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PM&R News


Video: PM&R Grand Rounds: The Essential Role of Psychology in the Treatment of Chronic Pain by Emily McCann, PhD

2 March 2017

The Dept of PM&R Grand Rounds The Essential Role of Psychology in the Treatment of Chronic Pain by Emily McCann, PhD, is now available.

View this PM&R Grand Rounds




2017 CU PM&R Pilot Awardees Named!

1 March 2017

Thank you to all who responded to the spring 2017 Research Core Pilot Award Request for Applications! This year we were focused on projects that not only target health outcomes improvement, but also those aimed at enhancing patient care for our patient population. We received several impressive proposals, and after committee review, the Research Core would like to announce that Dr. Meredith Mealer and Dr. Dawn Magnusson have been selected as the spring 2017 award recipients. Congratulations Drs. Mealer and Magnusson!

Learn about these two projects on CU PM&R Research page under Pilot Awards (where you will also find previous winners and information about the application process).

Dr. Lisa Brenner Featured on CU Anshutz Today

17 February 2017

CU Anschutz Today published an article titled "Breaking down barriers that hold rehabilitating patients back" that features the work of Dr. Lisa Brenner and the role that psychologist play in rehabilitation. The article discusses the holistic team approach to rehabilitation and how psychologist play a significant role alongside their OT and PT colleagues. Dr Brenner says, “For many people, the big adjustment is after they go home, and that’s when the psychological impact for them and their families really begins to unfold.”

Dr. Brenner is pictured here with 2016 Miss Wheelchair USA, Dr. Alette Coble-Temple. Dr. Coble-Temple is a professor of clinical psychology at John F. Kennedy University. She is a member of the American Psychological Association Committee on Women in Psychology, and the Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology.

The CU Anschutz today article can be found here


Dr. Pam Wilson Aims for PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games

16 February 2017

KOAA News 5 interviewed Dr. Pam Wilson about her ambition to be representing TEAM USA at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in the sport of curling. For the uninitiated, curling is played on a ice rink and requires an enormous amount of skill and dexterity. She says, “I got online and looked around said, ’This wheelchair curling sounds kind of interesting. I think I’ll give it a try.’” And the rest is history.

Watch the video here


Dr. Joyce Oleszek on Dr. Oz!

14 February 2017

Dr. Joyce Oleszek appeared on the Dr. Oz show on 10 February 2017! The segment was about medical phenomenons - stories that are beyond scientific explanation. Dr. Oleszek talks about her experience with miraculous recoveries, and then Dr. Oz interviews her about a particular patient, Gore. Six years ago at 22 months of age, Gore wandered away from his family and was found under water in an irrigation ditch. He was pulseless, apneic and with fixed and dilated pupils. He was resuscitated and flown to Childrens Hospital Colorado, but it was estimated he was without a pulse for up to 50 minutes. He was given less than a one-percent chance of ever resuming normal brain function. After a miraculous recovery, he is now a normal 8 y/o little boy!

Count 'Em: Dr. Patricia Heyn Scores a Brace in the Archives of PM&R

13 February 2017

Dr. Patricia Heyn has two articles in the Archives of Physical Medicone and Rehabilitation this month. The first is entitled "Early Identification of Cardiovascular Diseases in People With Spinal Cord Injury: Key Information for Primary Care Providers" (DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2016.10.001). The article presents a page devoted to steps medical providers should take to detect Cardiovascular Disease for persons living with spinal cord injury (SCI). Individuals with SCI are at higher risk for Cardiovascular Disease so early detection is extremely important.

The second article shifts the focus from medical profeessional to care for the caregivers. The article, "Coping With Caregiver Burnout When Caring for a Person With Neurodegenerative Disease: A Guide for Caregivers" (DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2016.11.002), acknowledges the essential role that caregivers play in the lives of individuals with Neurodegenerative Disease. Caregivers can easily become over-burdened affecting their health and well-being and their ability to care. This article, written with the caregiver in mind, provides methods to recognize caregiver burnout and a guide for prevention.


Video: PM&R Grand Rounds Interaction Between Segments Role of the Hip in Lumbar Pain and its Implication for Exercise Therapy with Heidi Prather, DO

6 February 2017

The Dept of PM&R Grand Rounds Interaction Between Segments Role of the Hip in Lumbar Pain and its Implication for Exercise Therapy with Heidi Prather, DO is now available.

View this PM&R Grand Rounds




Drs. Iñigo San Millán and John Hill Create Technology that Helps Athletes Achieve Peak Performance

9 January 2017

From the Boulder Camera "The tool — a high-frequency ultrasound machine that measures glycogen levels in an athlete’s muscles — was developed by Iñigo San Millán, director of the sports performance department and physiology lab in the CU Sports Medicine and Performance Center on the Boulder campus, and John Hill, a professor of family and sports medicine at CU’s School of Medicine."

Read the full article



Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Awards Grant to New PM&R Faculty Member

6 January 2017

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), an independent nonprofit, nongovernmental organization awarded a grant to Nathaniel (Nate) Mohatt, Research Psychologist, Rocky Mountain MIRECC; Assistant Professor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Colorado Denver, for his study Coalition for Recovery and Innovation in Traumatic Brain Injury Care Across the Lifespan (CRITICAL).

Learn more about Nate and this research.



Video: PM&R Grand Rounds Paralympic Sport and Classification with Kyle Nagle, MD MPH

23 December 2016

The Dept of PM&R Grand Rounds - Paralympic Sport and Classification with Kyle Nagle, MD MPH is now available.

View this PM&R Grand Rounds




Dr. Iñigo San Millán Publishes Important Article that Explains the Warburg Effect in Cancer Growth

21 December 2016

Iñigo San Millán, PhD, Director, Sports Performance Department and Physiology Laboratory and Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation had his article "Reexamining cancer metabolism: Lactate production for carcinogenesis could be the purpose and explanation of the Warburg effect" published online in Carcinogenesis, a top 15 percentile cancer peer reviewed journal.

Dr. San Milan writes, "As a background, 93 years ago, Novel Laureate Otto Warburg discovered the very first event happening in cancer; what happens to the first cell transforming into cancer. A cellular and metabolic dysregulation that was named the Warburg Effect. However, because of the lack of technology and advancement of science a century ago, he wasn’t able to explain in more detail the role and purpose of that cellular dysregulation in cancer growth and carcinogenesis. Furthermore, upon the arrival of genetics, cancer metabolism was sidelined for decades. Unfortunately, this has been a big barrier in the battle against cancer, as cancer hasn’t been understood from the very first step, which poses a burden for the development of new diagnosis and therapeutics. (Dr. George) Brooks and I believe that for the 1st time in 93 years, we explain the Warburg effect and its purpose in cancer growth and carcinogenesis which could lead to new diagnostic tests and therapeutics."

The article is open source and can be downloaded at doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgw127

Dr. William Niehaus: People's Choice Award First Runner Up at Inworks Expo!

19 December 2016

Inworks is a new initiative of the University of Colorado Denver │ Anschutz Medical Campus that draws together faculty, staff and students from across the two campuses, as well as entrepreneurs and leaders from industry, government, education and the community, to address problems of importance to human society. Our mission is to impart skills and habits of mind that allow people to collaboratively create impactful solutions to human problems. Inworks seeks to create innovative solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems, while in the process creating life-long innovators.

Dr. Niehaus on his winning entry, "Over the last several months I have worked with the Inworks team developing a different take on wheel chair design. My design is focused around a low cost modular option for wheel chair customization. Through working with Inworks I have been able to take my initial concept drawings and turn them into a computerized 3D model and then into physical parts that were printed on a 3D Printer. The expo had multiple projects that were both student developed and community developed. At the expo people voted on the most interesting and impactful ideas."

CU Connections: Five Questions for Patricia Heyn

2 December 2016

It is great fun when one of our PM&R faculty members is highlighted in CU Connections answering 5 questions. This year we have had 5 questions asked of Iñigo San Millán and now Dr Patricia Heyn is in the spotlight.

What is interesting about this article, other than learning about Dr. Heyn's early career development and the work she is doing, is the way the article came about. After Dr. Heyn published two articles earlier this year she let us know about them for publication here. We then reached out to CU Connections to see if they would be interested in writing more about her work. We will also reach out to to make sure they are aware as a way to boost the attention scores for these articles. And we will tweet and post messages on Facebook.

All this is to say, we can help get the word out about the work you are doing if you will let us know what you are doing. This is part of breaking down silos within the department and increasing the collaboration with your peers.

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

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.

Video: Aspen Ideas Festival | CU Anschutz Medical Campus

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

Dept of PMR Resident Seminar - presented by Taron Davis, MD; 6-7PM, AO1-7000
Dennis J. Matthews Lectureship with Dr. Robert DeLisa (more details to follow)
Resident EDx SAE; 12:30PM
30th Annual Gersten Day - Rahabilitation Scientific Symposium, Anschutz Medical Campus
Physical Therapy Program 70th Anniversary Celebration, Denver Art Museum, 100 W 14th Avenue, Denver, CO 80204
American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation’s Annual AssemblyDenver, CO - 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.