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Admissions Requirements

All candidates for the Physical Therapy Orthopedic Residency program must be eligible for physical therapy licensure in the state of Florida and have attained FL licensure prior to beginning the residency program. Ideal applicants will have experience in orthopedics (through work or student internships), superior written and verbal communication skills, evidence of leadership skills, and a desire to improve and learn.

Three Letters of Recommendation:

  • One academic
  • Two clinical


APTA members, who are eligible for Physical Therapy licensure in the state of Florida and have graduated from a CAPTE accredited physical therapist education program, are eligible to apply for this residency program. Deadline for applications is May 31st. Resident will begin employment on September 1st. The program runs for 13 months beginning November 1st.

Contact Us / Apply

For additional information please contact Diana Rippl, MSPT:

Diana Rippl, MSPT

Residency Program Director

Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy

Karl Gilliam, PT, DPT

Residency Program Coordinator

Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy

Board Certified Specialist in Geriatric Physical Therapy

Certified Hand Therapist

Mission Statement:

The Mission of Lee Health Physical Therapy Orthopedic Residency Program is to provide physical therapists with a comprehensive, well-rounded educational and clinical experience that will integrate clinical decision-making skills, evidence based practice, and advanced diagnostic skills in orthopedic physical therapy that represents a commitment to clinical excellence in quality, satisfaction, safety and compassionate care

Program Goals

Goal 1: The residency program supports the mission of the supporting organization and rehabilitation department

Goal 2: The residency program maintains ABPTRFE accreditation

Goal 3: Provide residents with high quality, consistent experience at all clinic locations.

Goal 4: Residency Program is sustainable

Goal 5: Residents demonstrate proficiency in knowledge and skill required for specialist orthopaedic clinical practice

Goal 6: Prepare residents to contribute to the profession of physical therapy, and the larger healthcare community, through leadership, evidence-based practice, teaching, and service.

Program Specifics

The residency combines didactic work with clinical work, to encourage the development of advanced levels of clinical reasoning, diagnostic skills, scientific knowledge, leadership, communication and patient management. The residency is designed to develop orthopaedic physical therapists with a diverse patient population and a variety of educational settings.

Clinical work hours are in Lee Health’s outpatient settings with a rotation to 3 locations.

  • Outpatient Center at Creekside, 12670 Creekside Lane, Stonegate Bank Building Ft Myers, FL 33919
  • Outpatient Center at HP Commons, 16281 Bass Rd, suite 200 Ft Myers, FL 33908
  • Outpatient Center at Riverwalk, 8350 Riverwalk Park Blvd., Suite 3, Fort Myers, Florida 33919

The mentorship of each resident involves intensive training and supportive guidance to create the best overall experience. The mentors guide the learning process through modeling, questioning and feedback.

The didactic curriculum will be based on the DRP of ABPTRFE.

Residents are hired as salaried, full-time employees but divide their time among clinical work within the 3 designated sites. Residents typically spend 50-55 hours per week working, in clinical experiences, teaching, mentorship or studying. The residency pay is approximately ¾ of a typical new graduate PT salary.

Welcome our first resident Emily Cattanach!


I am from Fort Myers originally where I attended South Fort Myers High school. I then went to college in Savannah, Ga at Armstrong State on a soccer scholarship. After graduating with my bachelor's degree, I was accepted into Armstrong's Physical Therapy program. After a great 7 years in Savannah, I accepted a job back in Fort Myers with Lee Health to begin my PT career. The reason I chose to go into the PT profession, goes back to my days of playing sports growing up. Like any athlete, I sustained some injuries along the way and had to go to PT myself. I always found the rehabilitation process interesting and liked that each person's rehab journey was different. I knew I wanted to go into a career that allowed me to be active and be a little different each day. The more I looked into PT, the more I felt like this would be a good fit for me. As a PT, I am able to help individuals reach their individual goals so they can stay active in their lives. I am looking forward to this opportunity of the residency so I can farther develop my PT skills to better serve my patients.

Learn more about our physical therapy residency program

Hear first hand experience about the program and why it is such a great program to be a part of at Lee Health.

For Emily Cattanach, the goal is simple. “I just want to become a better therapist all around.” So she decided to join Lee Health’s new orthopedic physical therapy residency program. “It focuses on trying to advance the clinical skills and the professional capability of an already licensed therapist and then helps advance their skills of knowledge,” explained Karl Gilliam, the orthopedic residency program coordinator at Lee Health. The 13 month-long program focuses on strengthening manual skills, exercises, techniques, and didactics. “It’s definitely a good push from Lee to provide this because around here you just get so many orthopedic injuries of all ages,” said Cattanach. A big part of the program allows therapists to learn from other therapists. They work alongside a mentor and rotate among four Lee Health physical therapy facilities. “It allows you to learn from more experienced clinicians and hear their tidbits that they have learned over the years to help you grown,” Cattanach said. The hope is at the end of the program, therapists are more proficient in evaluating patients and choosing the right treatment plans. “The goal is two part—one is obvious, is to provide an opportunity for our clinicians to gain advanced knowledge in the area of orthopedics. The other goal that actually comes along with it is it actually helps to elevate the entire Lee Health orthopedic practice,” Gilliam said. An opportunity to get hands-on experience and advance their knowledge in orthopedic physical therapy. View More Health Matters video segments at Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care. Visit