About Us

Message from Division Director

The Division of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation is a division in the Department of Medicine within the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta. There are over 30 Division members (academic and clinical), including PhD research members. The division offices are at both the main campus and at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital (GRH) in Edmonton.

The GRH is one of the largest free standing tertiary rehabilitation centers in North America with approximately 220 inpatient beds, numerous outpatient programs and state of the art facilities. GRH receives patients from Northern Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and parts of Saskatchewan and British Columbia. Clinical services cover all age groups from infants through to geriatric and cross a wide variety of diagnostic groups. Our division enjoys a strong and fruitful reciprocal relationship with the GRH and Alberta Health Services, which is our provincial health service delivery organization.

Our division has a strong commitment to rehabilitation research and teaching. Our physiatrists are heavily involved in many aspects of undergraduate, postgraduate and interdisciplinary teaching. We have a strong residency training program which has a 100% pass rate in the Royal College examinations. We also have strong academic links with other university faculties and departments such as the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, the divisions of Neurology, Orthopedics and Anatomy, and the Neuroscience & Mental Health Institute. These cover the spectrum of rehabilitation from basic science through to different clinical and epidemiological areas.

There are excellent opportunities to learn and experience community based practice through some of our community Division members, who have busy physiatry clinics outside the hospital and in smaller communities. We are well known as a clinical teaching unit and our faculty have won many teaching excellence awards at local and national levels.

As an academic division, our broad goal is to improve medical treatments and therapies available to people with disabilities in order to improve both function and quality of life. One of the key features of the specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation medicine is a team-based approach to disability care and treatment as well as a broad-spectrum approach across the life-span from pediatrics to geriatrics, addressing almost all types and etiologies of disability and the functional consequences thereof.

Recent discoveries in the fields of neuroprostheses, targeted peripheral nerve re-innervation, robotics, interventional pain management, artificial intelligence, and a growing appreciation of the neuroplasticity inherent in the injured nervous system, have placed our division of rehabilitation medicine on the brink of significant discoveries. Working with our academic, clinical, and health service partners, it is our intention as an academic and clinical unit to be a leader in these areas.

The importance of rehabilitation medicine to Canadians cannot really be overstated. To paraphrase Dr. David Naylor from the University of Toronto, we must not forget that once the acute crisis phase of injury or disease treatment is over, “much of modern health care is indeed rehabilitation in one form or another.

Dr. Chester Ho
Director, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation