Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy

header-title-decorationPhysical Therapy

The Physical Therapy Department has a long history of support for professional education in physical therapy. A number of our staff teach in entry-level physical therapy programs (including those at California State University, Long Beach, Chapman University, Mt. Saint Mary’s University, and the University of Southern California). We sponsor two post-professional Physical Therapist Residency programs (The University of Southern California/Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center Residency in Neurologic Physical Therapy and the University of Southern California Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency, Rancho clinical site). A number of our staff teach in the Neurologic Physical Therapy Professional Education Consortium. We also host and provide continuing professional education for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, internships for students in entry-level PT and PTA programs, and tours and customized training for visiting international physical therapists. Educational materials related to observational gait analysis are available for purchase through our partner organization, Rancho Research Institute. Please click here to order.

Post-graduate Clinical Residencies

Rancho is committed to fostering professional development within our profession. We offer post-professional opportunities through our Clinical Residency Program in Neurologic Physical Therapy and by serving as a clinical site for the University of Southern California Clinical Residency Program in Orthopedic Physical Therapy. Both Residency Programs are credentialed by the American Physical Therapy Association through the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education. Residency experiences provide opportunities for ongoing mentoring and didactic coursework designed to provide a theoretical basis for advanced practice. The primary purpose is to provide vision and leadership in neurologic and orthopedic physical therapy practice.

Clinical Residency Program in Neurologic Physical Therapy

The University of Southern California/Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center (USC/RLANRC) Clinical Residency Program in Neurologic Physical Therapy combines the academic resources of a premier physical therapy education and research institution with the storied history and clinical and research expertise of one of the nation’s leading rehabilitation centers. Our joint purpose is to provide vision and leadership in neurologic physical therapy practice.


The mission of the USC/RLANRC Residency in Neurologic Physical Therapy is to prepare movement dysfunction specialists in neurologic physical therapy who exhibit professionalism through:

  • Evidence-based practice
  • Patient-centered practice
  • Commitment to scholarship and advancement of the field of Neurologic Physical Therapy.

Movement dysfunction specialists in neurologic physical therapy will possess a foundation for practice in the theoretical underpinnings of neurologic PT practice, including neuroscience, motor control and learning, and motivation and behavior change, and build upon that through evidence-based practice. Program graduates will demonstrate knowledge and skill in physical therapy differential diagnosis, prognostic and etiologic insights, and an orientation toward outcomes assessment that lead to efficient and effective physical therapy interventions and optimal patient outcomes, including enhanced quality of life and mitigation of disability.


Residency graduates will demonstrate skill in the assessment and treatment of adults with neurologic dysfunction at any level along the neuraxis (peripheral nerve to cortex) with a stable or degenerative condition between the acute or chronic stages of the disease process.

Residency Training

Residency program goals will be achieved through a combination of formal and informal educational methods and roles:

Direct care provision as well as mentored clinical practice on the inpatient and outpatient services of Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center or USC Physical Therapy Associates/Keck Hospital of USC. Clinical mentors include USC neurologic PT faculty as well as Rancho Neurologic Clinical Specialists.

Mentoring by USC physician neurologists via care provision in specialty clinics of the Department of Neurology at USC.

Participation as teaching assistants in courses addressing neurologic content and skills in USC’s entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Enrollment in coursework via the Neurologic Physical Therapy Professional Education Consortium:

Preparation of a case report or scholarly paper for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

The Residency begins in early August and runs for a period of one year.


Graduates of APTA-accredited entry-level programs in Physical Therapy may apply for the program. Residents must be eligible for and obtain licensure as a Physical Therapist in the State of California at or near the beginning of their residency program. Recent graduates as well as experienced clinicians are encouraged to apply.

Application and Further Information

For further information on the University of Southern California/Rancho Clinical Residency Program in Neurologic Physical Therapy Please Click Here.

Program Director:

(USC) Lori Ginoza, PT, DPT, NCS
Telephone: (323) 865-1200

Clinical Site Director:

(Rancho) Lilli Thompson, PT, DPT, NCS
Telephone: (562) 385-6242

Chief, Rehabilitation Therapy Division:

(Rancho) Patricia Turnquist, PT, DPT, NCS
Telephone: (562) 385-7061

Orthopedic Physical Therapy

Rancho offers an established clinical site option for the Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency Program at USC. The USC Orthopedic PT resident at Rancho gains the unique experience in orthopedic PT management of persons with neurologic involvement.

Program Director:

(USC) Erica Sigman, PT, DPT, OCS
Telephone: (323) 865-1200

Clinical Site Director:

(Rancho) Sara Wallenrod, PT, DPT, OCS
Telephone: (562) 385-7061

Graduates of APTA-accredited program in physical therapy may apply to the programs. Residents must be eligible for and obtain licensure as a physical therapist in the State of California.

Clinical Education (for students already enrolled in accredited PT or PTA programs)

The Physical Therapy Department strongly supports Rancho’s mission to restore and re-build lives and revitalize hope for persons with life-changing illness, injury or disability. Rancho Los Amigos accepts approximately 35 physical therapist and physical therapist assistant students each year for clinical education internships. Students may achieve internships through two avenues: 1) selection by their academic PT program if their program is a regularly affiliating institution with Rancho or 2) selection on the basis of their personal accomplishments relevant to the Leadership for Effective Intercultural Practice (LEIP) Student Affiliation Program. Specialty research internships may also be available to students. All programs must have an Advanced Affiliation Agreement in place with Los Angeles County prior to the start of a student affiliation.

“Rancho has a very strong clinical education program. Instructors are all extremely dedicated to student learning and non-instructors are also eager to provide insight. The site provides students with diversity, challenge, professionalism, and skills to encourage excellence in our services to patients.

“Unanimous, throughout all staff, I witnessed sensitive and appropriate interactions between staff and patients all the time. Difficult patients were treated with the same respect and those attitudes were promoted among all staff to students.

Student interns at Rancho Los Amigos have a unique opportunity to develop skills in critical analysis, professional leadership, and intercultural practice, while serving the needs of a socioeconomically diverse clientele. Student placements at our Los Angeles County hospital are offered in acute inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation and medical-surgical services for adult and pediatric patients with various neurological, musculoskeletal, and medical diagnoses. A high premium is placed on students’ early and responsible independence, accountability, resourcefulness, and initiative in clinical and professional activities. Students are expected to meet the needs of patients with whom they work, consistently providing care which is patient-centered, evidence-based, and collaborative. We generally accept only students who are on their final clinical rotations.

For interested students, there are two primary ways to achieve a clinical education placement at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center: (a) students utilize previously established regular affiliation arrangements between their academic institution and Rancho Los Amigos (County of Los Angeles) and are selected by their PT/PTA program to fill one of those program-allotted slots or (b) students, with the assistance of their academic program, apply through the Leadership for Intercultural Competence (LEIP) program and are awarded a personal slot after Rancho and their academic programs execute a one-time affiliation agreement.

Leadership for Intercultural Competence (LEIP) Program

If you are a PT or PTA student with long-standing evidence of commitment, skill, and leadership for intercultural practice/competence, the Leadership for Effective Intercultural Practice (LEIP) Student Affiliation Program at Rancho may be for you. We award several slots for qualified applicants over and above those we allot annually to our regularly affiliating academic programs. Once selected, the opportunities and expectations for students in the LEIP program are identical to those of other student affiliates. Program participation by students from majority as well as minority cultural groups is welcome. Culture is broadly defined, encompassing various sociocultural dimensions and includes, but is not limited to age, disability, education, ethnicity, gender, language, life experience, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background.

Program Contact:

Application for regular or LEIP slots are available only in the Spring of each year (typically an early April filing deadline) for internships in the following calendar year. For further information, please contact your school’s DCE or Rancho’s Clinical Education Administrative Assistant, Dearlise Sowell, at or (562) 385-7065 or Rancho’s SCCE, Covey Lazouras PT, DPT, NCS, ATP, at or (562) 385-6339.