What is the Philippine Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine?
Rehabilitation Medicine as a specialty began in 1936 at the Mayo Clinic, USA to treat impairments or disabilities arising from the musculokeletal and neurological diseases or problems. The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) was founded in 1938 and the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation was recognized in 1947. After World War II, as thousands of severely disabled veterans began to return home and looked for ways to lead productive lives, the specialty grew rapidly and focused its mission to enhance and restore functional ability and quality of life to those with physical impairments or disabilities. In the Philippines, the same scenario prevailed and was further compounded by the polio epidemic in the 1950's as well as the continuing disabling sequalae of other infectious diseases like tuberculosis and meningitis. These underscored the need for a specialty that should address the needs of the disabled patients. During the mid 50's , young Filipino doctors who became interested in Rehabilitation Medicine as a specialty left for the United States for further training. Most finished their residency training programs at the Rusk Institute in New York. However, only a few returned home to practice.
In 1960, a group of physiatrists and orthopedic surgeons interested in the field organized the Philippine Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation with Dr. Abelardo O. Inocentes as its first President. The society then had an active membership of less than twenty. In 1974, the organization's name was changed to the Philippine Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine with Dr. Tyrone M. Reyes as its first President. With the establishment of four training institutions, the academy now boasts of about 300 members --- mostly homegrown specialists in the field and representing 1 of every 250 of all practicing physicians in the Philippines. The academy serves its members and their patients, as well as the other health professionals and society in general by fostering excellence in Physiatric practice, education, research and community service.