Resident Education

Didactic Curriculum

Academics are a strong focus of our residency program. We understand the importance of both lectures, hands-on learning, small group sessions, journal clubs, board reviews, mock board exams, and problem-based learning towards helping us train the best physicians possible.

three photos

We utilize an 18-month curriculum, thus providing each resident with didactic exposure to each topic at least twice during their time in residency. Residents have protected time (free from clinical duties and pages) every Thursday afternoon from 1:30 PM to 5:00 PM.

Our division holds monthly grand rounds lectures which feature speakers of different specialties and disciplines from within and outside of our department giving talks on new and exciting innovations in the field of rehabilitation.

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University has a new state of the art simulation center capable of providing many different learning opportunities. We often use the SUNY Downstate Simulation Center for hands on learning for residents. 

Read more about the Center for Healthcare Simulation

Additionally, academic teaching takes part at our different rotation sites throughout the week through activities such as journal clubs, sit down table discussions with attendings, hands on procedure practice, lectures from other members of the multidisciplinary team, and in the therapy gyms.

three photos

The Modules covered in the 18-month curriculum are:

  • Musculoskeletal and Sports Medicine
  • Anatomy and Biomechanics
  • Exercise and Modalities
  • Rheumatology
  • Prosthetics and Orthotics
  • Stroke
  • Brain Injuries
  • Neurological Rehabilitation
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Burns, Cancer, Cardiac, and Pulmonary Rehabilitation
  • Electrodiagnosis
  • Neuromuscular
  • General Rehabilitation
  • Research
  • Pediatrics

Additionally, we cover and provide training on:

  • Public Health issues such as: Health care disparities, Social determinants of health, Quality improvement, and PDSA cycles
  • Systems based practice
  • The resident as a teacher
  • Professionalism
  • Ethics
  • Self-reflection
  • Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
  • Wellness

three photos

Evaluation Process for Residents

  • At each monthly rotation site residents meet on day one to discuss goals and expectations. They then meet with their attending for face to face feedback at the midpoint of the rotation and the end point of the rotation to discuss progress, and areas for improvement.
  • At the end of each monthly rotation the attending physician completes an online evaluation on New Innovations as well that becomes available to the resident after completion.
  • All evaluations are available for review 24/7 on New Innovations.
  • Residents are evaluated semiannually on their achievement of the ACGME milestones by all of the site directors and the residency program director, with feedback given by the program director.
  • Residents are also evaluated by their peers, patients, members of the administration, and allied health professional staff (PT/OT/SLP/RN).


  • Each incoming PGY-2 is paired with a PGY-3 senior mentor upon entering the program.
  • Additionally, PGY-2, PGY-3, and PGY-4 residents are paired with an attending physician mentor based on their PM&R sub-specialty interest and career goals.
  • Recent graduates from our PM&R residency program also volunteer to serve as mentors for those current residents interested in their sub-specialties.
  • Mentors and mentees are given time to meet several times throughout the year, and mentors serve as a valuable asset throughout residency for helping residents adjust, improve, graduate, and fellowship match.

Volunteer, Teaching, and Mentoring Opportunities for PM&R Residents

There are numerous opportunities for PM&R residents to teach and mentor SUNY Downstate HSU medical students at all levels of their training.

The Department of PM&R’s faculty and residents teach the Downstate COM MS1’s Musculoskeletal Exam Skills Foundational Labs throughout the fall semester. Residents and Fellows have the opportunity to join and help teach. A resident will get paired with an attending physician and physical therapy student to teach a small group of 15 medical students the musculoskeletal exam of different areas of the body over the course of six learning labs. We take pride in helping Downstate medical students establish a strong foundation in their musculoskeletal exam skills that they will take forward into whichever field they end up in.

The PM&R Residency program has a resident committee for overseeing the 3rd and 4th year medical student rotations, Supporting the PM&R Student Interest Group, working to provide mentorship and advice for students interested in PM&R, and providing research collaboration opportunities for medical students. Residents who enjoy teaching can give lectures or short talks during the students’ rotations. They can help first and second year students learn about the field; and they can help students at all levels gain clinical exposure, increase knowledge of PM&R, get advice and mentorship, and conduct quality research in the field. Many residents find it rewarding to be allowed to work with students and make an impact on their education. SUNY Downstate COM has a large and active PM&R Student Interest Group. Residents on the committee act as advisors, and help organize and plan meetings. In just the last year the residents have helped the SIG hold meetings on sports sideline emergencies, ultrasound skills, women’s health and rehab, and a local community sports injuries clinic.

The Department of PM&R also has numerous sports coverage volunteering opportunities. These include helping provide sideline coverage for local high school football games, the special Olympics, road races such as the NYC Marathon, numerous sports for local colleges, rugby, and many more opportunities.

Annual Mentorship and Teaching Opportunities

BK-SWAG (Brooklyn Scholar Athletes with Academic Goals) – A program that introduces various health professional fields to high school athletes and how they align with sports. PM&R residents can volunteer to mentor, to give a lecture, or lead a hands on training session

Brooklyn Health Sciences Academy – Afterschool program for high school students to champion diversity in the health professions. PM&R residents can volunteer to teach or mentor

Exploring Health Careers Program – A program that introduces under-represented college students to the various health professional fields we offer here at SUNY Downstate. PM&R residents can volunteer to have a student work with and shadow them on a typical workday.

Public Health and Community Outreach at SUNY Downstate

The entire campus community at SUNY Downstate HSU from the Hospital, to the College of Medicine, to the residency programs, to the School of Public Health have a strong and deep commitment to advancing health equity and making a community level impact in how we deliver healthcare.

The School of Public Health at Downstate Health Sciences University recognizes that diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice are essential to the education and practice of public health. The School of Public Health (SPH) takes tremendous pride in being a part of the only academic health center located in the vibrant borough of Brooklyn.

Numerous degree and certificate programs are available through the School of Public Health to which resident physicians can get a discount as state employees.

There are numerous opportunities for residents to overlap with the School of Public Health students, faculty and staff both in the academic, clinical, and research settings.

Outside of the School of Public Health there are also numerous Public Health Organizations who’s offices and work are based out of SUNY Downstate HSU.

Read more about the Downstate School of Public Health

Read more about the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health

Read more about the Brooklyn Free Clinic

Read more about the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center

PHAB building