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News from the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

June 2, 2016

Dale Needham


Some exciting developments are taking place in the Johns Hopkins Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Michael FriedmanErik HoyerLevan Atanelov and Dale Needham recently published a one-year longitudinal study that engaged nurses and providers to increase the number of hours that patients were active while in the general hospital. By guiding the care teams to increase the activity of patients—going for an additional walk, for example—the length of stay and incidence of immobilization diseases decreased. Specifically, patients who were expected to be in the acute hospital setting for more than a week had a decrease of 1.1 days.

In February, several Johns Hopkins physiatrists attended the annual meeting of the Association of Academic Physiatrists in Sacramento, California. Marlis Gonzalez-FernandezMartin Brodsky and Dale Needham participated in some successful educational sessions about rehabilitation in the intensive care unit (ICU)—efforts that will better define the important role of physiatrists in the ICU.

Additionally, Akhil Chhatre presented an engaging session on the pharmacologic understanding in current pain management and considerations for specific populations. Read more about Chhatre and Ashot Kotcharian, both physiatrists with expertise in spine and musculoskeletal management, in A Comprehensive Approach to Lower Back Pain.

New and innovative activities are underway to engage Johns Hopkins undergraduates considering postgraduate education opportunities. So far, the response from students has been very promising, and the activities appear to enhance the interest of young students to become future rehabilitation leaders who will help expand the specialty.

Lastly, the department is helping patients with brain injury function better than they ever have—just like the record-setting paralympian mentioned in Pushing Neurorehabilitation to Its Limits. The group continues to receive funding for research efforts like these to develop and test novel interventions. 

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