Orthopedic Residency Program


ABPTRFE AccreditedHartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network and the University of Hartford Physical Therapy Department are committed to the training of the next generation of physical therapy clinicians, researchers, and scholars. Training of the Residents in a 13 month hybrid residency model capitalizes on both institutions highly trained clinicians, faculty, and staff.


Residents will be educated and mentored in Orthopedic Physical Therapy, scholarly activity and participate in the clinical instruction of entry-level DPT students. The program is heavily focused on experiential learning and mentoring, supplemented with didactic education. Mentoring is provided by Board Certified Physical Therapy Specialists and Collegiate Faculty in the clinic, office, and classroom settings.

Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network and the University of Hartford Physical Therapy Department

Program Mission

The mission of the Hartford Healthcare Rehabilitation Network and University of Hartford Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency program is to provide clinical and academic opportunities necessary to develop advanced practitioners in the field of orthopedic physical therapy. To prepare clinicians to contribute to the profession and to improve the health and healing of the communities we serve through advanced and evidence-enhanced clinical practice, professional development, teaching, life-long learning, scholarship, and community involvement.

Program Goals

  • Support the mission, vision, values, and goals of Hartford Healthcare and the University of Hartford.
  • Advance the profession of physical therapy, specifically the practice of orthopedic physical therapy, by facilitating the development of clinicians promoting a commitment to lifelong learning, teaching, and scholarship.
  • Recruit and retain motivated physical therapists who possess a commitment to advancing their orthopedic clinical skills, clinical reasoning skills, and leadership skills.
  • Provide mentorship and instruction in the areas of clinical care, clinical education, and scholarship.
  • Provide didactic and clinical learning environments that integrate evidenced based clinical practice.
  • Improve access for patients to highly qualified orthopedic physical therapists in the state of Connecticut
  • Prepare graduates to meet the requirements to test for the Specialist Certification in Orthopedics by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists (ABPTS).

Program Specifics

A typical week for the resident consists of approximately 40-50 hours of dedicated time, of which 65% will be devoted to clinical practice, 20% to learning activities, 10% to teaching, and 5% to scholarship.

Total Program Hours: 2364.5

  • Educational hours - 473.5
  • Patient-care clinic hours - 1696
  • Mentoring hours - 195

Clinical Practice

  • 32-34 clinical hours per week.
  • Opportunities to develop advanced clinical skills via mentored and independent clinical practice occur through the Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network.
  • Patient populations at these facilities allow for exposure to the entire lifespan and across various cultures.
  • Residents have the opportunity to experience sub-specialties including aquatic therapy, lymphedema therapy, hand therapy, women’s health, sports therapy and manual therapy.

Learning Activities

  • Residents will participate in a Certificate Program in Advanced Orthopedic Physical Therapy at the University of Hartford (221 hrs), resident case rounds/journal club (19.5 hrs), skills labs (40 hrs), AOPT residency curriculum package (175 hrs), MedBridge self learnings (18 hrs).
  • Residents also participate in a yearlong leadership development program led by the HHC Leadership Development Institute. This program offers personalized, coordinated learning to drive personal growth and develop leadership skills.
  • The certificate curriculum includes twelve (12) credits of coursework, comprised of a series of twelve (12) courses each earning one (1) academic credit.
  • Each course will focus on a specific body region or specialty content area; within each area coursework will focus on relevant clinical anatomy, clinical biomechanics, examination, evaluation, and intervention strategies. Courses will include a two-day weekend intensive lecture/lab session and four (4) weeks of online content, including interactive case-based discussion boards.
Courses Dates
Advanced Medical Screening for Orthopedic Therapists August 2023
Foundations of Exam/Mechanisms of Manual Therapy, Exercise, and Pain Neuroscience July/August 2023
Advanced Clinical Practice for the Lumbar/SIJ Region September 2023
Advanced Clinical Practice for the Thoracic Spine October 2023
Advanced Clinical Practice for the Cervical Spine (upper, lower, HA) November 2023
Advanced Clinical Practice for TMD December 2023
Advanced Clinical Practice for the Hip January 2024
Advanced Clinical Practice for the Knee February 2024
Advanced Clinical Practice for the Foot/Ankle April 2024
Advanced Clinical Practice for the Shoulder April 2024
Advanced Clinical Practice for the Elbow/Wrist/Hand May 2024
Vestibular Rehabilitation for the Orthopedic Therapist June 2024


  • Residents will participate in teaching opportunities at the University of Hartford and Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network. 
  • Potential roles include serving as a laboratory assistant in the University of Hartford entry-level DPT curriculum, guest lecture opportunities, and continuing education lectures at Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network.
  • The resident will develop foundational teaching skills and be provided consistent constructive feedback on overall performance.


  • Fundamental skills in basic laboratory and clinical scholarship may be developed at the University of Hartford, Hartford HealthCare, the Bone and Joint Motion Analysis Laboratory as well as through classroom and other specialized learning activities.

Admission Criteria

  • Completion of an admission application through RF-PTCAS, which will include:
    • CV
    • Essay describing the reasons for applying to the Residency Program
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Application fee of $50
  • Must be a graduate of a CAPTE-accredited professional physical therapy program.
  • Must hold a valid Connecticut Physical Therapy License prior to start of the program.
  • Candidates will be invited for an interview with the Program Co-Directors, Program Coordinator, and selected leadership of HHCRN and the University of Hartford.
  • Selected candidates will be invited for an onsite interview which will include a practical clinical examination with a mock patient.
  • Application period: 12/1/23 to 2/2/24

Apply to Our Residency Program Online


2023-2024 Cohort:

Paul Artzer
Paul Artzer, PT, DPT

2023-2024 Cohort:

John McCarthy
John McCarthy, PT, DPT

2023-2024 Cohort:

Caleb Mere
Caleb Mere, PT, DPT

2022-2023 Cohort:

Natalee Cifuentes
Natalee Cifuentes, PT, DPT

2022-2023 Cohort:

Brendan McGreevy
Brendan McGreevy, PT, DPT

2021-2022 Cohort:

Kathy Andres
Kathy Andres, PT, DPT, OCS

2021-2022 Cohort:

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith, PT, DPT, OCS

Program Outcome Data

Pass Rate on the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties OCS Exam: 100%

Professional Service/Leadership activities of past Residents

Professional Contributions/Accomplishments of past Residents

  • CT APTA Presentations
    • A Case of Osteitis Pubis in an Athlete Treated for Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)
    • Clinical Decision Making in a Patient with Cervical Myelopathy: A Case Report
    • What is Trauma Informed Care and How Can it Help My Patients? An Introduction For Physical Therapists and Physical Therapy Assistants

Published scholarship of past Residents

  • JOSPT Cases Submission: A Case of Osteitis Pubis in an Athlete Treated for Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)

Program Faculty/Mentors

  • Daya Constance, PT, MSc, OCS, COS-C
  • Michael Gans, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
  • Joe Grabicki, PT, DPT, OCS
  • Ian Hazelton, PT, MSPT, OCS, ATC, CSCS, Cert. MDT
  • Bradley Johnson, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
  • Benjamin Simaitis, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
  • Jake Smith, PT, DPT, OCS
  • Ashley Ziegler, PT, DPT, OCS

Residency Program Leadership

  • Jonathan Sylvain, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
    Clinical Director - Orthopedic Residency Program
    Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network
  • Brian Swanson, PT, DSc, OCS, FAAOMPT
    Academic Director - Orthopedic Residency Program
    University of Hartford
  • Seth Hagymasi, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
    Program Coordinator - Orthopedic Residency Program
    Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network

ABPTRFE Program Financial Fact Sheet

Download the fact sheet