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SLU-SSM Health Physical Therapy Women's Health Residency

Together with SSM Health Physical Therapy, Saint Louis University offers a 16-month women's health physical therapy residency with numerous opportunities for licensed physical therapists to develop as advanced clinicians; to develop as educators, to produce and disseminate scholarly products; and to grow as providers to the area's underserved populations.

Allied Health Building
Saint Louis University Allied Health Building

Our mission is that, through shared traditions of serving humanity and enhancing lives through quality healthcare, we provide reflective, person-centered, evidence-based residency education to licensed physical therapists pursuing the ideals of leadership, structural competency and advanced clinical practice in women’s health physical therapy. 

The program, accredited by the ABPTRFE in 2022, advances physical therapists in their knowledge of women’s health, gender health and public health. The curriculum is guided by the American Board of Physical Therapy and Fellowship Education Description of Residency Practice (ABPTRFE-DRP).

SLU-SSM Health Women's Health Residency and Fellowship Financial Fact Sheet

Program Faculty

  • Jill Eveker Imgarten, PT, DPT, OCS, CSMT, Program Director
  • Chris Sebelski, PT, DPT, Ph.D., OCS, CSCS, SLU Director of Residency Education
  • Kayla Dougherty, PT, DPT, WCS, CLT, Program Coordinator
  • Megan O'Normile, PT, MPT, WCS
  • Krystan Kohler, PT, DPT, COMT
  • Hillary Hinrichs, PT, DPT, CLT, WCS
  • Caitlin Rumsey, PT, DPT, WCS


Our curriculum aims to exceed the standards of ABPTRFE accreditation. Below highlights the experiences and opportunities of the program that set us apart and maximize the strength of the partnership between SLU and SSM Health Physical Therapy:

  • 1,500 hours of women's health physical therapy patient care
  • 150 hours of 1:1 clinical mentoring
  • A minimum of 30 hours providing pro-bono services to the St. Louis community
  • A minimum of 50 hours spent as a lab instructor or facilitator in SLU's entry-level DPT program
  • A minimum of 300 hours educational hours via face-to-face didactic, small group and psychomotor skills instruction
  • Up to 50 hours of clinical observation (physician shadowing, surgery observation)

We are undergoing the accreditation process with the ABPTRFE. We accept external applicants and internal applicants (current employees of SSM Health Physical Therapy).

Program highlights include:

  • Direct 1:1 clinical mentoring and thorough preparation for the ABPTS WCS exam
  • Compensation (including full-time employee benefits)
  • Dedicated, focused pathways in an area of interest culminating in a scholarly product
  • Participation as a lab instructor in SLU's entry-level physical therapy program
  • Small group classroom and manual skills instruction, facilitated discussion and journal club
  • Opportunities for clinic rounding, surgery observation and grand rounds with physicians

Scholarly Products

  • Lanty A, Sebelski C.  Patient Reported Outcomes for the Female Athlete with Urinary Incontinence:  A Scoping Review.  APTA Combined Sections Meeting.  Feb 2024, Boston MA Poster presentation.
  • Mulhearn B, Sebelski C.  Urgent! Are Healthcare Providers Prepared to Meet the Needs of the LGBTQ+Community?  APTA Combined Sections Meeting.  Feb 2024, Boston MA Poster presentation.
  • Lanty A, Rhein B, Sebelski C, Yemm B.  Putting It on the Map: Pelvic Health Delivery Creates Safety-Net for Region's Underserved.  Journal of Women’s & Pelvic Health Physical Therapy. 47 (1), 2023.
  • Rhein B, Lanty A, Sebelski C, Yemm B.  A Roadmap for the Road Less Traveled: Pelvic Health Education Via Pro Bono Services. APTA Combined Sections Meeting. San Diego, CA. Poster Presentation

Curriculum Discussion Topics and Seminars

  • Pelvic health foundational courses
  • Leadership foundational courses
  • Women's health foundational and special topics courses (pain science/persistent pelvic pain, oncology, gastrointestinal disorders, colorectal disorders, trauma-informed care)
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Lumbo-pelvic hip region
  • Spirituality
  • Continuum of aging
  • Visual analysis of human movement
  • Clinical reasoning/differential diagnosis
  • Thoracic spine/cervical spine/shoulder
  • Patient-centered interviewing
  • Physical examination and manual treatment procedures                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Individualized Exploration

While our residents always have the option to explore based on their individual interests, we have identified two pathways that strongly emphasize the resources of Saint Louis University and SSM Health Physical Therapy.

Education Pathway

Working with the Saint Louis University Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, the resident will:

  • Participate in courses for the Foundations Certificate in University Teaching Skills
  • Earn Foundations in University Teaching Certificate (if requirements are met)
  • Interact with award-winning teachers in the Program of Physical Therapy
  • Explicitly be involved in a variety of entry-level DPT courses as an observer, lab instructor and lecturer
  • Be involved as a clinical educator within a pro-bono environment
  • Emphasize education research through readings and scholarship

Social Justice Pathway

Working directly with the Physical Therapy Clinic, the resident will:

  • Participate in courses focused on interprofessional education
  • Engage in specific activities to explore the influence of the Jesuit mission in clinical practice

Sample Weekly Schedule

Day A.M. P.M.
Monday Entry-Level Teaching Clinical Practice (non-mentored)
Tuesday Clinical Practice (non-mentored) Physician Shadowing
Wednesday Residency Instruction Clinical Practice (non-mentored)
Thursday Clinical Practice (with a mentor) Clinical Practice (non-mentored)
Friday Clinical Practice (non-mentored) Clinical Practice (non-mentored)
Sample Weekly Schedule

Participation in the Physical Therapy Clinic takes place on select weekends.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the outcomes of the SLU SSM Health Residency graduates? 

Our graduates report engagement in the advancement of the profession and their own commitment to lifelong learning. We have an 80% (4/5) graduation rate, and 100% (2/2) of our graduates who have sat for the examination have achieved ABPTS Board Certification in Women’s Health Physical Therapy. As highlighted, we are committed to collaborations between the sponsoring organizations and numerous scholarly products. In addition, 100% (4/4) of our graduates have submitted abstracts to present at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Section Meeting with 75% (3/4) achieving an educational session and/or poster presentations within their scholarly areas of interest.

Should I apply for a residency program or a fellowship program? What is the difference?

The American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education states: "(A residency or fellowship) program's comprehensive curriculum is developed from and addresses the most recent version of the Description of Residency Practice (DRP), the Description of Fellowship Practice (DFP), or an ABPTRFE-approved analysis of practice. All curriculum components complement each other to enhance the participant's learning. The program's curriculum organization ensures congruency between didactic and clinical components. The curriculum provides a structure for the designation of types, lengths, and sequencing of learning experiences that ensures the achievement of the program's outcomes."  

The residency experience combines opportunities for ongoing mentoring and formal and informal feedback to the physical therapist resident, including required written and live patient practical examinations, with a foundation in scientific inquiry, evidence-based practice and coursework designed to provide a theoretical basis for advanced practice. A residency program must be completed within a minimum of 1,500 hours including a minimum of 150 hours of one-to-one mentoring and a minimum of 300 educational hours completed between 10 to 60 months within the specialty area of practice. A fellowship program allows a therapist to subspecialize in an area of practice, and must be completed with a minimum of 1,000 hours and between 10 to 60 months.

What are the admissions requirements and process for the SLU SSM Health Physical Therapy Women's Health Residency?

The expected requirements for the application to be considered include:

  • Graduate of an accredited physical therapy program
  • Proof of licensure as a physical therapist and a Missouri license by the start of the program
  • Three letters of recommendation (one from an academic physical therapist, one from a clinician, and one of the applicant's choosing)
  • Official DPT transcripts
  • Comply with the SSM Health Physical Therapy and Saint Louis University employment requirements

Applications are initially reviewed by the program administration. Invitations are extended to a select number of applicants for an in-person, on-site interview with members of the residency faculty. Web conference interviews are possible if necessary.

How many years of experience in the physical therapy field should I have before applying?

Recent graduates of accredited physical therapy programs are eligible to apply, as are physical therapists who are within the field of women’s and pelvic health and are interested in one-on-one mentoring.

How large is the program?

One to two residents are accepted each year.

How long is the program?

It is a 16-month program, typically beginning in early August.

When is the application deadline?

Early in the new calendar year. Only one annual application cycle is offered, typically beginning in the fall. It is a rolling admissions process.

What physical therapy degree should I hold to apply to the Women's Health Program?

Applicants can hold a bachelor's, master's or doctor of physical therapy degree.

How do I apply?

For more information, please reach out to Program Director Jill Imgarten, PT, D.P.T., CSMT, at

Will I be prepared to take the clinical specialist exam after I graduate?

Yes. Our curriculum is developed from the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education Description of Residency Practice and the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists' Description of Specialty Practice. An emphasis is placed on the concepts and knowledge necessary for the specialist exam.

Is an interview a required part of the application process?

Yes, a personal interview with the faculty of the SLU-SSM Health Physical Therapy Residency Program is a requirement of the application process for invited applicants. This interview can be on-site or through web conferencing.

Can student loans be deferred while I am enrolled in the program?

Typically, yes; however different lenders may have different policies. Check with your specific lender regarding your individual account and its management.

What are the requirements for successful completion of the program?

Residents are expected to demonstrate successful completion of written and oral exams, and practical examinations with patients. Additionally, the SLU SSM Health Physical Therapy Residents complete clinical case presentations, an evidence-informed presentation to colleagues, and a scholarly product.

Must I be licensed to practice physical therapy in the state of Missouri?

Yes. You must have a Missouri state physical therapy license before beginning the residency in August.

Where will I practice if I am accepted to the program?

Residents who were not current SSM Health Physical Therapy employees upon acceptance to the program practice will practice at a selected SSM Health Physical Therapy clinic. Residents who were current SSM Health Physical Therapy employees upon acceptance to the Program practice at their home clinic within SSM Health Physical Therapy.

Is tuition charged for the education portion of the program?

The resident is responsible for a portion of APTA Public Health Level 1, 2a, 2b, and 3 courses if not completed in advance of the program. No other tuition is required.

What expenses can I expect to incur?

Residents are expected to be members of the APTA. Expenses include living, transportation, parking, APTA membership and conference fees. Learning materials such as additional texts, independent study course modules, computer access and suitable professional clothing should also be expected expenses.

SLU-SSM Health Women's Health Residency and Fellowship Financial Fact Sheet

Will I be paid?

Yes. Residents in this program are considered full-time, benefited SSM Health Physical Therapy employees and are paid a competitive rate for physical therapy residents.