PM&R Residency Training Program at the
Medical College of Wisconsin

Thank you for your interest in The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) Residency Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We are a well-established academic training program for physiatrists, under the direction Nicholas Ketchum, MD. The department is committed to creating an outstanding training program for future clinicians, academicians, and rehabilitation leaders. We have a large integrated program involving three major teaching hospitals, the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, the Froedtert Hospital, and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

Why Choose the Medical College of Wisconsin?

There are many reasons to consider the Department of PM&R at the Medical College of Wisconsin for your residency. First and foremost, we have 31 well-trained, knowledgeable, friendly, and committed faculty members. In fact, most of our faculty are dual trained in PM&R and in a subspecialty area such as; pediatrics, spinal cord injury medicine, stroke rehabilitation, interventional spine care, electrodiagnostic medicine, or pain management. This level of expertise translates into outstanding bedside teaching and didactics. Our departmental culture is one that places a high priority on resident and medical student education.

Nicholas Ketchum, MD

Nicholas Ketchum, MD
Assistant Professor
Residency Director

Our Residency Program offers a Research Intensive Track with protected research time, funding, cutting edge research projects and significant mentorship opportunities. Residents join this track in their PGY1 year. Additional information on joining this track will be available after September 15, 2017. Please contact Moriah Iverson, MS Research Program Manager at or Sue Abrahms, Education Program Manager at for more information.

We value and respect our residents, fellows and medical students. You will find that our department has a wonderful supportive atmosphere for working and learning. We pride ourselves on providing superlative care to our patients. This commitment and dedication are evident throughout our services. We are an advanced 3 year program which accepts 6 PGY2 residents each year for a total of 18 residents.

We offer a broad range of rotations for your education. In contrast to many programs, our program provides a nearly equal balance of in-patient and out-patient rotations. Residents spend 12 months on inpatient rotations, 12 months caring for outpatients, and 2 months on consults service. This allows our residents the flexibility to create their own learning experiences that closely match their interests.

Our two chief residents are given considerable responsibility for managing the day-to-day operations of the residency. The chief residents attend faculty meetings and their input and advocacy for the residents are welcome and appreciated.

Convenience and ease of training also mark this program. The Medical College of Wisconsin is located in a suburban campus with easy access, excellent parking, and close proximity to two of the major teaching hospitals. The Medical College of Wisconsin, Froedtert Hospital, and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin are located on the same campus and are readily accessible by walkways. This provides a highly convenient environment for attending didactics and course work. The Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Medical Center is approximately 15 minutes away, easy commuting distance from the main campus.

See MCWAH Benefits, Conditions & Terms of Employment for information regarding vacations, leaves, insurance, stipends, and professional liability. The Housestaff Handbook (PDF) is another great resource.

Open AllClose All
  Application Information

We participate in the National Residency Match Program (NRMP) and as such only accept applications through the ERAS program. You can access the FRIEDA database for further information on our program.

We start reviewing applications via ERAS starting in September and interview invitations will be sent at the beginning of October. Below is a list of the qualifications to apply.

We review every candidate on the merit of their portfolio taking into consideration first time takers and high scores.

  • We require three (3) letters of recommendation, minimum of one from a physiatrist.
  • PM&R clinical experience is preferred
  • We accept USMLE and COMPLEX Scores
  • Maximum of two years since graduation from medical school
  • For IMGs, Step 3 results must be reported to the department by January 31.
  • ECFMG certification is required before beginning of residency program.
  • We require preliminary year training in the U.S. prior to beginning the program.

You must apply to a preliminary or transitional program separately. We strongly urge you to apply to several PGY1 positions because these positions are very limited. A list of preliminary programs in the Milwaukee area is below. 

Medical College of Wisconsin
Medicine-Preliminary Year
9200 W. Wisconsin Avenue
(414) 456-6791

St. Joseph's Hospital
Transitional Year Program
5000 W. Chambers Street
Milwaukee, WI 53210
(414) 447-2195

St. Luke's Medical Center
Transitional Year Program
2900 W. Oklahoma Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53215
(414) 649-3323

Prior to commencing the 36 months of physical medicine and rehabilitation education, a resident must have successfully completed 12 months of either ACGME-accredited education in fundamental clinical skills or RCPSC-accredited education in fundamental clinical skills in a residency program located in Canada.

If you have any questions regarding your application, please contact Sue Abrahms, Program Manager I at (414) 955-1925.

See MCWAH Benefits, Conditions & Terms of Employment for information regarding vacations, leaves, insurance, stipends, and professional liability.

  Qualifications and Eligibility

The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation abides by MCWAH’s Selection of Residents and Fellows policy as well as the requirements of the ACGME.

  1. The following are eligible for selection as residents and fellows:
    1. Graduates of medical schools in the United States and Canada accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). All candidates must have passed the U.S. Medical Licensure Examination Step I (USMLE I) or COMPLEX Level 1.
    2. Graduates of medical schools outside the United States and Canada who have received a currently valid certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) or graduates of medical schools outside the United States who have a full and unrestricted Wisconsin medical license.
    3. Graduates of medical schools outside the United States who have completed a Fifth Pathway program provided by an LCME accredited medical school.
  2. Selection
    1. The MCWAH programs will select from among eligible applicants on the basis of their preparedness, ability, aptitude, academic credentials, communication skills, and personal qualities such as motivation and integrity. The MCWAH programs shall not discriminate with regard to sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, disability or on any other basis prohibited by applicable Federal or State law.
    2. All programs will participate in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) or a specialty Match Program if one is available and widely used.

As per ACGME Institutional Requirements, applicants for residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation must meet one of the following qualifications:

  1. Graduate of medical school in the U.S. and Canada accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).
  2. Graduate of an international medical school, meeting one of the following qualifications:
    1. Have a currently valid ECFMG certificate or
    2. Have a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in a U.S. licensing jurisdiction.

Non-citizens must have permanent resident status or a J-1 Visa.

All PG 2 residency positions will be offered through the National Residency Matching Program.

It is the policy of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Medical College of Wisconsin and its affiliated hospitals to sustain resident selection processes that are free from impermissible discrimination.  In compliance with all federal and state laws and regulations, and institutional policy, no person shall be subject to discrimination in the process of resident selection on the basis of gender, race, age, religion, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Education Curriculum

The Medical College of Wisconsin PMR Residency is committed to developing outstanding clinical and academic physiatrists. The Program is committed to:

  • Supporting the residents. The Residency assists and supports each resident in maintaining his/her well being; assisting in caring for and serving patients and families; and preparing for his/her future.
  • State-of-the-art care and services. The Program assists the PMR Department, healthcare professionals, and others in providing state-of-the-art care and services for patients and families.
  • Knowledge, skills, behavior, attitude. The Residency develops physiatrists that possess the competencies expected of an outstanding new practitioner.
  • Desired in marketplace. The Program develops physiatrists that are desired in today's and tomorrow's marketplaces.
  • Board certification. The Residency develops physiatrists that are able to pass the American Board of PMR general certification examination upon their initial attempt.
  • Passionate professionalism. The Program develops physiatrists that are passionate about helping patients and families; enhancing their knowledge, skills, and careers; and advancing the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Open AllClose All
  Residency Rotation Schedule

View (DOC) a residents' typical schedule.

  On-call and Cross Coverage Responsibilities

The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation department monitors resident work hours to ensure compliance with all ACGME mandates. We are always in compliance with the 80-hour work week. Residents take call from home covering one of our affiliate hospitals. The call frequency is increased for the PGYII residents and is less frequent for the PGYIII and PGYIV residents. Call is approximately once every 4 – 6 weeks during the PGYII year and every 8-10 weeks during the PGYIII and PGYIV years. Call is always from home. On the weekends, the resident on-call rounds in the hospital and writes notes with the attending on-call.

Each resident has three weeks of vacation during which time the residents cover each other. Services requiring vacation coverage include consult services and inpatient services.

  Didactics and Educational Activities

Three Year Rotating Didactic Series Topics

Physiatric Evaluation & Therapeutics
Pain Management
Practice Management & Gait
Industrial & Occupational Medicine
Joint & Connective Tissue Diseases
Integrative Medicine, Spasticity, Palliative & Aging & Disability

Spinal Cord Injury
Practice Management & Gait
Traumatic Brain Injury
Sports Medicine

Acquired Limb Deficiency
Practice Management & Gait
Orthopaedics & Rheumatology
Neuromuscular Diseases
Cardiopulmonary, Cancer, Burn


Functional Anatomy and Kinesiology
Physical Exam
Introduction to EMG

PGY3 & 4

Advanced EMG
MSK Ultrasound

Other monthly department educational activities

Grand Rounds
noon - 1 p.m., 1st & 5th Friday

Research Grand Rounds
noon - 1 p.m., 3rd Friday

Neurorehab Case Conference
noon - 1 p.m., Thursdays

Journal Club
5 p.m., 3rd Tuesday

Board Review Study Group
5 p.m., 4th Tuesday


Electives in PM&R

Residents are assigned elective rotations in their PGY3 and PGY4 years. The resident gets the opportunity to create their own schedule based on what experience they want to focus on. We have ample faculty here at MCW and within the community that will allow the resident to create a unique training opportunity.

Elective in Italy

We recently were able to create an offsite elective with Dr. Daniela Jurisic, an MCW - PM&R alumnus, Assistant Clinical Professor and volunteer faculty who lives in Italy. This one-month clinical experience will expose the senior resident (2 per year) to previously unencountered philosophies concerning the treatment of acute and chronic disabling pain, and will encourage the resident to continue critical re-appraisal of his/her practice methods by confrontation with a different cultural setting.

Upon completion of this rotation, the resident should be able to:

  1. Enter into a therapeutic relationship with the patient through discussion and assessment of history and physical findings
  2. Develop a creative treatment plan which is patient-specific, and includes a follow-through phase for maintenance therapy once appropriate physical therapy goals have been achieved.
  3. Discuss both a static and dynamic physical examination with the patient (and the treating physician) in a fashion relevant to the patient’s activities of daily living.
  4. Describe an emotional profile of the patient and discuss how this might interact with the treatment of his/her chronic pain.
  5. Describe common drug interactions based on lectures received from the Clinical Pharmacology specialist and Pain physician, and how these are relevant to treatment plans of chronic pain patients
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of various philosophies on treatment of pain and how to choose the correct treatment profile for the specific patient (patient-tailored pain treatment)
  7. Demonstrate a rudimentary knowledge of anatomy and kinesiology as it relates to exercise therapy practices of: exercise in water, yoga, t’ai chi.
  8. Generate a stress-reduction treatment plan specific to patient needs, articulated in both time and space.
  9. Gain self-awareness and acquire liberty in treatment choices, by expanding the therapeutic armamentarium “outside the drawn lines” but always within scientifically rooted and evidence-based techniques.

We are very excited about this educational opportunity and know that the senior residents able to participate will truly enjoy working with Dr. Jurisic and her colleagues in Pavia and Milan.


The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation department is committed to expanding the science and practice of rehabilitation. Towards this end we instituted a resident research requirement. Each resident must complete a research project during the three years of his/her residency.

Each resident attends the Research Methods Didactics given by the PM&R Research Director. The didactics is a focused lecture series tailored to develop an individual research project. Residents learn how to write a protocol, complete an Institutional Review Board (IRB) application, and learn the basics of study design, epidemiology, statistics, and research.

All residents are expected to complete a project by the end of their three-year residency. They fulfill this requirement by teaming up with one of our faculty. For all residents we encourage quality science that will result in a national presentation and a peer-reviewed publication.

We have an active research committee that helps the resident find a mentor and develop a project that is within the scope of the residency. During the PGYII year the resident identifies and submits a research topic for discussion to the research committee. They present their ideas at one of our research committee meetings. During their PGYII and PGYIII years the resident works on completing the project. The necessary time is carved out of clinical duties such that the expectations of the project are met with sufficient time to complete the goals of the investigation. Optimally, during the PGYIV year the resident submits an abstract to our national meeting as well as submits a manuscript for publication. Residents are provided the time, resources, and mentorship needed for their research project.

Our Resident Research Day is an annual event during which residents and other trainees present there completed research projects.