Northwestern students train at AbilityLab


Medical Student Education & Residency Program


PM&R Program Information

Med Student & Externship Contact

Jamie Byrne,

Residency Program Contact

Rita Bailey,


Northwestern University’s PM&R department - one of a select number of schools requiring its medical students to complete a formal PM&R rotation- operates one of the largest and most sought-after PM&R residency programs in the nation and the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is proud to be its center for clinical training. While at the AbilityLab, residents rotate through all inpatient units at the AbilityLab, including Brain injury, Spinal Cord Injury, Pediatrics, Cancer, and Medically Complex. Resident will also participate in a number of outpatient rotations providing trainees with a balanced clinical experience and exposure to the spectrum of patients requiring the services of a physiatrist, including Sports Medicine, Pain, and Amputee Medicine. Training also occurs at the Center for Pain Management and other affiliated hospitals including Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Illinois Masonic and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center to ensure comprehensive training across the different levels of care. Our broad-based educational program prepares resident physicians for a career in either an academic setting or private practice.

To provide residents with the knowledge and experience necessary for the successful practice of PM&R, we offer trainees a highly structured didactic and clinical curriculum. Residents have didactic offerings daily which include lectures, grand rounds and journal club. The lecture series covers topics felt to be “core” information necessary to the practice of our specialty. These core lectures are supplemented by the anatomy, physical examination, electrodiagnosis and business administrative series which rounds out the formal educational offering. Highlights of our curriculum include a simulation center-based training specific to a physiatrist, an interventional spine injection course, and a comprehensive musculoskeletal ultrasound course that culminates in a fresh frozen cadaver injection course. The goal of our residency program is to provide our graduates a comprehensive experience in PM&R, while also allowing them to explore their own personal career interests and goals. We achieve this by allowing our residents to have 6 months of elective and selective time to pursue their particular interests in our diverse field.

We also welcome visiting 4th year medical students from accredited medical schools for 1-month elective PM&R rotations. All Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine fourth year medical students have a required 2-week rotation at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.

The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation also offers 5 different fellowships in Spinal Cord Injury, Brain Injury, Sports Medicine, Pediatric Rehabilitation, and Pain Medicine.

If you would like any additional information please visit the Feinberg School of Medicines PM&R Residency Program page or contact:

Rita Bailey
Physician Fellowships Coordinator

Medical Student Education & Externships


Aside from our residency program there are other educational opportunities to consider:

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Clerkship Description
Students at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine complete a two-week clerkship in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation as part of the senior curriculum. The clerkship is housed at AbilityLab, part of the McGaw Medical Center. The teaching on service is a mixture of bedside, lecture and student-directed learning. For more information click here.

PM&R Elective Rotations
Senior students may participate in four-week elective rotations in inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation, research or individual study. Students interested in research or individual study need to identify and obtain approval from a faculty supervisor prior to application. For more information, click here.

Summer Externship
Students between the first and second years of medical school may participate in an eight-week externship at AbilityLab. This is a combined clinical, didactic and research experience. Students from all medical schools are invited to apply. For more information or to apply, click here.

Research Seminar Series
Students are invited to join leading researchers share their insight through this speaker series highlighting topics on physical medicine and rehabilitation. Visit the seminar series webpage for the latest schedule.

If you would like any additional information or have any questions regarding medical student programs please contact:

Jamie Byrne
Medical Education Office
Phone: 312-238-2870

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