Section of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Alex McEwan, who suffered a spinal cord injury in high school, gets a standing ovation from his teachers and peers as he walks across the stage with the exoskeleton at the Jubilee Auditorium to receive his diploma in June 2018.

Dr. Christine McGovern

Section Head: Dr. Christine McGovern

THE SECTION OF PM&R HAS 34 MEMBERS, working in diverse settings from tertiary acute care hospitals to community practice. Our practice focuses on the diagnosis, management and rehabilitation of patients with neurological conditions (e.g. brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke) and those with musculoskeletal problems (e.g. back pain, burn injuries, amputation).

We serve the needs of both children and adults in southern Alberta, eastern British Columbia and western Saskatchewan. 

Highlights

We had many new members join the section, allowing us to provide more care to patients in hospital as well as within the community.

We started provincewide Physiatry Rounds, with monthly presentations originating from Calgary and Edmonton and shared by telehealth at both sites, as a provincial collaboration between the Universities of Calgary and Alberta.

We ran a series of multidisciplinary simulation training scenarios on our inpatient tertiary neurorehabilitation unit as a mechanism of increasing confidence and competence in clinical scenarios that can arise. This was a very successful pilot that was organized with the assistance of the simulation unit at the University of Calgary. It involved physicians, residents, nurses, Allied Health, and administrative staff. It arose out of some potential scenarios raised at our Quality of Care Committee, and was so successful that more simulation training events are being planned to address further scenarios.

We co-hosted the Canadian Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation annual conference in Whitehorse along with the University of British Columbia and the University of Alberta.

Recruitments and Leadership

Dr. Elizabeth Condliffe joined the section as a clinical researcher. She works at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and her research is predominantly focused on individuals with cerebral palsy.

Dr. George Francis joined the section. He has fellowship training in cancer rehabilitation and is working in conjunction with the Tom Baker Cancer Centre to provide service and build programming in this area.

Dr. Rebecca Charbonneau joined the section and is working in the spinal cord injury rehabilitation program.

Dr. Paul Reglin started practice in the community following his residency completion, predominantly focusing on providing musculoskeletal care.

Dr. Dave Nabeta started practice in the community following his residency completion, predominantly focusing on providing musculoskeletal care.

Dr. Chris Grant was voted president of the Alberta Physiatrists’ Association. He is also co-chair of the Neurosciences Area Council for the Connect Care project that is being developed within Alberta Health Services.

Dr. Maryana Apel retired from clinical practice.

Education

  • Postgraduate medical education training – there are 10 residents in the PM&R program. We filled two first-year positions from the CaRMS match.
  • Both graduating residents (Drs. David Langelier and Andrew Malawski) passed the Royal College exams, maintaining the 100 per cent pass rate for the PM&R residency program.

Research

  • Our research program has become more robust and we now have multiple post doc students, graduate students, residents and undergraduate students working directly under our physiatrists. Research related to rehabilitation of individuals with stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury, and cerebral palsy is ongoing. We were approved to have a spasticity fellowship take place in Calgary in the coming year.

Research in areas related to stroke, acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury and burn care continued.

Clinical Care

Simulation scenarios were developed and piloted on our inpatient neurorehabilitation unit to enhance safety of care on the unit, with further scenarios being developed to improve quality of care.