Physical Rehabilitation Medicine Celebrates a Milestone

February 26, 2014

Helen Hayes Hospital recently participated in the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, (AAPM&R) annual Assembly at the Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

The AAPM&R invited rehabilitation hospitals and programs to design historical posters that would outline aspects of their own history. The Hospital proudly exhibited a poster entitled “Helen Hayes Hospital – A Singular Vision – A Multidisciplinary Approach to Care.” The poster highlighted the evolution and growth of the Hospital since its inception in 1900. Helen Hayes Hospital is the oldest and largest state operated physical rehabilitation facility in the country.

The poster outlined the Hospital’s initial focus on treatment of indigent children with orthopedic deformities (especially tuberculosis of joints); evolution to treatment of children with polio with an emphasis on teaching and research; and then to include adults after World War II. In the post war period, the Hospital redirected its focus on treating adults with catastrophic injuries and chronic disabling diseases. In the last thirty years, a new hospital was built around disability units and many specialty services were created and expanded.

There were approximately 40 other posters from rehabilitation institutes and departments of physical medicine and rehabilitation from all across the country. Some posters focused on a historical timeline, while others on aspects of history including treatment of polio, research highlights, role of women, and impact of leaders in the field.

The official program titled “Celebrate Movement/Celebrate Progress” included several plenary sessions also focused on historical perspectives. During the presidential and keynote speaker’s address on “Historical Effects of Healthcare Funding on PM&R: Going from Medicare to Obamacare and Projections on the future of the Specialty,” keynote speaker Bruce C. Vladeck, PhD., a nationally recognized expert on healthcare policy, healthcare financing and long-term care, gave the Hospital a shout-out!

It was my sincere pleaseure to represent the Hospital and join in celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Academy.

Mary Guarracini, MD
Director, Rehabilitation Medicine & Director SubAcute Rehabilitation Service