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Physiatrists are physicians who specialize in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) are called "physiatrists," or "medical rehab doctors."  They typically functions as the rehabilitation team leader, and direct the treatment plan.  

They target in the diagnosis and treatment of patients of all ages in three major areas of medical care.

  1. Diagnosis & treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and pain syndromes
    These range from sports/work injuries to degenerative conditions such as arthritis or low back pain.

  2. Electrodiagnostic medicine
    PM&R is the only medical specialty in which special training in electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies is required. These procedures are used for evaluation of various neurologic disorders.

  3. Rehabilitation of patients with severe impairments
    The physiatrist directs a comprehensive rehabilitation team of professionals that may include physical therapists, occupational therapists, recreational therapists, rehabilitation nurses, psychologists, social workers, speech-language pathologists and others. Physiatrists treat neurologic rehabilitation conditions including stroke, brain injury, and spinal cord injury. Many other disabling conditions such as amputations, multiple trauma, burns and sports injuries are treated as well.

Training: Physiatrists complete a residency training in a specialty (typically 4 years) after medical school.   There are roughly 3,000 physiatrists in the US.

Closest program to Marquette:  Run through MCWs Department of PM&R, and based within Froedert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, with additional sites including the Milwaukee VA (where 5 MCW physiatrists practice) and Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Unit.  The Department is chaired by Dr. John Merritt, who along with 3-4 of his staff, will be giving guest lecturers to our class.

Other physician specialties that are commonly involved in rehabilitation include: neurologists, family physicians, geriatricians, internists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, and surgeons (e.g., neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons).

See also:

American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Association of Academic Physiatrists  



Copyright by Jack Winters.
For problems or questions regarding this web contact Jack Winters.
Last updated: January 17, 2001.