The specialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R)

    The pioneer of PM&R is Frank Krusen, M.D. who recognized the need to assist patients with impairment and disability through physical medicine, meaning prescribed treatment for pain, range of motion, flexibility and strengthening. Treatment emphasized the use of modalities such as ice and heat as well as physical therapy for functional restoration to improve quality of life and prevent additional disability.

    Dr. Krusen contracted tuberculosis. Physical medicine treatments were provided which assisted in managing his condition. Subsequently, this became an area of interest and research. The uses of physical medicine became his career.  Dr. Krusen began the Department of Physical Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in 1936. This ultimately lead to the first three-year residency in physical medicine in the United States.

    Correspondence and several meetings with the American Medical Association eventually lead to genesis of the American Board of Physical Medicine in 1946. Survivors from the polio epidemic and World War II required physical medicine treatment which helped the specialty gain momentum and acceptance within the medical community.
In 1947, the American Board of Physical Medicine was recognized as part of the American Board of Medical Specialties. Board certification began that year with 80 physicians sitting for the exam. Today, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is recognized internationally and has grown to 11,000.

For more Historical information, please reference aapmr.org.

Frank H. Krusen, MD

1898 - 1973

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