UNC Orthopedic PT Residency

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Learn about this program:

The UNC Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency is a 55 week program that starts a new cohort in September. Residents are full-time employees (with benefits) who work 30 hours per week independently in the clinic. Additionally residents complete weekly learning activities in a mixed format (reading, researching, discussion, observation, online posts, lab practice and teaching).

  • Program application deadline: 12/30/2022
  • Program start date: 9/11/2023
  • Program duration: 55 weeks
  • Number of resident/fellow openings per cohort: 4
  • Tuition cost: None

Program Website


Main Contacts:

Kristel Maes

  • Is there a salary or stipend? Yes.
  • Are there benefits? Yes. There are full medical benefits, and generous PTO.
  • Is there housing assistance? No
  • Clinical site information:
    4 clinical sites located within Chapel Hill, Durham and Hillsborough.
  • Clinical mentorship information:
    Each resident receives 4 hours of mentorship each week.
  • What is a distinguishing feature or selling point of your program?
    "The faculty and staff of the Division of Physical Therapy and UNC Hospitals are committed to developing residents who are recognized leaders within orthopedic physical therapy. Clinicians from a top notch university and large healthcare system work together to support residents with their development of excellence in examination, diagnosis, intervention, consultation, teaching and the integration of best evidence into the patient care they provide. They will grow as a resource for the community in orthopedics and will contribute to the profession through teaching, writing, and leadership. Graduates of the residency program will be prepared to sit for the ABPTS Orthopedic Certified Specialist (OCS) examination."
  • Is there the ability to work with a specialized population(s)?

Faculty and/or Resident/Fellow-in-training Spotlight

Spotlighted Faculty:


  • Name: Jeff O'Laughlin, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
  • Email: jeffrey_o'laughlin@med.unc.edu
  • Background Education and Experience:
    Bachelor of Science, University of Delaware, 2008. Area: Exercise and Sports Science, concentration in Biomechanics
    Bachelor of Arts, University of Delaware, 2008. Area: Spanish Studies
    Doctorate in Physical Therapy, University of Delaware, 2011. Area: Physical Therapy Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists Kaiser Permanente
    Nor Cal Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship, 2015
  • What is your role within the program?
    "Program Director since May 2022"
  • What separates this program from others like it?
    "The unique collaboration between the university and hospital system provide a rich learning environment that is very well supported by the leadership. Residents have access to a wealth of knowledge and resources. The program is set up to where the 4 residents can collaborate in their learning while receiving the individual attention during mentorship to develop their skills and move their career to the next level."
  • Why do you think advanced orthopedic training through residency and fellowship is important?
    "NC has direct access, therapists need to be trained to be independent thinkers and have excellent clinical reasoning skills to quickly identify the needs of a patient. Our program gives the residents the foundation they need to become experts in the field of orthopedics."
  • Please share a little-known, fun fact that others may be surprised to learn about you.
    "I've been to 5 continents, which is kind of cool, but one of the 5 was Antarctica. The others include Africa, Europe, North and South America."

Spotlighted Faculty: 


  • Name: Sarah Van der Horst, PT, DPT, OCS
  • Background Education
    UNC DPT graduate, graduate UNC Orthopedic PT residency, Board Certified in Orthopedics, currently serves as a mentor and module lead in the program.
  • What is your role within the program?
    "Mentor and module lead for pain science."
  • What separates this program from others like it?
    "As our program is part of a state hospital, it is our mission to provide care to all people including the underserved. The program brings attention to this population and teaches residents to become well rounded clinicians."
  • Why do you think advanced orthopedic training through residency and fellowship is important?
    "To ensure we have critically thinking providers in our profession that will focus on improving the lives of our patients with evidence based practice."
  • Please share a little-known, fun fact that others may be surprised to learn about you.
    "I've been fostering for 2+ years and still treading water. I've been taking wheel throwing ceramics classes with variable success. I have 2 dogs (Chickpea and Tahini)."