AAMT Fellowship moves to Accreditation by AAOMPT: International Standards set by IFOMPT

The American Academy of Manipulative Therapy Fellowship (along with approximately 12 other ABPTRFE-accredited fellowship programs throughout the country) has decided not to renew its ABPTRFE accreditation. Instead, and beginning January 2020, the AAMT Fellowship will be accredited by AAOMPT, the designated member organization of the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (IFOMPT). We came to this conclusion based on a number of reasons:

1.  As of January 1, 2020, ABPTRFE will change its admission criteria, such that only physical therapists that have completed a residency and/or OCS can be admitted to a fellowship program. Our goal is to be more inclusive by also considering physical therapists based on relevant clinical experience and demonstrable clinical skills within a particular specialty area. We believe there are many PTs that have not completed a residency or taken the very expensive (i.e. $2300!) written multiple-choice OCS test that have relevant clinical experience and prior training in orthopaedic manual physical therapy. These individuals should be given an opportunity to enter an OMPT fellowship program.

2.  As of January 1, 2020, ABPTRFE will require that fellows-in-training complete 850 patient-care hours inclusive of 150 1:1 mentoring. At least 75 of the 150 mentoring hours must be in-person, while the remaining hours may occur in-person using synchronous or asynchronous methodologies. Notably, this “new” lower standard set by ABPTRFE does not meet the minimum standards for 1:1 clinical mentorship hours set by AAOMPT. Furthermore, the ABPTRFE clinical mentoring standard is not recognized by IFOMPT (the international gold standard in OMPT education).

3.  As of January 1, 2020, ABPTRFE will permit clinical mentorship hours to be provided to fellows-in-training by PTs that are not even Fellows themselves! Moreover, according to ABPTRFE, mentorship can be provided by a physical therapist that would not even qualify to participate in an ABPTRFE-accredited fellowship program. This “new” ABPTRFE rule is not compliant with the established AAOMPT clinical mentorship requirements or the international gold standard set by IFOMPT for the past 40 years.

4.  As of January 1, 2020, fellowship programs that are not compliant with AAOMPT standards will no longer be able to use the FAAOMPT credential. That is, graduates of programs accredited by ABPTRFE that do not meet the AAOMPT mentorship guidelines will not be eligible to become a Fellow of AAOMPT.  We want all graduates of the AAMT Fellowship program to earn the FAAOMPT credential, as this is the gold standard in OMPT Fellowship programs throughout the U.S and abroad.

Therefore, as the largest OMPT Fellowship program in the United States for the past three years, the AAMT Fellowship is not renewing its ABPTRFE accreditation and will instead use AAOMPT as its accrediting body. Thus, the AAMT Fellowship will continue to accept physical therapists using the same admission criteria as prior years. That is, participants in clinical fellowship programs must possess one or more of the following qualifications:

  1. ABPTS specialist certification in the related area of specialty
  2. Completion of an APTA accredited residency in a related specialty area
  3. Demonstrable clinical skills within a particular specialty area

The single-page application for the AAMT Fellowship can be downloaded here. Please email the completed application to: fellowship@spinalmanipulation.org before December 31, 2019 to be considered for the March 1, 2020 AAMT Fellowship cohort.

With kind regards,

James Dunning, PhD, DPT, MSc Manip Ther, FAAOMPT, Dip. Osteopractic
Director, AAMT Fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy
Fellow, American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists
Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (UK)
Manipulation Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (UK)
President, Spinal Manipulation Institute
1036 Old Breckenridge Ln
Montgomery, AL 36117
Tel: 801.707.9056