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PM&R residency program gains ACGME approval

Aug. 7, 2014, 10:23 AM

Vanderbilt’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) will welcome its first class of residents next summer. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) approved the new residency program to begin in July 2015.

The four-year program, including intern year, will start with four residents, training them in the PM&R specialty, which works to reduce impairments and optimize function after injury or illness.
The department will accept applications this fall, conduct interviews over the winter and then participate in the 2015 Match Day.

Now entering its second year, the PM&R department has pursued a residency program as a core part of its mission.

Walter Frontera, M.D., Ph.D.

“We can’t be a strong department with a national reputation without a residency training program. We want to contribute to training the next generation of academic leaders in PM&R,” said Walter Frontera, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the department.

Frontera said the PM&R specialty is in high demand and Vanderbilt has already received inquiries from interested medical students.

“We’re optimistic about getting a good number of high-quality applicants,” he said. “The Vanderbilt name implies a strong training and research culture that will be valued by applicants.”

Stacy Stark, D.O.

Stacy Stark, D.O., medical director of Pediatric Rehabilitation Services at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, will serve as residency program director.

“I’m passionate about medical education and want to impact the residents to be the best doctor they can be. With only four residents in the program, they won’t be in competition with others to do procedures or care for patients. It will be a fantastic one-on-one experience for them,” Stark said.

The first year of the residency will be an internship year conducted in partnership with the Department of Medicine, while the second year will focus on inpatient rehabilitation. In the third and fourth years, residents can explore the areas they are interested in, including outpatient rehabilitation, research and other electives.

There will also be rotations with other Vanderbilt departments, including Orthopaedics, Neurology and Radiology and Radiological Sciences.

“Collaboration is the essence of PM&R,” Frontera said. “Our residents need to learn content that is the expertise of other departments, but they also need to learn how to work with colleagues in these other specialties.

“A lot of patients we see in the hospital and clinics have multiple needs and very diverse medical issues. We have to understand each other’s skills and training for the benefit of the patient,” Frontera said.

The residency will also include a structured research experience, with the requirement to conduct a research project and present the results at a national meeting, and a didactics program with lectures in scientific and clinical aspects of PM&R, research, biomedical ethics, professionalism and humanities in medicine.

Vanderbilt joins 78 other ACGME-accredited PM&R residencies in the United States, training approximately 1,200 physicians per year.

Learn more about the residency program here.

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