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PM&R News


Follow-Up to: CU researchers take aim at PTSD, burnout in the ICU

9 June 2016

Since the article first appeared in UCHealth in mid-May, Matthew Kaskavitch, Social Media Manager, reports, "The post wen’t “viral” to an extent reaching nearly 100,000 people and resulting in over 2,500 people sharing the article on Facebook. This also resulted in 1,000’s of page views on the story that UCHealth wrote about Dr. Mealer. It is the most shared piece of content the CU Anschutz Medical Campus Facebook page has ever had by far."

This also caught the attention of Denver's CBS affiliate Channel 4. They aired a story titled "CU Researchers Helping ICU Nurses Manage Burnout & PTSD" last night.

See the story and video.

Scott Laker Edits Special Issue Concussion in Sports Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America

8 June 2016

Shout out to CU PM&R's Scott Laker who was editor of special issue on sports concussion that appeared recently in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America.

See and read more.


Dr William Niehaus Featured in Unique UCH Story

8 June 2016

If you have ever seen the movie The Diving Bell and the Butterfly then you can get a sense of CU PM&R Instructor Dr. William Niehaus' role in this UCHealth Today story by Tyler Smith. This story is on a patient who was "locked in" after suffering a stroke similar to the character in the movie. Dr. Niehaus explained to the patients family, as quoted in the article "There were assistive technologies and equipment to help him communicate, move, and perform daily activities, even if he never was able to do more than move his eyes."

The parallels to the movie are strong. The story goes on to report “To help (the patient) express his thoughts, Niehaus and speech therapists brought in a clear plastic sheet with letters and simple words. (The patient) fixed his eyes on a letter, while a partner holding the sheet moved their eyes until they locked with (his). In this way, he slowly and silently formed words and sentences.”

Read the full UCHealth article "Spirit, attitude help stroke patient battle back from the brink at UCH".

CU PM&R’s Patricia Heyn Elected Fellow of Gerontological Society of America

23 May 2016

Patricia Heyn, PhD, associate professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, has been elected a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). GSA is the world’s oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education and practice in the field of aging. Heyn was recognized through the society’s Behavioral and Social Sciences Section for her outstanding and continuing work in the field of gerontology.

From the GSA web page, "The status of fellow — the highest class of membership within the Society — is an acknowledgment of outstanding and continuing work in gerontology. This recognition can come at varying points in an individual’s career and can acknowledge a broad scope of activity. This includes research, teaching, administration, public service, practice, and notable participation within the organization. Fellows are chosen from each of GSA’s four membership sections. The new fellows will be formally recognized during GSA’s 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting, which will be held from November 16 to 20 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jim Carollo: A Story of Cerebral Palsy and Dancing

18 May 2016

An online article entitled "Cerebral palsy doesn't stop her from dancing" by Steven Barcus highlights work by CU PM&R faculty James Carollo, Patricia Heyn, and Amy Bodkin. The article follows the dance career of Sarah Cauley.

Barcus writes, "Jim Carollo, director of the Center for Gait and Movement Analysis (CGMA) at Children’s Hospital Colorado, and associate professor in the Departments of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R), Orthopedics, and Bioengineering, also thinks much can be learned from Sarah’s active lifestyle. That is why he invited her to participate in the Cerebral Palsy Adult Transition (CPAT) study."

Read the full story

CU researchers take aim at PTSD, burnout in the ICU

13 May 2016

Dr. Meredith Mealer and colleagues found ICU nurses have PTSD rates similar to those of veterans of the war in Iraq. In an article from UCHealth Today, Dr. Mealer discusses how she came to conduct reseach related to ICU nurses with Marc Moss, MD, the School of Medicine’s vice chair for Clinical Research and a professor of pulmonary sciences and critical care medicine.

The complete article is available here.



Dr. Lisa Brenner Teaching at US Military Matters - A Free Resource

30 April 2016

The American Association of Suicidology is offering FREE webinar trainings for service members and their families who have served or are currently serving in any of the National Guard or Reserve components of the Military. The training is also available for mental health providers who want to help. It’s science-based behavioral training created by people who truly understand.

Dr. Lisa Brenner will be offering a two day session in San Diego, 16-17 June, 2016 entitled "Advanced Skills in the Assessment and Management of Traumatic Brain Injury".

For more information on this seminar click this link.

CU PM&R Announces the Dennis J. Matthews, M.D. Excellence in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Fund

27 April 2016

This fund, established in the 19th year of Dr. Matthews’ leadership in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, will provide support of PM&R Scholarship through visiting professor lectures, workshops, and national presentations. This year also inaugurates the Dennis J. Matthews, M.D. Lectureship featuring Visiting Professor Michael Boninger, M.D., Professor and Endowed Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Director, UPMC Rehabilitation Institute.

Dennis J. Matthews, M.D., a living legend of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, attended medical school at the University of Colorado and went on to train in Pediatrics and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Minnesota with Dr. Frederic Kottke, one of the founding fathers of the field. In 1997, Dr. Matthews was recruited back to Denver by Dr. Jerome Gersten to be the 4th Chair of the Department.

Dr. Matthews’ work with pediatric muscle disease, cerebral palsy, and rehabilitation is internationally known and has identified him as a pioneer in his field. Dr. Matthews’ remarkable work with pediatric rehabilitation and practice development has laid the foundation for pediatric subspecialties and the advancement of major medical associations in the field of rehabilitation.

Dr. Matthews is Department Chair and Professor of the University of Colorado School of Medicine Department of Physical Medicine as well as PPAARDI-in-Chief and Fischahs Chair Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, Children’s Hospital Colorado.

For information on how to donate to the Dennis J. Matthews Fund, please go to:

You may also contact the CU Foundation Office at 303-813-7935.

PM&R's Nazanin Barhraini Receives Top Honors at the VA Brain Trust: Pathways to InnoVAtion conference

25 April 2016

Congratulations to Nazanin Bahraini, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and physical medicine and rehabilitation, who was part of a team of researchers who shared top honors at the Brain Trust: Pathways to InnoVAtion conference sponsored by the VA Center for Innovation and MyVA Partnerships. The goal of the national summit was to explore innovative ways to assist veterans living with mild traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. Nazanin’s team pitched a voice-based assistant designed to help veterans connect to the services they need.

Read more

Two PM&R Faculty Named to Academy of Medical Educators

20 April 2016

Drs. Heather Baer, MD and Paul Mintken, PT, DPT were named to the prestiguous Academy of Medical Educators Dr. Baer will also be in the Teaching Scholars Program.

The Academy of Medical Educators provides a home base for teachers and a visible mechanism to support and enhance all educational programs and teachers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The primary goal of the Academy is to create an environment that promotes and rewards teaching excellence and enhances the education of our students, residents, fellows, faculty and community.

Iñigo San Millán Publishes in Two Popular Magazines

18 April 2016

Recently, Iñigo San Millán, PhD, Director, Excercise Physiology Lab at CU Sports Medicine and PM&R Assistant Professor, published articles in two popular articles. The first is in Men's Jopurnal is titled "How to Build a Better Knee" and finds Dr. San Millán discussing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and over-training. The online version of the article can be found here.

The second article is in Bicycling magazine and titled "Ride Your Gut Off with These 3 Training Tips: Here’s how to use your bike to shed that dangerous spare tire". In the article Dr. San Millán cautions against over-training. He is quoted in part as saying “Most recreational cyclists are doing too much high intensity training and they’re not getting leaner or faster”. Read more of the online article.


CU PM&R Faculty, Dr. Meredith Mealer, Publishes in Journal of Nursing Measurement

12 April 2016

CU PM&R faculty Meredith Mealer, PhD, RN, along with co-authors Sarah J. Schmiege, PhD and Paula Meek, PhD, RN saw their article The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale in Critical Care Nurses: A Psychometric Analysis published in the Journal of Nursing Measurement. The article explores resiliency "as a capacity to cope with traumatic or stressful events by finding meaning in adversity or suffering."

To read the abstract.


CU Connections Profile on Richard Weir

17 March 2016

CU Connections ask 5 questions of Dr. Richard Weir. He is director of the Veterans Administration Biomechatronics Development Laboratory, is a research healthcare scientist with the VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System, an associate research professor with the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Anschutz, and an adjunct professor with the Department of Integrative Physiology at CU-Boulder.

Read more


Scott Laker, M.D., the PM&R Research Pilot Award Recipient for Spring/Summer 2016 Cycle

7 March 2016

Dr. Dennis Matthews writes, "Please join me in congratulating Scott Laker, M.D., the PM&R Research Pilot Award recipient for this cycle. Dr. Laker’s proposal entitled “Factors Influencing Parental Return-to-Play Decisions in Post Adolescent Sport-Related Concussions: A Mixed-Methods Exploratory Study” was selected for the Spring/Summer 2016 Cycle."

The objective of this opportunity is to enhance the value and effectiveness of pilot research conducted within the Department to accomplish three objectives:

  • Improve the health outcomes of the rehab population
  • Enhance the patient experience of care (including quality, access and reliability)
  • Provide departmental researchers the opportunity to collect quality data to leverage future funding

Video: Aspen Ideas Festival | CU Anschutz Medical Campus

13 July 2015

Here at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, ideas flow freely between curious minds, skilled practitioners, collaborative data geeks and groundbreaking researchers. The result? Future-changing advances in personalized medicine, chronic disease and patient-centered care. Welcome to the New West. Here, the good guys wear the masks. Watch the video on YouTube.



Coming Up

APA Conference in Denver - Learn More
AAPM&R in New Orleans: “Moving Physiatry Forward” in the “Big Easy” - Learn More
Association of Academic Physiatrists (AAP) 50th Annual Conference, San Juan, Puerto Rico - Learn More


Contact Info

Phone: 303-724-1264
Fax: 303-724-0863

Physical Address:
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
12631 East 17th Avenue, Academic Office 1, Room 2513
Aurora, Colorado 80045
  (Please use the physical address for all mailings from carriers other than the United States Postal Service)

Mailing Address:
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Mail Stop F-493
12631 East 17th Avenue, Academic Office 1, Room 2513
Aurora, Colorado 80045

Map to Our Location
UC Denver PMR Admin Offices


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The Spine Center at University of Colorado Hospital

The Spine Center at the University of Colorado Hospital specializes in treating people with lower back and neck pain using proven therapies and cutting-edge technology.

Patient's services include physical therapy, medication, spinal injections or surgery, or any combination of these treatments. A collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach among orthopaedic surgeons, physiatrists, physical/occupational therapists, psychologists, integrative medicine, and anesthesiologists fits within the model first espoused by Dr. Gersten.

As the sole academic medical center in the region, the Spine Center is the only provider in the Front Range to take such a comprehensive approach to spine and neck care. In fact, because of our high levels of experience, we are regularly asked to evaluate cases as a second opinion.

Learn More about The Spine Center > >

Physical Therapy Program at the University of Colorado (CU) School of Medicine

The mission of the Physical Therapy Program is To provide Colorado and the nation with programs of excellence in education, clinical care, research & scholarship, and community service.

Learn More about the CU Physical Therapy Program > >

CU Sports Medicine

Competitive and recreational athletes of all types and ages receive comprehensive care for sports and related injuries at CU Sports Medicine. Covering the full range of sports injuries throughout the Front Range, we encompass care for hip & knee, hand, foot & ankle, elbow & shoulder, and spine.

At CU Sports Medicine, patients can have​ diagnostic tests and a physician's evaluation on the same day in the same location. Our multidisciplinary team has two goals: a timely and accurate diagnosis, and the fastest recovery possible.

Learn More about CU Sports Medicine > >

History of the CU Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department (PM&R)

Founded in 1946, The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is one of the oldest departments of PM&R in the United States. The first chairman was Dr. Harold Dinken, who was also the first physiatrist in Colorado. He quickly expanded the department and accepted Dr. George Twombly as the first resident in PM&R in 1947. That same year, Dr. Carl Hoffman was recruited as the first Director of PM&R at the Denver VA Hospital. Dr Dinken went on to establish the Rehabilitation program at General Rose Hospital.

Having joined the faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1949, Dr. Jerome W. Gersten became Chairman in 1957. Under Dr. Gersten's leadership, the Department expanded tremendously in clinical service, education and research. Dr. Gersten was one of the first, true "academic physiatrists".

He conducted basic science research on the use and effects of physical agents; muscle and nerve function; effects of stress on muscle function; cardiopulmonary rehabilitation; electromyography; and the delivery of rehabilitation health services. The Department was a nationally recognized Research and Training Center in cardiac rehabilitation. Dr. Gersten was a visionary expanding the concept of the Rehabilitation Team.

Today, the CU Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has three primary focuses: Education, Research and Clinical Care.