Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency

Clinical Experience

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residents undergo three years of specialty training following one internship year. Applicants apply separately for internship and PM&R residency.


The internship must be completed at an accredited graduate medical education training institution. Internship requirements may be met through either:

  1. Completion of an accredited transitional residency, or
  2. At least six months in accredited training in one or more of the following disciplines: internal medicine, family medicine, emergency medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, or surgery

The remaining months of this year may include any combination of accredited specialties or subspecialties.


Teaching is primarily provided by faculty members in the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, Division of Rehabilitation Medicine. Most training takes place at UW Health facilities or Central Wisconsin Center in Madison. Opportunities for training in additional settings can be arranged with approval of the Residency Director.


Three-month rotations during the three years of PM&R residency include inpatient, outpatient clinics, pain/procedures, EMG, pediatrics, and elective rotations.

Inpatient PM&R Service at UW Health Rehabilitation

Residents develop expertise in managing functional deficits and associated medical complications in people with acute disabilities. The focus of inpatient rehabilitation is improving deficits and developing compensatory strategies to maximize function.

Inpatient PM&R Service at Central Wisconsin Center

Central Wisconsin Center is a state residential and short-term treatment facility for individuals with developmental disabilities. This rotation provides training in the care of individuals with severe disabilities.

Residents work in the Short-Term Care Unit, which admits individuals from the community for acute medical needs, post-operative care, or to help coordinate medical care.

UW Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation sees a wide variety of patients in outpatient clinics across the Madison area. Residents participate in patient evaluation and treatment. Close collaboration among members of the team enables the resident to learn the skills and expertise of other disciplines.

General Rehabilitation

Residents acquire knowledge and familiarity with a wide variety of common chronic disorders, their functional consequences, and strategies for prevention and treatment.


Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies are vital tools for the diagnosis of neurological and neuromuscular disorders. Residents are trained by attending neurologists and physiatrists in the University of Wisconsin’s EMG Laboratory. Upon completion of the rotation, residents are able to design, carry out, and interpret complete and appropriate electrodiagnostic examinations.

The PM&R program requires residents to participate in at least 200 EMG studies. Residents typically complete sufficient numbers of cases to meet the requirements of the American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine and the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Pain Rehabilitation

Residents in the pain rotation learn the skills necessary to manage patients with chronic (persistent) pain, as well as a working knowledge of managing acute and cancer pain. This training includes assistance with, and performance of, diagnostic and therapeutic interventional procedures at the Madison Surgery Center.

Community Rehabilitation

This rotation provides experiences in multiple community rehabilitation settings. Community experiences include a weekly musculoskeletal/spine clinic at the Veterans Hospital.


This rotation focuses on musculoskeletal evaluation, injury management, and orthopedic rehabilitation. Residents work with orthopedic surgery faculty as well as rehabilitation medicine faculty in Sports Medicine Clinic and Spine Clinic. Residents also spend time with the musculoskeletal radiologists reading radiographs, CTs, and MRIs. There are opportunities to work during sporting events or work with athletic trainers at local high schools for experience in acute injury management. EMG experience is also included.

Consultation Service

Residents on the consult service see patients at University Hospital at the request of other inpatient services, mainly trauma, neurosurgery, neurology, and orthopedics.

UW Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation sees a wide variety of patients in outpatient clinics across the Madison area. Residents participate in patient evaluation and treatment. Close collaboration among members of the team enables the resident to learn the skills and expertise of other disciplines.

Pediatrics Rotation

During the pediatric PM&R rotation, residents are involved with pediatric inpatients, consults, and various outpatient clinics.

Specialty clinics are multi-disciplinary and include cerebral palsy clinic, spasticity and dystonia clinic, spina bifida clinic, neuromuscular disorders clinic, spinal muscular atrophy clinic, gait clinic, clubfoot clinic, and general pediatric PM&R and orthopedic clinic.

Community and therapy experiences include pediatric physical, occupational, and speech therapy in clinics and elementary schools, as well as observation of videofluoroscopic swallow studies and visits to the Communication Aids and Systems clinic.

Residents are encouraged to work with other pediatric specialists including pediatric neurosurgeons, neurologists, developmentalists, urologists, and orthopedists.

Residents participate in procedures including Botox and phenol injections. They are also involved in intrathecal baclofen trials and pump management.

Elective Rotation

Residents can plan a rotation to increase their knowledge and skills in accordance with a plan for professional development, including research. The goal is to prepare residents for entry into a specialty fellowship program and/or develop basic knowledge and clinical skills in specific areas. This rotation typically occurs during the PGY-4 (final) year.