If you’re a question asker, an innovator, and challenger to the healthcare status quo — then Schwab Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency Program (PM&R) at Sinai Chicago is for you.

Resident physicians in our program are continually asking “why?”

Our patients rely on that curiosity to improve their health, and also address health disparities and health inequities in our local communities. Through diversity in our patient population, residents, rotation sites, and dedicated teaching attendings, the PM&R Residency Program provides an outstanding residency experience — and an outstanding patient experience as well.

Program Details

Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital was established in 1912 as Rest Haven Memorial Hospital. In 1948 it became an affiliate of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago as a facility for treatment of long-term illnesses. In 1963 it was renamed the Charles H. and Rachel M Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital. Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital was the Midwest’s first fully licensed and accredited rehabilitation hospital.

Schwab has served the community through various rehabilitative efforts since 1948. These efforts include a 102 -bed rehabilitation hospital located on Chicago’s West Side offering comprehensive inpatient and outpatient programs for persons with disabilities. Through our affiliation with Sinai Health System, academic affiliation with the University of Illinois and University of Chicago Hospitals, as well as serving as a referral source for over 50 hospitals in the Chicago area, Schwab is able to provide a continuum of post-acute care for individuals with a wide range of disabilities.

The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency Program at Schwab is a large part of the reason that we are able to care for a diverse and complex population of individuals. Resident physicians are continually asking “why?” – which in turn necessitates that our practices are up to date, evidence-based, as well as patient-centered. The resident physicians are integrated into the interdisciplinary team in the inpatient and outpatient setting; as they demonstrate competence in various arenas, they gradually assume the role of team leader, graduating with the ability to practice independently.

Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital is the sponsor of the residency program. The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) Residency Program is a three-year Advanced level program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The program is affiliated with the University of Chicago–Pritzker School of Medicine and the University of Illinois, Chicago. The program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

Through diversity in our patient population, rotation sites and dedicated teaching attendings, Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital provides an outstanding residency experience. Over the course of three years, residents gain exposure to various types of rehabilitation and outpatient clinics, as well as the fields of sports medicine, electrodiagnostic medicine, and chronic pain. PGY-II year is spent exclusively at Schwab while the majority of PGY-III and IV years are spent at associated outside facilities.

The primary objective of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency Program at Schwab is to provide a well-balanced, comprehensive training experience for resident physicians in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The educational experience includes direct patient care under the supervision of attending physicians, didactic presentations, specialized clinics, research, participation in Hospital committees, and exposure to, and teamwork with allied health care and specialty services.

Through this program, residents are trained in all aspects of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation including basic medical sciences, clinical care, administrative management, research in rehabilitation and, delivery of community health rehabilitation services throughout the post-acute continuum of care.

Particular emphasis is placed on learning the diagnosis, etiology, treatment, prevention, and rehabilitation of neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, medical/surgical and other system disorders seen in the usual practice of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. Residents completing the program will be able to take an appropriate medical rehabilitation history including the recognition of physical, psychological and cognitive impairments causing functional disabilities across a spectrum of ages and impairments. They will perform a hypothesis driven and targeted physiatric physical examination. They will perform physiatric related procedures including electrodiagnosis, toxin injections, joint and soft tissue injections. The resident is expected to make clinical judgments and to design and implement patient centered rehabilitation programs.

The curriculum is designed around the physical medicine and rehabilitation milestones, as well as the ABPMR Part 1 template, Criteria have been established that document for the resident as well as for the supervising attending, goals and objectives for each rotation. These identify the expectations for achieving a level of competent in multiple domains (clinical competencies) in order to successfully complete each rotation.

It is imperative that the trainee is involved in the process of developing our evaluation systems. While the ultimate responsibility for the program outcome rests with our teaching faculty, having the residents participate in development as well as understanding the evaluation process will make this an even stronger program.

Residents also will gain an understanding of the basic tenets of PM&R treatment through a team approach. They will learn how to prescribe therapy for each of the disciplines, as well as coordinate the team. This skill requires knowledge of the roles of allied rehabilitation professionals including physical therapists, occupational therapists, clinical psychologists, social workers, vocational counselors, speech therapists, audiologists, rehabilitation nurses, clinical dietitians, orthotists, prosthetists, therapeutic recreation specialists, and rehabilitation engineers. The resident must be able to communicate with patients and families, and the variety of professionals who make up the rehabilitation team both verbally and using the medical record.

THE RESIDENCY SELECTION COMMITTEE:

The Residency Selection Committee is composed of the Program Director, the Schwab Faculty Associates (SFA’s- teaching faculty), and resident representatives (usually the chief residents). All of the residents are encouraged to let the faculty, program director and/or the chief residents know if they have strong feelings about applicants, either positively or not.

SELECTION PROCESS:

Candidates submit applications via the ERAS application system. The Program Director and Associate Program Director screen applications; strong candidates are contacted for an interview.

The interview schedule was modified for 2020 in the setting of the COVID pandemic. The virtual interview day will begin with an introduction including an overview of our program and video by our chief/senior residents, followed by interviews with our faculty, our Program Director/Associate Program Director, chief/senior residents, PGY2/PGY3’s, concluding with a wrap up session. Evaluations are generated by each interviewer and submitted to the Selection Committee. Resident physicians are also encouraged to submit evaluations for students who rotated on site.

The Committee meets after completion of the interviews and ranks candidates based on evaluations and applications (including but not limited to the letters of recommendation-acknowledging that some applicants may not have had the PMR exposure opportunity due to the pandemic to request a PMR letter of recommendation, Dean’s letter, and academic performance).

The ranking is forwarded to the National Residency Matching Program.

Resident spots not filled via the National Residency Matching Program may be filled through the SOAP process, or after the Match at the discretion of the Selection Committee.

PGYII

  • Spinal Cord Injury: 10 weeks total
  • Traumatic Brain Injury: 10 weeks total
  • General including COVID Recovery: 10 weeks total
  • Stroke: 10 weeks total
  • Outpatient: 10 weeks
    • Consists of MSK/Pain, Amputee, Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, Spinal Cord Injury, Spasticity, Telehealth, Wound Care

PGYIII

  • University of Chicago Pain Management: 5 weeks
    • Interventional pain procedures (epidurals, ablations, peripheral injections, etc) and outpatient clinic
  • Elmhurst Hospital Pain Clinic: 5 weeks
  • University of Chicago and Mt Sinai Hospital Inpatient Consults: 10 weeks total
  • University of Illinois MSK/Sports Medicine Clinic: 10 weeks total
    • Consists of Running Medicine, Sporting Events, musculoskeletal clinic, ultrasound, and injections (peripheral joints, prolotherapy)
  • EMG: 10 weeks total
    • Performed at Schwab, University of Illinois
  • NorthShore Evanston: 5 weeks total
    • Consists of Outpatient clinics including MSK/pain, spasticity, lymphedema, amputee, vocational rehab
  • Pediatrics Rehabilitation (2023 Residents): 5 weeks total
    • Shriner’s Hospital

PGYIV

  • Practicum at Schwab: 10 weeks
    • Including Junior Attending experience and community based subacute rehab experience
  • Sinai Hospital Inpatient Consults: 10 weeks total
  • Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy/Prosthetics/Orthotics: 4 weeks
  • EMG: 10 weeks total
    • Performed at Schwab, University of Illinois
    • Includes Neuromuscular clinic
  • Electives: 8 weeks total
  • Pediatrics Rehabilitation (2022 Residents only): 5 weeks total
    • Shriner’s Hospital

In addition to the residents’ clinical experience, attendance at a regular series of didactic lectures is required.

The core of the didactic series is the ABPMR Educational Requirements, and the ACGME PMR Milestones. The didactic lecture series is cycled on an 18-month schedule. Thus, residents will be exposed to the required educational requirements in didactic form at least twice during their residency.

Lectures are held in a 3-hour block, once weekly. Attendance is mandatory; residents are excused from all other rotations during this time. Residents are expected to be on time to lectures.

Lectures are typically given by physiatrists, other Physicians from related fields of medicine and by representatives from the rehabilitation team as well as other professionals including orthotists, prosthetists, and other individuals with expertise.

In addition to the lectures, many other formal educational opportunities are offered. They include:

  • Journal Club
  • Lunch and Learn
  • Teaching Rounds
  • Anatomy/kinesiology series
  • Morbidity and Mortality (CSI)
  • Grand Rounds
  • Rotation specific journal clubs, grand rounds and lecture series

Resident-Faculty Conferences are held once a month for the purpose of having an open forum for the exchange of ideas on administrative subjects or on areas of concern not addressed otherwise in the core lecture series.

CSI (Continuous Safety Improvement) is held monthly. Residents are responsible for case presentation and leading discussion regarding medical management and/or patient appropriateness for rehab. Recommendations are made to the hospital QI committee.

Residency stipends are paid through SRH and are as follows:

  • Second Year Resident $60,230
  • Third Year Resident $62,307
  • Fourth Year Resident $64,980

The following are the benefits offered to resident physicians by SRH:

MEDICAL INSURANCE

Resident physicians may select from a variety of plans available provided free of charge by the Hospital. Coverage is effective immediately.

DENTAL INSURANCE

Resident physicians may select employee or employee-plus dependent coverage through this comprehensive plan. Bi-weekly premium deductions from payroll are pre-tax. Coverage is effective the first of the month following forty-five (45) consecutive days of employment.

LIFE INSURANCE

Term life insurance coverage of $10,000 under the provisions of the Hospital and group policy is provided by the Hospital at no cost. Additional coverage may be purchased. Coverage is effective the first of the month following ninety (90) consecutive days of employment.

MALPRACTICE INSURANCE

SRH and Care Network maintains a self-insured malpractice insurance fund.

DISABILITY BENEFITS

Should the resident physician become disabled due to a non-occupational illness or injury, after 21 consecutive working days, short term disability benefits are available after one (1) year of consecutive employment.

TAX DEFERRED ANNUITIES

A variety of plans are available, which offer the opportunity to invest in both variable and fixed rate annuities. Coverage can be effective immediately.

DEPENDENT CARE / SPENDING ACCOUNT

Tax sheltered deduction program for child/elder care. Coverage may be effective immediately.

CREDIT UNION

Free checking accounts, low interest rate loans and credit cards. Savings plan available through payroll deduction

DIRECT DEPOSIT

Bi-weekly paycheck automatically deposited directly into the bank of your choice.

PARKING

Parking facilities are available via secure off-street parking for a minimal fee via payroll deduction.

WORK SCHEDULE

During inpatient rotations residents are required to arrive at the Hospital by 8:00 AM and remain until work/patient care is completed (usually until 5:00 PM) and patient care has been transitioned to the next responsible individual. Certain rotations may require additional hours of patient care.

ON CALL SCHEDULE

Residents are scheduled to provide Hospital coverage from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m., during the workweek. Weekend and holiday call is from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. the next day (24 hours). “On-call” assignments are made by the Chief Residents. The frequency of “on-call” is dependent upon the number of residents, but typically does not exceed one time per week averaged over 6 weeks.

Post-call, residents will complete patient care notes and ensure safe, coordinated transition of care to the covering resident/attending. Post-call residents must leave the hospital or their rotation site NO LATER than 4 hours after the 24th hour of being in the hospital. No new patients may be evaluated by a post-call resident.

  • PGY 2: Fridays/Saturdays/Weekdays
  • PGY 3: Sundays/Weekdays
  • PGY 4: Weekdays only

VACATION

Fifteen (15) paid days per academic year. Residents must complete discharge summaries and have HIM (medical records) sign off on their vacation requests prior to taking vacation. Attending physicians should receive notice as early as possible that a resident intends to take vacation, to ensure coverage of the service. Vacation days do not carry over to the next academic year. Residents are not paid for unused vacation days.

Three (3) personal holidays per academic year accrue at a rate of one every 4 months.

HOLIDAYS

  • New Year’s Day
  • Labor Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Independence Day
  • Christmas Day

Residents who are on-call on one of the above six named holidays (during the day of Federal observance) will be granted a compensatory day off.

SICK LEAVE

Up to twelve (12) paid sick days can be available per academic year. You may be asked for verification of illness based upon the number and timing of sick days taken, especially if sick days occur on Mondays or Fridays.

CONTINUING EDUCATION

Book Allowance: Each resident is allowed a stipend of $250.00 per academic year for book purchases and cannot be rolled over into the next academic year.

Conference Time: At the discretion of the Program Director, each PGY-3 and PGY-4 resident is allotted one conference, up to four (4) days, per academic year. This is in addition to conferences where the resident has had a poster or presentation accepted. An education fund allows for a stipend to those residents who present at a national conference. These funds are intended to help defray travel expenses and registration fees for conferences.

INTERVIEWS

Each resident is allowed up to 3 days total of administrative leave to attend either fellowship interviews or employment interviews, during their residency, with program director’s approval.

LIBRARY

Residents have 24-hour access to internet resources, as well as on-line access to multiple journals. Residents have direct access to multiple textbooks and monographs located within the resident suite. Books must be signed out and returned in a timely fashion.

Residents will have access to the University of Illinois libraries at all times.

Residents have direct access to the MT. SINAI HOSPITAL (MSH) MEDICAL CENTER system. The library has books on rehabilitation and its related fields with a selection of journals pertinent to the field of PHYSICAL MEDICINE AND REHABILITATION, as well as general texts on medicine, pediatrics, surgery and all related subspecialties.

Literature searches can be performed at MSH without charge to the resident with approval of the Program Director. Internet access is available to residents.

The residents have access to the University of Chicago libraries during normal operating hours.

In addition to the above services there is an active inter-library loan system by which residents may obtain audio-visual materials, journals, and books from other libraries throughout the city.

Associate Program Director Welcome

Thank you for your interest. The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency Program at Schwab is a large part of the reason we are able to care for a diverse and complex population of individuals. As a resident, you’ll be integrated into the interdisciplinary team in the inpatient and outpatient setting and gain competence, independence, and leadership in various arenas. Through diversity in our patient population, rotation sites, and dedicated teaching attendings, Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital provides an outstanding residency experience.
Cheryl Benjamin, MD
Diplomate of the American Board of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Physiatrist, Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital

The High Notes

Passing Scores for

USMLE or COMLEX

EXAMS NEEDED

PGY-2: $60,230

PGY-3: $62,307

PGY-4: $64,980

ANNUAL SALARY/STIPEND

5

# OF RESIDENTS
ACCEPTED PER YEAR

3 Years
(Preliminary Year Required)

ACGME

PROGRAM LENGTH
AND ACCREDITATIONS

Personal Days: 15 Days 

Sick Time: 12 Days

Standard Holidays Off

# OF VACATION, HOLIDAYS,
AND SICK DAYS PER YEAR

100%

FELLOWSHIP ACCEPTANCE
RATES (PAST 3-5 YEARS)

Pain Fellowship

Sports Medicine

Interventional Spine Fellowship

FELLOWSHIP PLACEMENTS
(PAST 3-5 YEARS)

Malpractice

Disability and Life

Medical and Dental

Care@Work (childcare support)

INSURANCE BENEFITS

Sinai Chicago for International
Medical Graduates

The requirements for international medical graduates are the same as standard US applicants. Clinical experience in the US prior to applying is preferable, but not required. The PM&R Residency Program does not sponsor visas.

Sinai Chicago for International
Medical Graduates

The requirements for international medical graduates are the same as standard US applicants. Clinical experience in the US prior to applying is preferable, but not required. The PM&R Residency Program does not sponsor visas.

Diversity and Inclusion Message

The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency Program at Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital is committed to developing outstanding rehabilitation physicians with social awareness who embody diversity and practice with social conscience. Our clinicians and trainees are community and patient focused and believe in social justice and advocacy. This is our culture, this is our pride. Through diversity in our patient population, students, residents, fellows, and attending physicians, Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital provides an outstanding, supportive, and exemplary educational experience.

Top 7 Reasons to Come to Sinai Chicago

To be a well-rounded physician, you need to know how to care for people who are different from you. Schwab at Sinai Chicago is an incredible place to grow. It sits between two prominent African-American and Latino communities. Plus, the reputation attracts patients from all ethnicities, economic levels, and backgrounds.

The residents of Schwab have each others’ backs. Seriously. We learn from each other, sharpen each other, and are ultimately aiming for the same finish line — the highest possible level of independence for all patients. 

You get an allowance for books, a stipend to present at conferences, fees paid for BLS certification, and time off to attend conferences. Plus, residents attend grand rounds and teaching rounds, anatomy/kinesiology lecture series, lunch and learns, and a wide array of other training opportunities. This training focuses on topics like:

  • Healthcare Finance 101 (yep, we need that)
  • COVID-19 Impact on Healthcare Economy
  • The Death Gap: How Inequality Kills

In addition to the residents’ clinical experience, attendance at a regular series of didactic lectures is required. Residents are required to meet the ABPMR Educational Requirements and the ACGME PMR Milestones. The didactic lecture series is typically given by physiatrists, other physicians from related fields of medicine.

There are also be opportunities to train at nearby facilities including University of Chicago, University of Illinois, and others across the country and globe.

And, we have a discounted medical Spanish class. 

You are a person, not a machine. We can’t expect you to care for patients if you’re not taking time for yourself. At Schwab, the Chief of Wellness organizes resident activities, like the family picnic and mental health and wellness speakers. We also have the employee assistance program for mental health support when it gets tough.

The partnership with Sinai Urban Health Institute allows you to learn more about — and act on — the health disparities and inequities within our Chicago community. Interested residents can benefit from these research and outreach opportunities, while making a difference in their own education and in our city.

Chicago is an awesome city to explore with lots of restaurants, concerts, and neighborhood festivals. It’s in the middle of the country and has two major airports, so you can get to most other U.S. cities in two or three hours. And that lakefront…

Life in Physical Med & Rehab Residency

General Curriculum
Schedule

  • Inpatient rotations are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • On-call hours typically do not exceed once a week averaged over 4 weeks. 
    • PGY-2: Fridays/Saturdays/Weekdays
    • PGY-3: Sundays/Weekdays
    • PGY-4: Weekdays only
  • PGY-3 and PGY-4 residents have access to moonlighting opportunities.

General Curriculum
Schedule

  • Inpatient rotations are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • On-call hours typically do not exceed once a week averaged over 4 weeks. 
    • PGY-2: Fridays/Saturdays/Weekdays
    • PGY-3: Sundays/Weekdays
    • PGY-4: Weekdays only
  • PGY-3 and PGY-4 residents have access to moonlighting opportunities.
All About SchwabVirtual Tour

Elective Medical Student Rotation

Schwab Rehab Hospital offers an elective rotation in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation to senior medical school students provided their medical school covers all malpractice insurance during the rotation. Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital will also accept a senior resident physician from another program if the resident has a valid medical license and full malpractice insurance coverage provided by their institution. Email completed applications to Dr. Lie-Nemeth (theresa.lie-nemeth@sinai.org), Medical Student Director, and Ms. Leticia Fulgencio (leticia.fulgencio@sinai.org), Program Coordinator.

Leadership & Faculty

Michelle Gittler, MD

Program Director, Spinal Cord Injury, General Rehabilitation, Amputees, Consults, Stroke

Cheryl Benjamin, DO

Associate Program Director, Consults

Theresa Lie-Nemeth, MD

Medical Student Director, General Rehabilitation

Leticia Fulgencio

Residency Training Program Coordinator

Current Residents

Catherine Borders, MD

Chief Resident / Georgetown University School of Medicine

Jack Gibbons, DO

Chief Resident / Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine

Tolu Ijidakinro, MD

Chief Resident / Ross University

Mitch O'Neill, MD

Chief Resident / University of Iowa College of Medicine

Marina Smetko, DO

Chief Resident / Chicago College Of Osteopathic Medicine

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