Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), as a specialty concerned with human performance and function, has much to offer in the way of solutions to critical societal issues such as the aging of the population, the saving of individuals with formerly lethal conditions and injuries, and the increased societal recognition of the importance of quality of life rather than simply quantity of life. Moreover, advances in other scientific arenas offer new and exciting tools that may be applied to problems of human function. There is a dearth of physician scientists in the United States and financial pressures on academic medical centers further threaten the roles of physician scientists. PM&R faces additional challenges in that the specialty is relatively small, relatively new, lacks a strong history of research, and has not been well funded by federal biomedical research agencies. Moreover, because rehabilitation science concerns itself with analytic levels ranging from molecule to society, appropriate models for advanced research training surely differ from those that have been successful in more narrowly defined scientific disciplines. The Rehabilitation Medicine Scientist Training Program (RMSTP), conducted under the auspices of the Association of Academic Physiatrists, and directed by Drs. John Whyte and Michael Boninger, is based on a long-term vision of physiatric research, and the role of physiatric researchers. The RMSTP is divided into 3 phases. The pre-application phase seeks to enroll PGY-2 and PGY-3 residents, and junior faculty with research interest and potential, in a career development process, culminating in a well-formulated funding application. A special emphasis will be placed on recruitment of pediatric physiatrists and physiatrists from under-represented minorities. During Phase I, trainees will work for 3 years with a productive senior scientist to learn skills relevant to physiatric research. In Phase II, the trainee will seek to transition to a career as an independent investigator, with a minimum of 50% protected research time for a 2-year period, with a goal of 75% research time. The net result of the program will be a cadre of faculty for departments of PM&R who can compete successfully for extramural funds and be productive independent investigators, ultimately fulfilling a vision of physiatric research.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Physician Scientist Award (Program) (PSA) (K12)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-RRG-K (JW))
Program Officer
Nitkin, Ralph M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Pittsburgh
Physical Medicine & Rehab
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
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