Our 18-month didactic cycle comprises nine blocks, each designed and led by an Educational Faculty Lead in the clinical area.  Expert faculty determines depth and breadth of content, as well as the block's unique teaching style. A resident representative processes feedback from the resident group, and provides perspective before and after the block.  Two anchor blocks recur annually to allow more recurrent learning by spaced repetition: Foundations of PM&R in July and Musculoskeletal Medicine in January.

Didactic Cycle Schematic
18-Month Didactic Cycle Provides Spaced Repetition

18-month Didactic Cycle Designed by Educational Faculty Leads

Within each didactic block, educational faculty leads seek to incorporate:

  • active learning methods (workshops, labs, audience response system, resident presentations, small group discussions, sub-specialty-specific journal clubs, patient panels , faculty panels, demonstrations)
  • a deeper dive into important/challenging material
  • time for teaching in evidence based medicine in each block

Electrodiagnostic Medicine is taught separately in an immersive 3-month block rotation (PGY3 year), with clinical and didactic instruction by PM&R and Neuromuscular Neurology. 

Weekly Didactic Schedule (Example)


7:30 – 8:30 am     Resident Didactics (Core)


7:15 - 8:00 am     Electrodiagnostic Medicine Series (for EDX Residents)

8:00 - 9:00 am     Neuromuscular Conference (for EDX Residents)


8:00 – 9:00 am     PM&R Grand Rounds (Core)

9:15 – 10:15 am     Resident Didactics (Core)

10:15 – 11:15 am     Resident Didactics (Core)


12:30 – 1:00 pm     Cancer Rehabilitation Didactics (for cancer rotation residents)

Interwoven Hands-on Ultrasound Education Enables Practice & Progression

Twelve sessions in the didactic cycle focus on hands-on ultrasound scanning with faculty in small groups.  Residents develop expertise in scanning the shoulder, wrist, knee, and ankle with goal of achieving competence for scanning these regions and performing associated injections.

For two weeks during the PGY3 year, residents borrow a point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) probe (that plugs into a tablet) and pursue a guided independent study program.  A faculty mentor reviews scanning technique, saved images, and provides feedback.

During the 4-week PGY4 Procedures rotation, residents again borrow the point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) probe. Now comfortable with basic scanning techniques, they can use this month to augment learning by scanning willing patients, family members, colleagues and selves. 

Biweekly through the year, Dr. Lewno hosts optional evening scanning sessions. It's common to see seniors teaching juniors as we learn together!

Supplemental Learning Opportunities Meet Different Interests

Academic Days

James Rae Scientific Day: Themed faculty research day with invited guest speaker, held in the fall in honor of first chair of PM&R at U of M. Led by Dr. Hornyak.

Theodore M. Cole Day: Resident research day, with resident presentations and a visiting professorship; held in the spring in honor of second chair of PM&R. Led by Dr. Spires.

Department-Wide Discussions

Capstone Grand Rounds: Each PGY-4 delivers a department-wide academic presentation.  He/she works with a faculty mentor of choice.

Journal Club: PGY3-led, faculty mentored journal club discussion.  Research faculty attend and supplement discussions of study design and methodology.

Morbidity and Mortality: PGY2-led, faculty mentored presentation with root cause analysis of systems-based elements of patient care. 

Specific Educational Topics

Interventional Spine Course: Optional evening course for residents with spine phantom models in the fluoroscopy suite.  We focus on developing hands-on skills and discussion of key clinical principles, such as management of anticoagulation and potential emergencies.  Led by Dr. Kohns.

EDX Journal Club and Board Game Nights: Three times annually at Dr. Hearn’s home, residents discuss an electrodiagnostic paper over pizza, then play board games through the evening!

Ultrasound with Dr. Lewno -  Two Tuesday evenings per month, join Dr. Lewno for supplemental ultrasound scanning and practice.

Exam and Career Preparation

Mock Oral Boards: PGY3s and PGY4s develop mock oral exam skills through one-on-one practice cases with faculty.  After each 15 minute case, residents and faculty exchange feedback and advice. Led by Dr. Hearn.

Electrodiagnostic SAE Review: Interactive review session at Dr. Hearn’s home, focusing on key concepts, real questions, and peer-to-peer teaching. Use of audience response system maximizes participation without undue pressure.

Fellowship Night: Faculty, fellows, senior and junior residents unite over a meal to exchange fellowship-related advice. Led by Chief Residents.

Mentorship Meet-and-Greet:  PGY2 mentors and mentees meet and exchange thoughts, reflections and insights pertaining to professional development, over dinner. Led by Dr. Hearn.

Program, Wellness and Leadership

Program Director Lunch: Monthly lunch in cafeteria with Program Director. In addition to program-related discussion and conversation, residents who have traveled for conferences share experiences with the group.

Resident Retreat & Leadership Day: Half day to discuss residency program vision and opportunities (residents only). Led by Chiefs.

Resident Appreciation Day: Half day in the spring to connect and have fun!  (residents only)

Electrodiagnostic Medicine Journal Club and Board Game Night at Dr. Hearn's Home
Electrodiagnostic Medicine Journal Club and Board Game Night at Dr. Hearn's Home

PM&R Residency: 
Vision  |  People  |  Perspectives  |  Education  |  Clinical  |  Research  |  Life  |  Development  |  Applying  |  Media