$1.5 million donation to fund Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine?s first research chair

15 June 2010

It's not every day that someone creates a research chair in their physical therapist's name, but Cathy Roozen did just that. She donated $1.5 million to establish the Dr. David Magee Endowed Chair in Musculoskeletal Research, the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine's first endowed research chair at the University of Alberta.

"It's just a real honour to play a role in making this happen," says Roozen, who has been a patient of Magee's for the past 10 years. "I have certainly benefited from his expertise. He's been an enormous asset over the years to the city and a credit to his university."

Magee is an internationally recognized physical therapist, author, associate dean and professor at the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine who can now add to his list of accomplishments having an endowed research chair named in his honour.

"This endowed chair will improve and maximize the physical therapy care of patients to return them to a functional lifestyle. It's for clinical research, to impact patients directly," says Magee.

The chair will be aimed at finding improved methods of clinical assessment for arthritis, injury prevention, and treatments for sports injuries and low-back pain.

Dean Martin Ferguson-Pell says the faculty expects to announce the successful candidate for the chair position by the end of the year.

"The Dr. David Magee Endowed Chair in Musculoskeletal Research will enable us to attract a leading researcher-clinician to build on the very strong musculoskeletal research and clinical expertise that resides within our faculty," says Ferguson-Pell.

Magee's book, Orthopedic Physical Assessment, is considered to be the bible for many physical medicine and therapy professionals. Magee is a sought-after teacher and communicator and is frequently invited to speak by top universities around the world. He can also be credited for getting countless professional and Olympic athletes back in the game including Wayne Gretzky, Jennifer Heil, Jamie Sale and Kevin Lowe.

"He's basically the Wayne Gretzky of rehabilitation medicine," says Kevin Lowe, former NHL player and long-time patient. "I can't tell you how many times I wouldn't have been able to play unless he was there."

It's clear to see that Magee's passionate about what he does. He gets an early start to the day as he treats the Edmonton Oilers in Corbett Hall at the U of A at 6 a.m., or sometimes even 5:30 a.m. He also has a student clinic that's available to the public free of charge.

"I enjoy what I do and I've been doing it for 40 years," says Magee.

About the University of Alberta Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine

As the only free standing faculty of rehabilitation in Canada, the University of Alberta Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine balances its activities among learning, discovery and citizenship (including clinical practice). A research leader in musculoskeletal health, spinal cord injuries and common spinal disorders (back pain), the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine aims to improve the quality of life of citizens in our community. The three departments, Occupational Therapy (OT), Physical Therapy (PT) and Speech Pathology and Audiology (SPA) offer professional entry programs. The Faculty offers thesis-based MSc and PhD programs in Rehabilitation Science, attracting students from a variety of disciplines including OT, PT, SLP, psychology, physical education, medicine and engineering.

Photo by Jimmy Jeong