Transitional Year

Established in 1991 as an Osteopathic Rotating Internship, the Transitional Year program at UPMC Altoona is fully integrated within the Altoona Family Physicians Family Medicine Residency and is a part of the Pennsylvania College of Osteopathic Medicine MedNet OPTI program. The program is initially accredited by the ACGME and in the application process for Osteopathic Recognition.

The residency is sponsored by the UPMC Altoona Family Physicians Family Medicine Residency and offers a unique blend of hands-on patient care in the inpatient, outpatient, and specialty elective settings.  

Recent residents have matriculated from the following medical schools: University of Indiana, Ohio State University, Georgetown University, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine, University Of Pittsburgh, Sidney Kimmel Medical College-Thomas Jefferson University, Campbell University, Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine, University of Kentucky and many others.  

ACGME accreditation allows our graduates to pursue ACGME fellowships after residency training.  Recent graduates of the program have gone on to residencies in family medicine, dermatology, radiology, anesthesiology, physiatry, ophthalmology, and diving medicine. Several others have entered the military as flight surgeons, general medical officers, and in diving medicine.


The curriculum is designed to help a resident feel confident in his or her next career step, and training is in an environment that supports learners and values resident wellness. Resident education is hands-on and supplemented with daily didactics.  Since we are an unopposed residency, opportunities for procedures and patient management are abundant.  

During the transitional year, residents do rotations in emergency medicine, general surgery, and internal medicine.  To help residents feel confident and ready to make the most of their rotations, a special fundamental clinical skills rotation in July launches each resident with experiences under senior resident and faculty mentorship in the inpatient, obstetrical, pediatrics, and outpatient settings.  

We also offer training in osteopathic manipulative therapy including clinics at our outpatient offices, Pregnancy Care Center and Juniata College.

A typical curriculum looks like

  • Fudamental clinical skills- 1 month (July)
  • Electives - 3 months
  • Altoona Family Physicians Inpatient Medicine Service- 3 months
  • Internal Medicine Inpatient Hospitalist Service - 1 month
  • Cardiology/Pulmonology - 1 month
  • Critical Care - 1 month
  • Emergency Medicine - 1 month
  • Surgery (with experience in Anesthesia available )- 1 month
  • Ambulatory Family Medicine Continuity Clinic- ½ day per week throughout the year
  • Call is arranged within the three-year residents’ call system.


The resident is able to select three electives in preparation for his or her career plans. A wide array of electives can be performed at UPMC Altoona, but electives can also be arranged throughout the UPMC healthcare system.  We also permit the resident to do one "out of system" elective if desired, including at their PGY2 residency program.

Elective choices include

  • Neurology
  • Interventional Neurology
  • ENT 
  • Nephrology
  • Sports Medicine
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Dermatology
  • Radiology 
  • Interventional Radiology 
  • Pediatric Radiology at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh 
  • Research and Quality Improvement
  • Palliative Medicine
  • Anesthesia
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Infectious Disease
  • Ophthalmology
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Others at the discretion of the Program Director

Specialty-Driven Curriculum

The curriculum is individualized to meet the specific requirements of the resident’s intended specialty or next level of responsibilities.  After a resident matches with our program, the Program Director will work with him or her to begin planning an individualized curriculum.

Residents entering radiology often choose a dynamic interventional neurology rotation that integrates imaging with clinical care of patients. Sports medicine is also popular to integrate imaging at point-of-care of patients.

Dermatology-bound residents can perform dermatological procedures in our outpatient ambulatory clinic as well as within our several dermatology elective options.

Physical medicine and rehabilitation-directed residents are encouraged to take neurology and musculoskeletal medicine-oriented electives. A musculoskeletal clinic utilizing point-of-care ultrasound is scheduled weekly.

Residents entering anesthesia enjoy working in our four ICU units learning aside intensivists and performing a variety of procedures.  Electives within anesthesia are also available and encouraged.

Residents entering the military as general medical officers have found women’s health, college health, and sports medicine electives to be of great value.

If a resident is unmatched, the Program Director will help design a curriculum to prepare the resident for the next NRMP match cycle along with providing administrative support, mock interviews, and guidance as to which electives and scholarly activity will help support the resident’s success.