The Association of Academic Physiatrists (AAP) has named Gerard E. Francisco, MD, professor and chair of the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, as its 2020 Distinguished Academician.
Dr. Francisco received the award for achieving distinction and peer recognition by virtue of excellence as a teacher, researcher and administrator. He received the award at the 14th International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ISPRM) World Congress and 53rd Association of American Physiatrists (AAP) Annual Meeting last March in Orlando, Florida.
Dr. Francisco serves as chief medical officer of TIRR Memorial Hermann and director of the UTHealth NeuroRecovery Research Center at the TIRR. His research spans various areas, including robot-assisted therapy in persons with stroke, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, and novel botulinum toxins for post-stroke spasticity.
“This award is special to me because I received the honor as an academician at a leading rehabilitation hospital,” Dr. Francisco says. “TIRR Memorial Hermann is a nurturing environment for academic activities in physical medicine and rehabilitation. We have a long history of recognizing the importance of research and education in support of clinical care.”
Since 2001, Dr. Francisco has been listed annually in Best Doctors in America. In 2017, he was inducted into the prestigious National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine). In addition, he has received several Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Awards at UTHealth. He served as president of the AAP from 2015 to 2017 and currently holds offices in various national PM&R organizations, including the International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine.
Dr. Francisco received his medical degree at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine in 1989 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in brain injury rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine. He joined UTHealth and the Brain Injury Program at TIRR Memorial Hermann in 1997.
Angelle Sander, PhD, director of the Brain Injury Research Center at TIRR Memorial Hermann, has been named president-elect of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine’s Brain Injury Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group (BI-ISIG). Her six-year term began at the 2020 annual conference in October.
“BI-ISIG was formed to bring together experts in the field of brain injury,” says Sander, associate professor and director of the division of Clinical Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation Psychology at Baylor College of Medicine. “Over the years the group has been responsible for much of the crucial work done in pushing forward brain injury rehabilitation.”
Several smaller working groups come together to form BI-ISIG. “For example, the Cognitive Rehabilitation Task Force has developed a series of systematic reviews of the effectiveness of cognitive rehabilitation treatments, which has led to best-practice recommendations,” she says. “The Disorders of Consciousness subgroup has put forth evidence-based guidelines for assessing people with disorders of consciousness. The working groups that make up BI-ISIG lead efforts to change or guide clinical rehabilitation practices across the country.”
Dr. Sander will serve as president-elect of BI-ISIG for two years, and then as president of the group for two more years. As president, her duties will include oversight of the organization’s working groups, service as a liaison to the ACRM Board of Governors, and participation in conceptualization of the vision for ACRM. Following two years as president, she will serve as immediate past president for two years, helping to transition the newly elected leadership into their roles.
Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez, MD, was appointed professor and chair of the department Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio, effective April 1. She succeeded Nicolas E. Walsh, MD, who served as chair for three decades and will continue in an emeritus role and as a part-time clinician.
Dr. Gutierrez is an accomplished academic physiatrist who began her career in 2006 at TIRR Memorial Hermann and McGovern Medical School at UTHealth as a resident in the former Baylor College of Medicine/UTHealth Alliance for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She served as medical director of the Brain Injury and Stroke Program at TIRR Memorial Hermann, associate professor in the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and vice chair of quality and patient safety at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.
“I am proud of Dr. Gutierrez and grateful to her for her many contributions to TIRR Memorial Hermann and McGovern Medical School during her time here,” says Gerard Francisco, MD, professor and chair of the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at McGovern Medical School and chief medical officer at TIRR Memorial Hermann. “She played a significant role in our Outpatient Medical Clinic, Spasticity Clinic and the Brain Injury and Stroke Program, and I know she will excel in her new role.”
Dr. Gutierrez grew up in South Texas and moved to Houston where she earned her undergraduate degree at Rice University and her medical degree at Baylor College of Medicine. At McGovern Medical School, she was elected chair of the Faculty Senate, where her work focused on developing wellness initiatives for faculty. She has won multiple awards for medical student and resident teaching and has had several administrative roles within the Memorial Hermann Health System.
Jason Hua, DO, Peter Riedel, DO, Ryan Stork, MD, and Alexander K. Wu, MD, have joined the medical staff of TIRR Memorial Hermann and the faculty of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth as assistant professors of physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Dr. Jason Hua received his medical degree at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and completed residency training in physical medicine and rehabilitation at McGovern Medical School. Dr. Hua holds certificates in healthcare management from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and as a physician educator from UTHealth, and is a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt. His current research interest is virtual reality and distraction therapy in managing neuropathy pain flare in patients with acute spinal cord injuries. An assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at McGovern Medical School, Dr. Hua is a native speaker of English and Mandarin Chinese.
Dr. Peter Riedel is dual board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation and in brain injury medicine. He received his medical degree at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pennsylvania and completed residency training at Temple University Hospital/MossRehab in Philadelphia, where he was chief resident. He went on to complete a brain injury fellowship at MossRehab/Einstein Healthcare Network. Prior to joining TIRR Memorial Hermann, he was an attending physiatrist in Pennsylvania at MossRehab Elkins Park and at Reading Hospital Rehabilitation Wyomissing, where his work was acknowledged with the Reading Hospital Foundation National Doctor’s Day Recognition Award in 2019. In addition to making presentations at national meetings of the AAPMR and AAP, he authored the chapter, “Pharmacologic Treatment Tools: Systemic Medications and Toxins, Opportunities and Pitfalls” in the August 2018 issue of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. He will be based at TIRR Memorial Hermann Outpatient Rehabilitation-The Woodlands.
Dr. Ryan Stork received his medical degree at the University of Toledo College of Medicine in Ohio, and completed residency training at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he was chief resident in physical medicine and rehabilitation. He went on to complete a fellowship in brain injury medicine and rehabilitation at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University and the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago. During his time at the University of Michigan, Dr. Stork also served as associate residency program director and received a grant from the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research for the Project, “Measurement of Autonomic Dysfunction Following Concussion Using the E4 Wristband.” He was awarded the Silver Crutch Teaching Award 2017, 2018 and 2020 in recognition of his commitment to teaching and engagement of PM&R trainees. Dr. Stork is an attending physician in the Brain Injury and Stroke and Specialty Programs at TIRR Memorial Hermann. Prior to joining TIRR Memorial Hermann, he was an assistant professor in the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Alexander Wu graduated from Rice University in Houston summa cum laude and received his medical degree at McGovern Medical School. He completed residency training at the same institution, where he was academic chief resident. During residency, Dr. Wu was the presenting author of “Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury and PM&R Consultation at a Level 1 Trauma Center: Five Years and 1,000 Patients Later” at the Association of Academic Physiatrists Conference in Atlanta in 2018. In 2019, he was the presenting author of “Pneumocephalus and Successful Air Transport Home: A Case Report” at the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation conference in San Antonio. Dr. Wu is an attending physician at TIRR Memorial Hermann-The Woodlands.
Dr. Jean Woo received her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Michigan, and completed residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine. She completed a fellowship in brain injury medicine and was a part of the honor society at Baylor as well. She has served on the AAP Resident Fellow Council and Program Committee. Dr. Woo is a former resident of TIRR and she participated in research projects focusing on spasticity, underserved patients with disability, and more. Dr. Woo is an attending physician at TIRR Memorial Hermann-TMC for the Brain Injury and Stroke Program. Dr. Woo will treat patients with traumatic brain injury, stroke, and Disorders of Consciousness.
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Dawson J, Engineer ND, Prudente CN, Pierce D, Francisco G, Yozbatiran N, et al. Vagus Nerve Stimulation Paired with Upper-Limb Rehabilitation After Stroke: One-Year Follow-up. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. doi.org/10.1177/1545968320924361.
Korupolu R, Francisco GE, Levin H, Needham DM. Rehabilitation of Critically Ill COVID-19 Survivors. J Int Soc Phys Rehabil Med. Epub ahead of print. doi.org/10.4103/jisprm.jisprm_8_20.
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Lex Frieden and Richard Petty received $1 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Disability Independent Living Training and Technical Assistance Grant Program, in support of the Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) program. The funds will be used for training, consulting and publication of resources that support community-based organizations in providing social services for people with disabilities and older adults who rely on the centers to live independent lives.
Sheng Li, MD, PhD, with co-investigators Danielle Melton, MD, and Shengai Li, PhD, received a grant for an NIDILRR Field-Initiated Project entitled “A non-invasive intervention (BreEStim) for management of phantom limb pain after traumatic amputation.”
Mark Sherer, PhD, ABPP, FACRM, associate vice president for research at TIRR Memorial Hermann and Eva Sevick-Muraca, PhD, professor and Nancy and Rich Kinder Distinguished Chair of Cardiovascular Disease Research and director of the Center for Molecular Imaging of the National Cancer Institute Network for Translational Research at UTHealth, received an award of $69,858 to investigate the possible clinical benefit of manual therapy to improve lymph and cerebral spinal fluid drainage from the head and neck area.