Cindy IvanhoeCindy B. Ivanhoe, MD, the director of TIRR Memorial Hermann’s Spasticity and Associated Syndromes of Movement (SPASM) program, has been awarded the 2022-2023 John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Distinguished Faculty Award from the Women Faculty Forum of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. Dr. Ivanhoe was the first physiatrist from TIRR Memorial Hermann to be presented with this recognition, receiving her award for clinical service.

Dr. Ivanhoe, who is a clinical professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, is a board-certified physiatrist and board-certified in brain injury medicine, and has a specific clinical interest in tone management, or spasticity and dystonia. She works to support her patients and their families, however long their journey might be. She has known some of patients for over two decades.

“Brain injury is a chronic disease process,” she explains. “Certainly, you see the most dramatic increase in improvement right after an acute injury, but one of the things that physical medicine and rehabilitation must do is help shape the trajectory of progress. We have to be able to see the impact of their brain injuries on their future functional capabilities.”

“I try to stay focused on what is in a particular patient’s best interests, because there are a lot of outside pressures, including social determinants of health,” she adds. “I try to be authentic, with both patients and their families. I’m fine with saying when I do not know the answer to a particular question, and I don’t put up barriers to open conversations.”

The challenge “is finding that balance between being realistic and still hopeful. I believe in having credibility, and that means addressing misperceptions about what it means to have a brain injury and offering a vision for our patients of what they can accomplish,” according to Dr. Ivanhoe.

Dr. Ivanhoe is no stranger to recognition of her clinical talents: She won the Distinguished Clinician Award from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2016 and is regularly included in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Doctors list.

Although treatment of brain injuries and related movement disorders remains challenging, the good news is that the care of patients with brain injuries has steadily improved in recent decades, according to Dr. Ivanhoe.

“There have been a lot of advances, and there is a whole new world where doors are opening for these patients,” she says. “I also think the field is continuing to grow and the appreciation of what’s possible has grown. It’s an expanding field of study, and it’s exciting.”

Winter 2024 Edition
US News and World Report Best Hospitals Badge
Nationally Ranked Rehabilitation

For the 34th consecutive year, TIRR Memorial Hermann is recognized as the best rehabilitation hospital in Texas and No. 4 in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report's "Best Rehabilitation Hospitals" in America.

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