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Manual Physical Therapist Fellowship

Mission Statement:

The mission of the Duke Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship is to develop and graduate practitioners, who by virtue of their critical thinking ability, clinical skills, diagnostic competence, and ethical standards are committed to promoting the optimum health and function of their clients, and who will serve the larger society and profession through teaching, administration and/or research.

The clinical fellowship program’s goals and objectives are directed toward an in-depth experience in the management of our patients across the lifespan and are based on Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy Description of Advanced Specialty Practice (AAOMPT).


The goals of our Fellowship Program include:

  • Advancement of the profession of physical therapy, specifically the practice of orthopaedic manual physical therapy
  • Improvement of access for patients to qualified orthopaedic manual physical therapists
  • Development of professional behaviors of our fellows, specifically in terms of lifelong learning, participating in the development and use of evidence to support our practice, and thoughtful application of manual therapy principles

Overview of Curriculum

  • Direct 1:1 clinical mentoring in orthopedic manual physical therapy setting
  • Research opportunities and conference presentations
  • Physician Clinic & Surgery Observation opportunities
  • Weekly Didactic Curriculum
  • Assisting with Duke’s DPT program

Program Structure

  • Duke Orthopedic Manual Therapy Fellowship was started in 2007 and credentialed in 2009 in accordance with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) guidelines and the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT) standards.
  • The program is a full-time, post-professional educational program spanning 12 months. The Fellow in Training becomes an employee of Duke and is employed at a reduced salary (with full benefits) to participate in the Fellowship.
  • The program includes 30 hours per week of patient care (including 1:1 mentoring and clinical practice) and about 20 hours a week of didactic coursework, case reports, testing, etc.
  • The fellowship incorporates both didactic learning experiences and clinical mentoring to elevate the PT to level of “master clinician.” As a part of a large teaching hospital, our program can offer a variety of unique learning experiences such as shadowing physicians, observing procedures, assisting with Duke’s DPT program and participating in research opportunities. After successful completion of the curriculum, the fellow in training is eligible to apply for fellow status with AAOMPT.
  • Curricular Content
    • I. Foundations
      • a. History and Philosophy of OMPT
      • b. Clinical Decision Making and Reasoning
      • c. Patient and PT interaction
      • d. History taking
    • II. Foundations II
      • a. Applied concepts in anatomy and physiology
      • b. Applied concepts in biomechanics
      • c. Neurophysiology of pain and pain education
      • d. Applied concepts in manual therapy
    • III. Differential Diagnosis
      • a. Diagnostic accuracy
      • b. Sequential manual therapy examination
    • IV. Rehabilitation research
      • a. Evidence-based practice
      • b. Critical Analysis of rehabilitation research
      • c. Performing research
    • V. Diagnostic Imaging
    • VI. Cervical Spine
    • Unit VII. Orofacial Regional
    • Unit VIII. Upper Quarter
    • Unit IX. Thoracic Spine and Ribcage
    • Unit X. Lumbosacral and Pelvic Girdle
    • Unit XI. Lower Quarter
    • Unit XII. Special Topics in OMT
      • a. Gait Analysis
      • b. Orthotic prescription and fabrication
      • c. Pharmacology
      • d. Chronic Pain management
      • e. Women’s Health
      • f. Preventive Care

Admission criteria:

  • Completed Application which includes:
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Essay describing reasons for applying to the Fellowship Program
    • Provide official copies of college transcripts
    • 3 letters of recommendations
  • Selected candidates will be invited for a campus interview which includes a practical clinical exam with a mock patient
  • Must be a graduate of a CAPTE-accredited professional physical therapy curriculum or have had a state physical therapy board approve the applicants first-professional physical therapy program as “equivalent” to a US CAPTE accredited professional physical therapy program
  • Meet the requirements for NC state licensure
  • Must have a minimum of 2 years of orthopedic clinical experience OR have completed an APTA accredited Orthopaedic Residency Program OR board certified in Orthopaedics by the ABPTS.

Clinical Faculty

Program Director

Michael Schmidt, PT, DPT, OCS, GCS, FAAOMPT
Office Phone Number: (919) 668-1397

OMPT Faculty



Mike Schmidt, PT, DPT, MHA
Director of Duke’s Residency and Fellowship Programming
Department of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy
919 668-1323

Click here to submit your application via RF-PTCAS.


For August 1, 2023-July 31, 2024 Fellowship

Duke Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship
Year # Admitted # Graduated FAAOMPT achieved
2016-2017 2 2 2
2017-2018 2 2 2
2018-2019 2 2 2
2019-2020 1 1 1
2020-2021 1 Active N/A