State of the Art Education
Gopher PM&R residents gain access to a comprehensive training program with real-world experience under the guidance of our top doctors, medical staff, and researchers. One huge benefit of being in a larger city is the holistic training experience we are able to offer. Clinical experience at a Big 10 land grant university with an academic health center, Level 1 trauma centers, a large Veterans Affairs Medical Center serving the greater midwest, and a specialized pediatric hospital give you access to train across the spectrum of practice environments and patient populations. This variety provides trainees the opportunity to find their place and figure out exactly what kind of physiatrist they want to be. We value our role as the academic center for medicine within the state and how care is provided to our communities.
In addition to 4 hours of our weekly didactics for the residents, the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and Division of PM&R host various lectures and conferences throughout the year. A few of our notable educational events include a biannual SCI Research Retreat, Licht Lectures, and a newly established Adaptive Sports Education Conference. Visit the Program Activities page to learn more.
Some facilities and innovative care residents will be a part of include:
- Level 1 Adult and Pediatric Trauma Centers (HHS, Regions Hospital, Gillette Childrens)
- The SCI unit at the VA
- The Gait Lab at Gillette
- Interdisciplinary Amputee clinic at the VA and University
- Emerging Consciousness program at the VA
- The ABLE program and other programmings at CKRI for adaptive fitness
- Prestigious inpatient units including the Fairview Acute Rehab Center
- Extensive Adaptive Sports programming through CKRI and VA
The VA SCI unit was one of the first of its kind to design a whole unit around a certain diagnosis. This meant that everything was taken into account even down to the tables not having legs on the, (could get in the way of a wheelchair) to the mirrors tilting down so seated patients can still see everything they need to. The motion and gait analysis was also one of the first of its kind after being developed many years ago by Dr. Jim Gage who literally wrote one of the early textbooks on gait analysis.
In addition to all this, our department also offers fellowships in Brain Injury Medicine, Spinal Cord Injury Medicine, Pain Medicine, and Pediatric Rehabilitation. You will have the chance to get to know these faculty members well and position yourself for a successful fellowship match if that is your plan.
Physician burnout and wellness is a point of emphasis for our program. We hold two residency retreats annually with events aimed to reduce physician burnout and promote resident wellbeing and resilience. Activities include restorative yoga, self-care, teamwork, self-reflection and wellness education from experts. Monthly business meetings with co-residents, centralized resources to support trainees, and an open-door policy to connect with the program director are a few ways that we offer support throughout residency. We have a peer and faculty mentoring program to help support our residents at various levels, and the chief residents are always just a text message away. Lastly, we understand that we are all people who are doing this job and taking care of the people allows all of us to do a better job. This means supporting our residents however we can all the time, and especially during times of need.
Gatherings happen year-round, during all four seasons here in Minnesota. We kick off each year with a Welcome BBQ where residents, fellows, faculty, and staff get to meet the new faces and enjoy the Minnesota summer with their family and co-workers. When fall arrives and the cold returns, residents and faculty enjoy bonfire outings, happy hours, and other outdoor activities. Our academic year is highlighted and concluded with our graduation ceremony to celebrate our graduates and share some more time together. Our residents find ways to connect with each other in many ways in this great state. If you are a fan of some friendly competition then you will be pleased to know that we have implemented a “House Cup” competition and award to encourage our teams to get points for the work (and extra work) that they are doing to try and win the cup. Put together, it’s an experience like no other.
FUN FACT: Happy hours are regular occurrences after big presentations and First Fridays are celebrated after work as much as possible.
Outreach and Opportunities
There are numerous opportunities in our program. Residents can team up with our physicians to provide volunteer medical care at local sporting events such as performing physical examinations for high school sports teams to being the on-course at the Twin Cities Marathon. Interested in improving the campus climate? Join the Departmental or Medical School Diversity, Equity and Inclusion groups, the Resident Leadership Academy, and even volunteer at the State Fair! Interested in tailoring your education? We offer two tracks with a third coming soon. Our educator and MUSCLE (MSK Ultrasound) longitudinal tracks are well-developed offerings to help you tailor your training to help prepare you for practice. A research track is in development. Have an idea? Share it with the Chief Residents or program administration- be a part of new initiatives and leave your stamp on a program!
Other ways to tailor your experience is with your continuity clinic and elective research time. These happen during outpatient rotations and the location and topic of study is up to you. Look into something that you are interested in or work in an area you want more exposure to- it's up to you. We also offer one elective rotation that you can design to meet your needs and can even spend up to 4 weeks off-site.
FUN FACT: Did you know that PM&R Residency Program Director, Dr. Brionn Tonkin, is an Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant for the NFL? He was at the 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis and worked with the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles.
Living in Minnesota
We invite you to explore the great state of Minnesota as you consider training at the University of Minnesota. Minnesota's natural beauty and cultural appeal is evident everywhere you turn.
Minneapolis/St. Paul consistently ranks among the best metropolitan areas, nationally acclaimed for the quality of our educational opportunities, theater, abundant outdoor recreation, family-friendliness and more. Minneapolis continually ranks highly in top places to live, healthiest cities, top park systems and biker-friendly cities. We have the second-most Fortune 500 companies per capita.
Whatever your definition of fun, you can find it here. We make the most of the outdoors, even in the winter! The metro area is home to more than 600 lakes, 130 art galleries, 136,000 acres of parkland, 100 theatre companies, miles of scenic bikeways, more than 50 golf courses, great schools, friendly neighborhoods, and countless festivals and activities for adults and families.
No car? No worries! The Minneapolis Metro Transit passes right through the U of M campus and can connect you to popular destination sites across the twin cities. The Green Line’s East Bank Stop is just a short walk from the heart of the Med School campus, making for convenient and hassle-free transportation. See where else the Green Line can take you. There are also several bus lines that pick-up and drop-off on campus.
FUN FACT: There is only one of our sites that are not readily accessible from the train stations. You might not even need a car.
Joe Benert, PGY3
"I live with my wife and dog in the Hiawatha neighborhood, near the Ericsson border. We're right off the train line, which allows me easy public transportation to all of our clinical sites. We're also near Minnehaha Park and the Minnehaha Creek bike path, providing good access to the chain of lakes (which are great for paddleboarding!) and other outdoor activities. It's a welcoming neighborhood, with lots of friendly neighbors, good restaurants, and fun activities around. We hope to be able to stay in the area after graduation!"
Dr. Brionn Tonkin, Program Director
"My favorite things to do in the Twin Cities/MN is Riding bikes, being on the water, and camping. I live in South Minneapolis and did during residency also. I have easy access to work at the VA and bike ride or take the train to downtown Minneapolis or the University. The train also goes to the sites in St. Paul so I only have to drive to work about 3-4 times per year. What surprised me most about living in Minnesota is how amazing the spring and falls are and how bad the winter wasn't (usually)."
Watch Our Program Videos
Learn more about the residency program, sites and rotations, and current resident's day in the life by watching the playlist below.
The University of Minnesota Medical School is committed to excellence. Our mission will only be achieved through embracing and nurturing an environment of diversity, inclusiveness, equal opportunity, and respect for the similarities and differences in our community.
We strive to create an atmosphere where differences are valued and celebrated, knowing institutional diversity fuels the advancement of knowledge, promotes improved patient care and fosters excellence. We will train a culturally aware workforce qualified to meet the needs of the diverse populations we serve. We especially strive to have our community better reflect the broad range of identities in our state, including race, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, national origin, religious practice, and socioeconomic status.