The Wright Center For Community Health Mid Valley Practice

The Wright Center For Community Health Mid Valley Practice

We’re now several weeks into 2023, and let’s face it — many of us have already let our New Year’s resolutions fall by the proverbial wayside. Hey, we’re human and it happens.

Of course, our health is something we should always be focused on. With that in mind, we’d like to devote today’s space to discussing the critical importance of physical medicine & rehabilitation, or PM&R, as it’s known within the medical community.

So, what exactly is PM&R? Also known as physiatry or rehabilitation medicine, PM&R is a medical specialty that’s focused on restoring function for people who have been physically disabled as a result of an injury or disease that’s affected the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and/or tendons.

Physicians trained in PM&R are referred to as physiatrists, and unlike other medical specialties they’re not focused on curing their patients, but rather maximizing their ability to move and thereby enhancing their independence and overall quality of life.

Physiatrists practice in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings and possess extensive knowledge in musculoskeletal, neurological, rheumatological and cardiovascular systems. They come up with comprehensive treatment plans that are specifically tailored to the individual patient, whether they’re an infant, an adolescent, a young adult or a senior citizen.

Within an inpatient setting, physiatrists work with patients who are recovering from, among other things, spinal cord and brain injuries (both traumatic and non-traumatic), stroke and other neurological problems, orthopedic injuries, cardiac and pulmonary issues and other acute chronic illnesses. Collaboration is a key component and physiatrists work closely with social workers and physical, occupational and speech therapists to optimize patient outcomes.

Meanwhile, on the outpatient side, physiatrists treat a wide variety of maladies, including orthopedic injuries, chronic pain, spine-related pain and dysfunction, occupational injuries and overuse syndromes, as well as neurogenic bowel and bladder, pressure sore and spasticity management. In this setting, they’re working hand in hand with orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons and other physiatrists.

As you can imagine, PM&R is now a highly in-demand field of medicine, and The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education is doing its part to train the next generation of physiatrists.

In July 2022, we welcomed our first cohort of residents. Made possible through a partnership with Allied Services Integrated Health System and Northeastern Rehabilitation Associates, our accredited, four-year residency program provides extensive training in the evidence-based diagnosis, care and treatment of patients with disabilities in a variety of clinical settings, ranging from minor injuries to devastating trauma.

In addition to PM&R, we offer residencies in family medicine, internal medicine and psychiatry, as well as fellowships in cardiovascular disease, gastroenterology and geriatrics. These programs combine to make us the largest HRSA-funded Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education consortium in the country. In Northeast Pennsylvania, about 250 physician learners are now getting hands-on experience in our physician-led programs, allowing them to gain hands-on experience with diverse and medically underserved patient populations.

We are very proud of our PM&R residency, and look forward to seeing the key contributions it makes in improving the overall health and well-being of our communities.

Aloysius “Mark” Madhok, M.D., Ph.D., FACP, serves as associate program director of the Internal Medicine residency program and core faculty for the Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation residency program at The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education.