Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program | VA Washington DC Health Care

Andara Puchino

PT Residency Program Director
Latasha Thomas, PT, DPT, NCS

Latasha Thomas received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from George Washington University in 2010. She worked in an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy practice for three years and enjoyed medically complex patients. In 2014, she graduated from the MedStar Rehabilitation Network and George Washington University’s Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency Program. Shortly thereafter, she joined the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Service. In 2015, she obtained her Board Certification in Neurologic Physical Therapy from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.

During her career at the DC VA Medical Center, she has served as the Site Coordinator for Clinical Education and assisted in the development of the Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency curriculum. She continues to serve as a Clinical Instructor to pre-professional students and a clinical mentor to the orthopaedic residents during the vestibular and neurologic gait modules.  She also enjoys the opportunity to teach as adjunct faculty at the George Washington University Doctor of Physical Therapy program.  Outside of the clinic, she loves spending time with her family, travel, singing, dancing and reading.

PT Orthopaedic Residency Program Coordinator
Obioma Ogbuawa, PT, DPT, OCS

Obioma Ogbuawa is a physical therapist and Orthopedic Residency Coordinator at the Washington D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In her current role, she is the Physical Therapy and Kinesiotherapy Supervisor and a mentor in the residency program.  She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science from Howard University and earned her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Obioma joined the Washington D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2013 and started off as an Amputee Physical therapist prior to sitting for the Orthopedic specialist exam in 2016.   She enjoys working with all patient populations and clinical settings and loves education. The VA has been able to bridge both of those interests with the Residency Program.  Outside of work, catch her if you can as she loves traveling and spending time with her family!       

Residency Mentor
Melanie Millstein, PT, DPT, OCS

Melanie Millstein graduated from University of South Florida with her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2011.  Prior to earning her DPT, Melanie attended the University of Florida with her Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology in 2008.  Melanie started at the Washington DC VA Medical Center in 2013 as a staff physical therapist.  Within 3 years, she became Board Certified as an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist and was one of the first mentors of the Orthopedic residency program.  Melanie is certified in dry needling and has received advanced training in spinal manipulation.  Most recently, Melanie has received training in rehabilitation of pelvic health conditions and plans to continue blending her orthopedic background with pelvic health.   She enjoys treating the athletic and chronic pain population and helping people get back to active lifestyles and improve their quality of life.  In her free time, she enjoys running, crossfit, and spending time with her husband and pups.

Residency Mentor
Erin Dennis, PT, DPT, OCS

Erin Dennis graduated from Sacred Heart University in 2010 with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She began her career in an outpatient physical therapy private practice and returned to SHU’s DPT program as adjunct faculty. She has since expanded her practice through acute care, military facilities and now in the Veteran’s Affairs. Erin’s love of teaching has been a common thread throughout her career, working as adjunct faculty, clinical instructor and residency mentor. Her passion for life-long learning has motivated her to seek wide range of educational opportunities including dry needling, battlefield acupuncture and Maitland COMT (to be completed 2022 baring COVID). Erin has been a board certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist since 2017 at which point she began mentoring in the DC VAMC Orthopedic Residency program. Erin is currently the DC VA Total Joint PT Program manager and is heading open research protocols on total joint functional outcomes. When Erin isn’t working, you can find her hiking with her husband and their dogs, teaching yoga, baking bread, gardening or reading a library book.

Residency Mentor
Arsalan Khan, PT, DPT, OCS

Arsalan Khan is a physical therapist and residency advisor at the Washington D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In his current role, he teaches in the residency program, provides mentoring, is a clinical instructor for physical therapy students, and participates in clinical research. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Human Health and Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University (Go Rams!!). He then took his talents to Tampa where he earned his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida. In seeking clinical excellence, he decided to pursue a Board-Certified Clinical Specialty in Orthopedics and was rewarded the certification in 2018. Arsalan has taken continuing education courses from institutions such as Maitland, McKenzie, Institute of Physical Arts, and Mid-Atlantic Manual Therapy Consultants to name a few. Over the years he has adopted current evidence in order to provide the most up to date and highest quality of care. A principal concept in his care consists of patient empowerment through education. Outside of work you can find him blocking the right lane of traffic as a road cyclist or in the gym emulating Kobe Bryant. As a DMV native, he is an avid supporter of the hometown sports clubs and hopes to see a winning product in his lifetime.


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