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Phila., PA 19129
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Fax: 215-991-8132
Email: mh37@Drexel.edu

Physical Medicine and Rehab

Pathway Director:

Maya Therattil, M.D. Office #
mtherattil@slrc.org N/A
Lucie Conte LConte@slrc.org

Drexel Fourth Year Discipline Based Pathway System

Pathway Director's Advice On Commonly Asked Questions

What can students do in the 1st and 2nd years to explore and/or prepare for this career?

Shadow physicians, do musculoskeletal courses, research in musculoskeletal or neuromuscular subjects, work with disability advocacy groups. Be a lab/teaching assistant in the gross anatomy lab.

How important is it for a student to have completed some type of research to match in this specialty? When should the research be done? Does it have to be specialty specific?

It is good to complete a research project when you are a student as it shows the interviewers that you have the background to do research when you are a resident. It also shows that you have shown the the discipline to do the same, which is a plus during residency. It is not a requirement. Early research projects could be in any specialty as you need not have chosen PMR to be your specialty from the beginning. It is always good to have specialty related research.

Are research opportunities available in your department?

PMR does not have a department at Drexel, but has a rotation. If you are interested during your rotation, we could guide you through simple projects. There are no full time researchers in this rotation. We can advise you about the different options which are available to students through the national PMR organizations.

Are shadowing opportunities available?

Yes, you can shadow any of the five attending PMR physicians at St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center. Contact the site director.

Are away rotations essential to a successful match in your specialty?

It is good to rotate in a Department which has a residency program that you are interested in, attached to it. It gives you the opportunity to see whether the program is a good fit for you and in the converse they get to see the same about you as well.

How would you describe the career-life balance for this specialty?

Due to the different options which are available, you could create a good balance for yourself.

What are the most important qualities or character traits for a person in this field?

Ideal dermatology candidates have a strong work ethic, inquisitive mind, and are able to multi-task well. Being a team-player is also very important

What are career opportunities after training?

Multiple. There are 5 ACGME accredited Fellowship training programs. Brain injury medicine, Spinal Cord Injury medicine, Pediatrics, Sports medicine, and pain management.

You can arrange your practice to be solely inpatient rehab, or out patient rehab. You can also do a good balance between both. There are physicians who primarily practice the above mentioned subspecialties that they have trained in. You can also do a mix and match of any of these as well. Women's health, cardiopulmonary, oncology, neuromuscular, hospice, and Palliative care are options as well.

What resources (eg websites, books, professional groups) would you recommend for students interested in learning more about this field?
AAPMR (American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) - they habe multiple external links which are connected to them as well.
Any other advice you wish to share?

You could contact the pathway director to chat about the specialty and opportunities.

PM&R "How to" Guide:

This is "how to" guide written by a couple of previous graduates. Go to the Drexel Careers Development Center for information on residency planning, match results, FREIDA (lists of residency training programs across the country) and more.

Drexel Medical Student Interest Group

PM&R Interest Group: ducompmandr@gmail.com
Paul Yerkes: pmy23@drexel.edu, Victor Chun: vsc34@drexel.edu

Specialty Description

Physical medicine and rehabilitation, also referred to as rehabilitation medicine, is the medical specialty concerned with diagnosing, evaluating, and treating patients with physical disabilities. These disabilities may arise from conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system such as birth defects, neck and back pain, sports injuries, or other painful conditions affecting the limbs, for example carpal tunnel syndrome. Alternatively, the disabilities may result from neurological trauma or disease such as broken hips, spinal cord injury, head injury, or stroke. A physician certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation is often called a physiatrist. Physiatrists often coordinate the services of an interdisciplinary rehabilitation team that may include neurologists, psychiatrists and orthopaedic surgeons as well as allied health care professionals. The physiatrist takes a holistic approach to patient diagnosis by considering the physical and psychological aspects of a patient's condition. A high degree of patient contact and long-term care are common in this field. Physiatrists use medical history, physical examination, x-rays and other imaging techniques, laboratory studies, and other diagnostic tools in patient management. The primary goal of the physiatrist is to achieve maximal restoration of physical, psychological, social, and vocational function through comprehensive rehabilitation. The physiatrist not only treats the person with medications but also treats patients with modalities such as heat, cold, massage, traction, electrical stimulation and biofeedback, as well as selective types of therapeutic exercises. Pain management is often an important part of the physiatrist's role. For diagnosis and evaluation, a physiatrist may include the techniques of electromyography to supplement the standard history, physical, X-ray, and laboratory examinations. The physiatrist has expertise in the appropriate use of therapeutic exercise, prosthetics (artificial limbs), orthotics, and mechanical and electrical devices.

Patient Profile
5 most frequently encountered conditions
1. Back pain/injury/surgery
2. Stroke
3. Neck pain/injury/surgery
4. Spinal cord injury
5. Arthritis (unspecified)


Average hours worked per week

Median Salary
Early career $221,206 -All physicians$ 250,000

Time Requirement

Training consists of a minimum of four years of postgraduate education. Three of these four years must be in a physical medicine and rehabilitation training program. One of these four years of training must be in an ACGME-accredited transitional year program or include six months or more of ACGME-accredited training in family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, or surgery or any combination of these patient care experiences. The remaining months of this one year may include any combination of accredited specialties or subspecialties. There are 86 physical medicine and rehabilitation residency programs accredited by the ACGME for 2012/2013 offering 367 categorical/advanced positions available to U.S. seniors.

Residency Application and Match Info*

 Characteristics of Entering Residents

U.S. M.D. Graduates

All Other Applicants

First-year residents

All applicants

First-year residents

All applicants

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USMLE Step 1 score
Mean number of research experiences

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Percentage who are AOA members





Percent who graduated from one of the 40 U.S. medical schools with the highest federally funded research expenditures




AAMC - Careers in Medicine

General Information: http://www.aamc.org/students/cim/
(Log in for more helpful data to include: Personal Characteristics / Match data / Residency Requirements / Workforce Statistics / Compensation)

Source: AACM, Careers in Medicine