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Advanced Vestibular Certificate Program

Sue Whitney working with patient model

Program Overview

The Advanced Vestibular Certificate Program is a comprehensive didactic experience in vestibular physical therapy that prepares and certifies physical therapists to be frontline providers for patients experiencing balance, dizziness and abnormal proprioception. 

Many patients start their vestibular episode of care in the emergency room or with a primary care physician and are referred to an otolaryngologist or a neurologist among five-six other medical practitioners before reaching a physical therapist to manage their symptoms. Delays in treatment and unnecessary consultations can result in less function, increased risk of falls and additional complications. 

Graduates of the AVPT certificate program will be prepared to manage patients in the primary care setting or part of a team-based model within interdisciplinary settings to maximize clinical outcomes and patient function. 

With rising health care costs and delays in treatment associated with managing balance and vestibular disorders, graduates of the AVPT Certificate Program will be well positioned to fulfill this emerging role as a frontline provider in vestibular disorders. Upon certification, participants will be uniquely qualified to achieve the Triple Aim of Healthcare:  improved patient health, improved patient experience and decreased per capita costs. 

Advanced Vestibular Physical Therapy (AVPT) Certification

The AVPT certification is delivered in a highly innovative format that allows participation from anywhere in the world, but still experience the University of Pittsburgh campus with limited travel. The hybrid format includes self-paced online coursework, synchronous virtual meetings via Zoom and four interactive weekend workshops. The content is delivered in four specific modules and arranged by content. Module 1: Advanced Vestibular Anatomy, VOR function, vestibular testing, outcome measures, differential diagnosis, vestibular perception and acute diagnosis and management. Module 2: Eye movement analysis, concussion, vision, neuropsychology, surgical management, pharmacological management, CNS impairments. Module 3: BPPV, PPPD, pediatric and older adult special considerations and psychological management. Module 4: History taking and interpretation of findings, advanced treatment techniques for physical therapists, exercise dosage, newest interventions, clinical cases, plus the video, practical and written examination.

Each module will consist of 12-16 hours of online presentations, required readings and a virtual journal club via Zoom. Participants will be required to complete the pre-requisite work prior to the weekend workshop. Each weekend workshop will provide 10-12 hours of interactive live presentations delivered through Zoom. At the completion of each weekend workshop, the participants will be required to complete a written examination on the content presented within the module.

Module 4 will require in-person participation on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh for an immersive skills and lab session and competency examination that will include a comprehensive written and practical component of content delivered within all four modules. 

Each module can be taken independently, but participants must complete all four modules and successfully pass the competency examination to become certified as an Advanced Vestibular Physical Therapist. 

Working with vestibular PT devices

Dates of Weekend Workshops

  • Module 1: August 14-15, 2021 (Zoom Classroom)
  • Module 2: November 13-14, 2021 (Zoom Classroom)
  • Module 3: January 8-9, 2022 (Zoom Classroom)
  • Module 4: April 9-10, 2022 (University of Pittsburgh, Campus Classroom)

Times

The typical schedule for the weekend workshops Modules 1-3 will be:

  • Saturday Sessions: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. (EST)
  • Sunday Sessions:  8 a.m. - noon (EST)
  • In addition, there will be a pre/post module session on the Tuesday evening before and after each weekend session (7-8:30 p.m. EST).

The schedule for Module 4:

  • Saturday April 9, 2022: 8 a.m. - 5:15 p.m. (EST)
  • Sunday April 10, 2022: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. (EST)
     
  • Tuesday April 19, 2022 written examination from 7-9 p.m. (EST)

Agenda and Learning Objectives

Module 1 
Module 2
Module 3
Module 4

Note: CEU approval pending from physical therapy state board associations.

Speakers

Click here to learn more about the speakers below.

Yuri Agarwal, MD, MPH, FACS

Professor Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Bara A. Alsalaheen PT, PhD

Associate Professor of Physical Therapy College of Health Sciences at University of Michigan-Flint

Eric R Anson, PT, PhD

Assistant Professor Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Rochester

Adolfo Bronstein, MD, PhD

Professor of Clinical Neuro-otology at Imperial College London

Janet Callahan, PT, DPT, MS, NCS

Assistant Professor Emerita at MGH Institute of Health Professions

Amy Cassidy, DPT, NCS

Adjunct Physical Therapy Faculty School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences University of Pittsburgh

Yoon-Hee Cha, MD

Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Minnesota

Sharon Cushing, MD, M.Sc

Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, University of Toronto

Elizabeth Dannenbaum, PT, M.Sc

Physiotherapist Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital

Pam M. Dunlap, DPT, PhD, NCS

Post-Doctoral Associate in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh

Terry D. Fife, MD

Professor of Neurology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine

Joseph M. Furman, MD, PhD, FAAN

Professor in the Departments of Otolaryngology, Neurology, Bioengineering, and Physical Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh

Colin Grove, DPT, PhD, NCS

Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Courtney D. Hall PT, PhD

Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy East Tennessee State University

Regan Harrell, DPT, NCS

Adjunct Physical Therapy Faculty School of Health and Rehabilitation Science University of Pittsburgh

Janet Helminski PT, PhD

Professor in Physical Therapy College of Health Sciences Midwestern University

Susan J. Herdman PT, PhD

Professor Emerita Emory University School of Medicine Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Janene M. Holmberg, PT, DPT, NCS

Director Balance Rehabilitation at Intermountain Hearing and Balance Center

Jorge C. Kattah, MD

Professor in Neurology University of Illinois College of Medicine

Brooke N. Klatt, PT, DPT, PhD

Assistant Professor in Physical Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh

Anthony P. Kontos, PhD

Professor in the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh

Julie Maggio, PT, DPT

Outpatient Physical Therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital

Francisco Carlos Zuma e Maia, MD, PhD

Preceptor in Neurotology at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul

Anne Mucha, DPT, NCS

Adjunct Physical Therapy Faculty School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences University of Pittsburgh

Catherine V. Palmer, PhD

Professor in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders at the University of Pittsburgh

Marousa Pavlou, PT, PhD

Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy at King's College London

Michelle R. Petrak, PhD, PhD, CCC-A

Director of Clinical Audiology and Vestibular Research for Interacoustics

Alexander Ring, PT

Adjunct Research Fellow Curtin University and Murdoch University

Matthew Scherer PT, PhD, NCS

Military Deputy at the Clinical and Rehabilitative Medicine Research Program

Michael C. Schubert, PT, PhD, FAPTA

Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins University

Britta Smith, DPT, NCS

Physical Therapist Supervisor at Atlanta Medical Center

Patrick J. Sparto, PT, PhD, FAPTA

Professor in the Departments of Physical Therapy, Otolaryngology and Bioengineering

Jeffrey Staab, MD

Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Mayo Clinic

Vicky Stewart, PT, PhD

Physiotherapist at the Gold Coast University Hospital Australia

Raymond Van Der Berg, MD

Associate Professor at Maastricht University Medical Center

Susan L. Whitney, DPT, PhD, NCS, ATC, FAPTA

Professor in Physical Therapy and Otolaryngology  University of Pittsburgh

Dario Yacovino, MD

Professor of Clinical Neurology at the Medical School of Buenos Aires University

David S. Zee, MD

Professor Johns Hopkins University

 

Registration Fees

$650 per module

Note: Participants will be required to register for each module separately. 

Application Process

Pre-requisite Experience:

Certification is limited to licensed physical therapists.

Participants best suited for this experience are:

  • Licensed in good standing in country of origin. Will need to provide copy of license as proof. 
  • Minimum of one year of post-professional vestibular rehabilitation clinical experience

Favorable consideration will be given to applicants with at least one of the following:

  • Graduate of an APTA accredited residency program
  • A certified ABPTS specialist

All candidates are required to submit a Cover Letter and Curriculum Vitae demonstrating credentials and qualifications that meet or exceed the above admission requirements. The enclosed cover letter should indicate the participant’s expectations of the program, desired learning objectives and opportunities for implementing new concepts into clinical practice. 

 If a candidate does not meet the prerequisite admission requirements, s/he can submit evidence of the equivalent of the above criteria subject for approval by our AVPT Advisory Panel through an individual review process. Submit your request and justification with your cover letter in the application linked below. A phone interview may be required. 

APPLY HERE   

working with vestibular PT devices

Cancellation Policy

For cancellations sent before first of the month of the month preceding the AVPT weekend, tuition will be refunded minus a $75.00 administrative fee; cancellations sent after 1st of the month, but before 31st of the month preceding the registered weekend, tuition will be refunded minus a $125.00 administrative fee; no tuition will be refunded for requests sent after 31st of the month preceding the weekend workshop.