Mercer University-Shepherd Center Residency in Neurologic Physical Therapy

Mercer University and the Shepherd Center offer an advanced clinical training program in neurologic physical therapy. This 13-month residency is accredited by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) and provides advanced, intensive clinical education and training in the management of adults with the following neurologic disorders:

  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Stroke
  • Balance and vestibular disorders
  • Other neuromuscular diseases

The clinical practice opportunities extend across the continuum of care, including Shepherd Center's intensive care unit, inpatient rehabilitation, and outpatient and day program services.

  • Accelerates expertise of the Client Management Model within evaluation, prognosis, intervention, and management of patients with neurologic dysfunction
  • Combines contemporary, evidence-based coursework with highly individualized, advanced clinical mentoring under the supervision of experienced clinicians
  • Provides clinical focus of study and preparation for neurological specialist certification exam
  • Residency education is the "fast track" to clinical specialization
  • Teaching and research opportunities
  • As a center of excellence for neurologic practice, research, and education, Shepherd Center's residency program allows Shepherd Center and Mercer to improve the professional development and clinical practice for our patients through development of advanced practice clinicians
  • Provides additional evidence-based practice education opportunities for staff
  • Collaboration between local universities and health care facilities
  • Development of mentor and leader positions
  • Recruitment, retention, and professional development in neurologic physical therapy
  • Recognized within the medical model
  • Mentored growth vs. trial and error
  • Refines and increases depth of clinical practice area
  • Research contribution to evidence-based practice
  • Model for professional growth and development through the consumption and analysis of scientific literature, immediate application of science and theory for improved learning
  • Develops practitioners with advanced neurologic clinical skills
  • Increases the number of physical therapists with advanced knowledge in the area of neurologic physical therapy
  • Aligns with the APTA's Vision 2020 in which physical therapy services are provided by specialists in a practice area
  • Provides opportunities for clinical research collaboration with universities
  • Increases the quality and consistency of care for patients with neurologic diagnoses
  • 13-month program
  • 1500 hours of clinical practice across continuum of care and all programs
  • 150 hours of mentoring
  • 150 hours of didactic/laboratory coursework
  • 90 hours of self-directed learning
  • 30 hours of service-learning
  • 30 hours of teaching
  • Resident's case report, case series, research project or other
  • Advanced Education:
    • Foundations in Neurologic PT
    • Functional Independence Measure credentialing
    • Behavior De-Escalation Training
    • Neurologic Physical Therapy Professional Education Consortium Webinars
    • Locomotor Training
    • Pain Sciences course
    • Foundations in Musculoskeletal Science
    • Clinical Instructor credentialing
    • Practice management health care policy and professional issues
    • Diagnosis-specific lectures and labs
  • Specialty observations and clinical practice hours in:
  • Application

"Participating in the Mercer-Shepherd Center Neurologic Residency Program was the best decision I could have made for my career.  I believe residency programs are an integral part of our physical therapy profession, bringing prestige to our community of professionals by providing a comprehensive learning experience and paving the road to becoming an expert clinician.  Having the opportunity to participate in clinical rotations, didactic coursework, teaching within Mercer’s DPT department, research, and mentorship have allowed me to grow immensely as a clinician in just one year.  Shepherd Center’s renowned facility, unique research opportunities, elite quality of care, mentorship, and widespread inter-professional culture enhanced and truly shaped my experience as a neurologic physical therapy resident.  Having the leaders of our profession as mentors through this experience has been priceless in directing me on my path toward becoming an expert clinician.  Moreover, having the opportunity to see patients throughout the entire continuum of care has proven to be invaluable as I move forward in my career, giving me a unique perspective on what to expect as my patients move through the different stages of their care.  This experience has inspired me to pay it forward and work towards becoming a mentor to future students and residents who are aspiring to grow professionally."
- Cristina Segredo, 2014-2015 Resident in Neurologic Physical Therapy

"I believe the Mercer-Shepherd Center Residency in Neurologic Physical Therapy (PT) is giving me a very unique and valuable opportunity to gain both experience and exposure to the entire spectrum of neurologic PT. It is also beneficial to have opportunities for research, teaching and exposure to additional clinics and discussions I may not have had the time to do otherwise. I believe it will give me great perspective as a clinician to know the challenges that patients and clinicians face in the continuum of care in both spinal cord injury and the acquired brain injury/NMD settings. I hope this will enhance my interactions with other clinicians and therapists in multiple settings, and that I will be able to be an asset in many areas of PT. I also hope it broadens my scope and "tool box" for patient care. It allows me to learn from experts and have time for significant mentor experiences, which are accelerating my experience and learning a great deal."
Sarah Caston, 2011-12 Resident in Neurologic Physical Therapy

"This residency program is a great opportunity to develop advanced-practice clinicians here at Shepherd Center and for the healthcare community."
Lauren Greenfeld, DPT, Acquired Brain Injury, Shepherd Center

"Shepherd Center is proud to offer a program that will advance the physical therapist's skills in providing patient care in the area of neurological rehabilitation."
Sarah Morrison, PT, Director of Spinal Cord Injury Program, Shepherd Center

"The depth of current resident Sarah Caston's study and experience will assist her in becoming an advanced, evidence-based practitioner and a thoughtful consumer of evidence in clinical practice."
Deborah Backus, Ph.D., PT, Associate Director of Spinal Cord Injury Research, Shepherd Center

"What an amazing opportunity to immerse yourself into the latest treatments and research of neurologic injury. Being hands-on in all phases of recovery is a great way to learn and make a positive impact on people's lives."
Lauren Nieves, PT, Spinal Cord Injury Day Program, Shepherd Center

"The mentor sessions provided during the residency program are problem-based and provide a unique opportunity for treatment collaboration and advanced clinical inquiry."
Jill Vaughn, MPT, NCS, Acquired Brain Injury, Shepherd Center

  • Collaboration between Mercer University, one of the strongest PT schools in Georgia, and Shepherd Center, one of the Top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation, specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury or brain injury
  • Opportunity for potential residents to become a part of the new model for clinical education
  • Opportunity to learn from Shepherd's diverse patient population
  • For more information, please read this article from Spinal Column, Shepherd Center's magazine
  • Or, visit the American Physical Therapy Association
  • Application
  • Atlanta is a world-class, modern city with a rich, passionate history and much to offer. For more information on Atlanta, visit
  • Application

Logo of American Physical Therapy Association - Credentialed Residency Program