will take part in a planned Women’s Health Residency Program curriculum as well as musculoskeletal coursework to provide comprehensive patient care within the specialty.

The didactic coursework includes the following live and self-study modules:

  • Basic and advanced pelvic floor.
  • Antepartum/postpartum.
  • Lymphedema.
  • EMG/biofeedback.
  • GI dysfunction.
  • Oncology.
  • Bone health.
  • Relative energy deficiency in sport.

You will also enroll in part of the Advanced Clinical Practice — Musculoskeletal Sequence, sponsored by outpatient rehabilitation services at UPMC Rehabilitation Institute. These courses promote advanced decision-making and manual therapy skills for assessing and treating musculoskeletal disorders of the:

  • Foot and ankle.
  • Knee.
  • Hip.
  • Shoulder.
  • Elbow.
  • Sacroiliac joint.
  • Cervical, lumbar, and thoracic spine.

You will complete in-person labs for cadaver dissection. The “Advanced Dissection” course is provided through the University of Pittsburgh’s Physical Therapy Program.

You will also complete a lymphedema certification course through Klose Training Klose Training to earn your Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT) credential. 

You will earn continuing education units (CEUs) for this didactic part of the program.

Along with advanced coursework, you will attend and/or present at the following events to strengthen your professional skillset in this specialty:

  • Multi-program Residency Grand Rounds.
  • University of Pittsburgh DPT Grand Rounds.
  • Teaching assistantship for University of Pittsburgh DPT program, serving as lab instructors for the musculoskeletal program and lecturing for women’s health/ lymphedema curriculum.
  • Specialty practice observations in clinical/ surgical settings with healthcare providers and physicians, including urologists, urogynecologists, physiatrists, oncologists, gastroenterologists, colorectal surgeons, and psychologists.
  • Quarterly Journal Clubs with residency faculty.
  • Residency meetings with faculty, during which you will present biopsychosocial/ outcomes assignments to faculty to reflect upon your clinical interventions and caseload.
  • Women’s Rehab/Men’s Health departmental staff meetings, trainings and in-services for advancing skills in pelvic health PT.

Women’s Health PT Residency faculty will provide mentorship as you prepare your case reflection for the WCS examination application. They will also guide you to develop a case study to submit to a peer-reviewed journal, and/or presentation at APTA’s Combined Sections Meeting, utilizing your case reflection.

Typical weekly schedule for women's health PT residents:

  • Clinical practice: M/W 11:30 am – 8 pm, T/TH 7 am - 12 pm; F 7 am - 11 am.
  • Faculty Meeting:  3-hour time blocks per week during clinical practice.
  • University of Pittsburgh, Department of Physical Therapy (DPT) Grand Rounds: F 12-1 pm.
  • Didactic residency modules: Fridays, typically 1-5 pm.
  • Teaching assistance: (Pitt DPT musculoskeletal courses): T/TH 1-5 pm (typically spring and summer semesters)
  • Specialty practice observations: during spring and summer, between teaching assistantship semesters.

Kristyn Sprague, PT, DPT, WCS, CLT
Women’s Health Residency Director
Chapel Harbor

Core Faculty:

Women’s Health Residency Program Outcomes

  • Number of Graduates (% Graduation Rate): 22 (100%)
  • WCS examination first time pass rate: 95%
  • WCS examination ultimate pass rate: 100%

Salary, Tuition, and Benefits

  • Tuition: $9,600
  • Salary: $49,545.60 /year
  • Tuition is deducted in equal amounts from biweekly paychecks throughout the 16-month program.
  • Benefits: medical, dental, vision, retirement, paid time off, continuing education allotment, Medbridge subscription

Download the Women’s Health Physical Therapy Residency financial fact sheet (PDF).

Application Process, Dates, and Contacts

  • Deadline to apply: December 15
  • Interviews for qualified applicants: January
  • Start date: Mid-August

To learn more, email Kristyn Sprague, PT, DPT, WCS, CLT, Women's Health PT Residency Program Director.

Alumni Testimonials

“I attribute where I am today in my professional career largely to the training and mentorship I received during the Women's Health Residency at UPMC. It gave me the knowledge, experience, and guidance I needed to become a confident pelvic health therapist. If you are passionate about pelvic physical therapy, I would highly recommend UPMC's Women's Health Residency Program.”

– Mary Roberts, Class of 2021

“The UPMC Women’s Health Residency Program is challenging but so incredibly worth it in the end. I grew exponentially as a clinician and with my overall confidence, learned from incredible mentors, and made life-long connections.”

– Taylor Mugnier, Class of 2021

“This program gave me so much confidence as a clinician but also as an individual, and it’s the most beneficial thing I’ve done for my career. The variety of experiences and excellent mentorship made me feel like I could really hit the ground running and that I truly became an expert (even though we’re all always still learning) after this residency. I really valued the experience of teaching with the Pitt DPT program, the manual therapy classes, cadaver dissection, and the acute care rotation. These were all unique components that stood out about the UPMC Residency. I also was able to participate in community service and leadership at the Pitt DPT Pro Bono clinic. My mentors allowed and encouraged me to take advantage of opportunities such as this, and additional conferences and continuing education that a large institution like UPMC could offer, in addition to my residency curriculum. I was able to shape my residency experience to my interests in the field and it really grew my passion for pelvic health.”

– Amanda Stauder, Class of 2019

“The UPMC Women’s Health Residency was the single best thing I did for my career. It accelerated my career growth and skills as a clinician. I gained invaluable experience, knowledge, and expertise through this program and would highly recommend it!”

– Katherine Ireland, Class of 2017

“I could not speak more highly of UPMC's Pelvic Health Residency Program. From clinical mentorship to teaching experiences, UPMC delivers the highest caliber of residency training and education. The blended learning and experiences across residency programs created extraordinary value for me as a resident, as well as allowed me to regularly engage with my peers in other residency areas (sports, ortho, neuro, geri). While there is a set curriculum, this program also allowed me to explore my interests in the hip and dance medicine through experiences with faculty from the other residency programs within the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute.”

– Jenny LaCross, Class of 2015

“The UPMC Women’s Health Residency program was an invaluable experience that went beyond clinical skills. I learned what patient centered care truly looks like and the value of collaboration across the continuum of care. Remaining on staff for post-residency employment provided me with the opportunity to learn how to be an effective mentor and further develop my skills attained during the residency.”

– Andrea Fuchs, Class of 2014

“UPMC Women's Health Residency Program accelerated my career into PT practice not only clinically but also through networking, leadership, and research. I continue to daily use the skills I learned during residency and have maintained both professional and personal relationships.”

– Alaina Newell, Class of 2013

“The UPMC Women’s Health Residency helped to set me and my patients up for success in treating those with pelvic health and lymphatic dysfunction. It gave me the confidence and breadth of knowledge necessary to start practicing on my own and to develop other pelvic health PT practices in my community.”

– Jenn Harrington, Class of 2010

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