The curriculum was developed as a clinical fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy based on the Description of Advanced Specialty Practice (DASP 2008) published by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT), the AAOMPT Standards document (1999), as well as originally formulated from the Guidelines for Curriculum Development for Postprofessional Residencies in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy and Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy, published jointly by the Othopaedic Section, APTA, and AAOMPT.
The program focuses on an advanced clinical reasoning model with emphasis on a very thorough examination and careful observation of the outcomes of physical therapy intervention.
The curriculum includes a comprehensive array of clinically relevant topics. These include anatomy, biomechanics, neuroscience, differential diagnosis, physiology of pain, radiology, pharmacology, neurosurgery and orthopaedic surgery aspects of musculoskeletal problems, research design, statistics, and critical review of the literature. Classes in anatomy and biomechanics are coordinated with the manual physical therapy instruction for a body region learning approach. The fellows have their own cadaver at the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School anatomy lab under the direct supervision and instruction of the Professor of Anatomy. Dissection emphasizes areas not usually visualized in physical therapy school and is guided by articles from the peer-reviewed literature. Physiology is not a reiteration of previous course work. Instead, it focuses on the physiology of pain, aging, tissue-specific effects of rehabilitation, and other clinically pertinent topics. Didactic classes are taught by physical therapists with doctoral degrees and are board-certified clinical specialists through the APTA. The BAMC medical staff also teaches courses. Clinical instruction emphasizes a very thorough evaluation, an intervention-and-reassess model, and a rapid return to functional activities.
Graduates have the foundation to rapidly assimilate manual therapy techniques and treatment philosophies of various origins. A publishable research project is a requirement of the fellowship.