Gerard E. Francisco, M.D., chairman of physical medicine and rehabilitation at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School and chief medical officer at TIRR Memorial Hermann, will be recognized at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) Oct. 1 - 4 in Boston.
Francisco is scheduled to receive the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation's Distinguished Member Award. The honor was established in 1994 to recognize members who have provided invaluable service to the specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Each year, many people experience injuries that result in impairments and disabilities. Physical medicine and rehabilitation is a medical specialty of physicians who are nerve, muscle, bone, spine and brain experts. They treat injury or illness in patients to restore function to help them stay as active and productive as possible.
Francisco, who managed the rehabilitative care of wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is collaborating with researchers at Rice University and University of Houston to develop a brain-robot device designed to help stroke survivors who are no longer able to manipulate their arms and wrists.
At UTHealth and TIRR Memorial Hermann, Francisco and his colleagues are using a surgically implanted nerve stimulator to promote recovery of hand movement after a stroke. His other current research projects include brain stimulation to help people with stroke recover speech, and people with spinal cord injuries recover hand movement. His team will also study the physiologic effects of robots that can help persons with spinal cord injuries walk.
Francisco is also director of the UTHealth Motor Recovery Lab and the NeuroRecovery Research Center at TIRR Memorial Hermann. He received his medical degree from the University of the Philippines and completed his residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Medicine and Dentistry-New Jersey Medical School, where he served as chief resident.
AAPM&R is the national medical organization representing more than 9,000 physicians who are specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation.