Clinical Education

Clinical Education Vision: To meet the physical rehabilitation needs of the people of Minnesota and beyond by engaging physical therapy students in diverse and dynamic clinical experiences. Students have exciting opportunities to engage in collaborative, experiential learning in a variety of physical therapy settings.

Physical therapy students at white coat ceremony.

Key Factors

  • Integrated clinical experience throughout the first and second years to apply one's skills as they are learned. Thirty-eight weeks of full time clinical experiences (4) after all coursework is complete

  • Long standing relationships with a wide range of clinical settings with geographic and demographic diversity

  • Opportunities for focused clinical experiences in pelvic health, chronic pain, TMD, lymphodema, clinical research, leadership, and in international settings
  • Structured and reflective interprofessional opportunities as part of every clinical experience

Integrated and Full-Time Clinical Experiences 

Dodoma Christian Medical Center

International Experiences

In response to an increased interest in international opportunities for Doctor of Physical Therapy students and the University of Minnesota's commitment to better prepare individuals to participate in global health initiatives, the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program has developed International Experiences that allow for diverse experiences in global health care and physical therapy. International Experiences are available only during the last spring semester of the third year. 

Current site locations include Brazil, Ecuador, Italy, and Tanzania.

Rural Experiences

The University on Minnesota is committed to preparing individuals to participate in underserved rural health. The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program has coordinated with Health Sciences Programs to connect learners in rural regions to expand on their interprofessional collaboration to best serve communities with limited resources.

Clinical Educator Resources

We house many clinical education resources specific to our program for students, preceptors, and clinical instructors on our Exxat resource page. Check it out to find clinical education objectives, CIET training materials, policy & procedures, and experience planning materials. Our annual newsletter provides recent updates. The Northern Plains Clinical Education Consortium (NPCEC) is another source of excellent development resources. For additional details, please contact Kaleigh Roepke (

Designated Clinical Mentor

The University of Minnesota Doctor of Physical Therapy program is grateful to our community of clinical partners for their ongoing support in educating our future Physical Therapist colleagues.

We are proud to acknowledge our most consistent and collaborative individual clinical instructors with the honorary title of Designated Clinical Mentor (DCM). These individuals provide excellent professional training and role modeling and consistently earn positive student reviews, offering regular input to connect the didactic and clinical education components of the curriculum.

DCM's host between 4 and 8 full-time University of Minnesota DPT students per calendar year, or host a combination of regular full-time and part-time (integrated) clinical education experiences. See DCM bios below.

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Dan Kirkpatrick, PT, DPT

Dan Kirkpatrick
Dan Kirkpatrick, PT, DPT

Dan completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities in the Kinesiology and Coaching prior to pursuing his doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from Regis University in Denver, CO. Dan has a broad background in both orthopedic and neurologic conditions, having practiced extensively in both settings. He became a board-certified Neurological Clinical Specialist in 2021. He has been with STEP Therapies since 2011 and is currently the Director of Orthopedics there. He has strong professional interests in anatomy and neuroscience, manual therapy, dry needling, corrective exercise and pain science. He has pursued significant education and specialization in the performance of dry needling and has received his advanced certification.

Dan also has a very strong interest in education and academics and seeks to advance his ability to help, teach and mentor students as associate faculty and a clinical instructor. Dan thoroughly enjoys and appreciates the opportunity to host and mentor UMN DPT students in order to advance their knowledge and skills, their potential, and become successful therapists.



Ryan Olmscheid, PT, DPT, OCS

Ryan O
Ryan Olmscheid, PT, DPT, OCS

Ryan Completed his undergraduate degree from Southwest Minnesota State University in Biology. He later completed his Doctor of Physical Therapy training through the Mayo School of Health Sciences. He is a Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist since 2010. Ryan has been a member of the Minnesota American Physical Therapy Association Research Committee since 2013. He has presented locally on the management of cervicogenic headaches, evaluation and treatment of the cervical spine, treatment of thoracic dysfunctions, implementing clinical practice guidelines and clinical prediction rules into the clinical practice, and using a risk management approach for the treatment of low back pain.

Ryan is the clinical supervisor of the M Health Fairview Sport and PT clinic in Elk River, MN and the M Health Fairview Rehab clinic in Princeton, MN. The M Health Fairview Sport and PT clinic provides physical therapy services for general orthopedic conditions, while the M Health Fairview Rehab clinic provides patient care for general orthopedic, neurological, pelvic flor, and cancer rehab treatments. Ryan provides specialized treatments for injuries related to throwing, running, and gymnastics/dance.

Ryan has had the pleasure of working with many students. He has a strong desire to help new and seasoned therapists to improve their clinical reasoning skills and treatment abilities to maximize outcomes in the realm of physical therapy.

M Health Fairview Rehab - Elk River

Jason Burgart, DPT

Jason Burgart
Jason Burgart, DPT

BA in Physical Education with an emphasis in Athletic Training from Luther College

Doctorate of Physical Therapy from University of Iowa

Jason's passion is to work with active people and athletes of all ability levels. His experience in athletic training has given him the tools to help people return to sport or activity following acute and chronic injury. He has a special interest in treating endurance athletes, shoulders, and acute lower extremity, specifically the knee and ankle, injuries. He also enjoys helping patients with their post-operative rehabilitation. Jason believes that his job is not only to guide the rehab process by improving strength, motion, mechanics and function but also to help the people that he works with fully understand their condition and why they are having pain. Physical Therapy is successful when patients have met their goals and returned to their prior level of activity with an education and understanding of how to protect themselves against a recurrence of pain.

Dan Nelson, PT, DPT

Dan Nelson
Dan Nelson, PT, DPT

Dan earned his BS in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota. After working as a Personal Trainer for a few years, he returned to the UMN to pursue and obtain his Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree. Since graduating, he has worked at the MHealth Fairview East Bank campus with a passion for acute patient care and a growing interest for student teaching. Dan is an APTA credentialed clinical instructor with multiple years of experience with student learning, taking on over 20 students from various Minnesota based programs prior to becoming a Designated Clinical Mentor for the UMN DPT Program. Additionally, Dan served s a clinical preceptor for 1st year DPT students as Walker Methodist and Pillars, and continues to assist in completing 2nd year Acute Care Skills Lab within the program. 

Throughout the pursuit of his degree, Dan had a strong clinical interest in outpatient sports medicine, manual therapy and recovery from orthopedic conditions. During his time in his acute care clinicals, he began to develop a strong interest for the acute care setting, something that he enjoys fostering and passing along to the students he mentors. Dan has developed a niche specialty in the clinical management of bariatric populations, older adults with chronic illnesses, those with poor socioeconomic status and those with increased psychosocial factors impacting safe discharge planning.

Dan enjoys mentoring UMN DPT students as he has an understanding of the program and enjoys bridging the gap in acute care awareness for the students. Dan finds that UMN students have excellent opportunities for education and learning throughout the program, a wide variety of experiences available that prepare them for their future in the PT world, and most importantly he enjoys being a part of that learning.

Tara Kelly, PT, DPT

Tara Kelly
Tara Kelly, PT, DPT

Tara earned her BS in Biomedical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and later returned to attend the University of Minnesota for her DPT degree. Since graduating, Tara has worked at MHealth Fairview - University of Minnesota East Bank campus in adult acute care. Tara has a passion for acute care with a special focus on working with medically complex and critically ill patients.  Tara developed a passion for acute care during her clinicals when she was able to combine her analytical engineering background with physical therapy to start patients on their journey to recovery. She has participated in the development and implementation of early mobilization protocols in the ICU, orienting and educating staff members, and furthering her own knowledge through research. Additionally, she enjoys integrating her 10+ years of coaching experience into her support of patients and progression of mobility.  

Tara is an APTA credentialed CI that has enjoyed sharing her acute care knowledge and passion with many different physical therapy students over the years. She truly enjoys mentoring students about the value of acute care therapy and assisting them to grow confidence in their own skills.

Abby Stromquist, PT, DPT

Abby Stromquist
Abby Stromquist, PT, DPT

Abby earned a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Carroll University and is a Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy. At the Neuroscience Center in St. Paul, Abby’s main clinical interests include vestibular, aquatics, chronic pain, and neurologic physical therapy.

Abby has presented locally on the translating research into clinical practice, COVID-19 rehabilitation implications, and Functional Neurological Disorder. In addition to presenting, she helps coordinate research for the Minnesota Regional Spinal Cord Injury Model System and develop Clinical Practice Guidelines for stroke, traumatic brain injury, lymphedema, and multiple sclerosis.

While clinical practice is rewarding itself, Abby greatly enjoys sharing her knowledge with physical therapy students as a lab assistant and clinical instructor. She is an APTA credentialed CI and helps in the neuro and acute labs in the UMN DPT program. She enjoys showing students how to use evidence-based physical therapy while acknowledging the unique experiences and perspectives of each patient.

Madelyn Downing, PT, DPT

Madelyn Downing
Madelyn Downing, PT, DPT

Maddy earned her BS in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Human Performance at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. She quickly discovered her love for human anatomy and pursued her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at the University of Minnesota where she graduated in 2021. Soon after graduating, Maddy started working at STEP Therapies where she works primarily with clients with Multiple Sclerosis. In addition to MS, she has experience working with clients with various neurologic conditions including Parkinson's Disease, post stroke and spinal cord injury. Her passion is helping patients maximize their functional capacity in order to restore independence. 


Maddy has enjoyed taking on the role of Clinical Instructor at STEP Therapies and feels working with students to be a rewarding opportunity. She has a passion for helping students develop their critical thinking skills, clinical decision making and overall confidence in the field. 

2023 CIs of the Year

Please meet our 2023 Clinical Instructors of the Year! Individuals are nominated by their students as role models in clinical practice and education. 

Bradie Nelk

Bradie Nelk, PT, DPT, ATC, TPS, Cert. DN

Jeremiah Yates

Jeremiah yates, PT, DPT


Clinical Education Team

Jacque Ruen, PT, DPT, OCS
Assistant Professor
Director of Clinical Education

Briana Partee, PT, DPT
Assistant Professor
Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Amanda Sharp, PT, DPT, GCS
Associate Director
Director of Student Affairs

Kaleigh Roepke
Clinical Education Coordinator

Mailing Address:

Division of Physical Therapy
University of Minnesota
MMC 388
420 Delaware Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455