February 21, 2017

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation search committee announced

By Nancy Humphrey

Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and dean of the School of Medicine, has appointed a 14-member committee to conduct a national search for the new chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

The committee will be chaired by Paul Sternberg, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for the Vanderbilt Medical Group and VUMC’s Chief Patient Experience Officer. 

The new chair will succeed Walter Frontera, M.D., Ph.D., who will step down from his role as the department’s leader on Feb. 28. Frontera, who was recruited to VUMC in 2012 to be the department’s inaugural chair, is departing to spend more time with family in Puerto Rico.

Jeffery Johns, M.D., associate professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and medical director for Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital (VSRH), will serve as the department’s interim chair while the committee searches for Frontera’s successor.

“We are grateful for Dr. Frontera’s efforts. In a very short time Walter established a new department and built a very strong foundation for PM&R here at Vanderbilt,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of VUMC and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “I want to express my appreciation to Walter for his accomplishments, and to the members of the search committee who have the important task of identifying the right leader for the department’s next phase.”      

The Department of PM&R currently includes 41 faculty and 200 staff. Newly created patient services offered through the department include an outpatient clinic located within VSRH, along with PM&R’s presence in five other outpatient clinics at off-site locations throughout VUMC’s health system. In addition, the department now provides consultation services for some of Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital’s (VUAH) acute care units.

Integrated into the Department of PM&R are three of the Medical Center’s clinical services that existed before the department’s founding: Inpatient Rehabilitation Services at VUAH, the Dayani Center for Health and Wellness and the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.

Members of the search committee are:

  • Dan Beauchamp, M.D., John Clinton Foshee Distinguished Chair in Surgery and chair of the Section of Surgical Sciences
  • Armando Colombo, chief executive officer for Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Marilyn Dubree, MSN, RN, Executive Chief Nursing Officer
  • Michael Goldfarb, Ph.D., H. Fort Flowers Chair in Mechanical Engineering
  • Stephan Heckers, M.D., William P. and Henry B. Test Professor of Schizophrenia Research and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
  • Howard Kirshner, M.D., professor of Neurology
  • Linda Norman, DSN, Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing and Dean of the School of Nursing
  • Reed Omary, M.D., Carol D. and Henry P. Pendergrass Chair in Radiology and Radiological Sciences and chair of the Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences
  • Meg Rush, M.D., professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Chief of Staff, Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
  • Warren Sandberg, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Anesthesiology and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology
  • Herb Schwartz, M.D., professor and chair of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation
  • Reid Thompson, M.D., William F. Meacham Professor of Neurological Surgery and chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery
  • David Vago, Ph.D., associate professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation