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Alberto Esquenazi, MD honored by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Nov 20 2019

Alberto Esquenazi, MD, The John Otto Haas Chair of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Chief Medical Officer at MossRehab has been honored by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) with the 2019 Frank H. Krusen, MD, Lifetime Achievement Award for his three decades of extraordinary contributions in the field. His research, funded through federal government grants and industry support focuses on gait analysis, limb prosthetics, spasticity management, and orthotics and technology in rehabilitation.

"It is an honor and privilege to be recognized by my peers with the highest honor from AAPMR, the Krusen Lifetime Achievement Award," said Dr. Esquenazi. "Coincidentally, Dr. Krusen started, in Philadelphia, the first rehabilitation program in the country and it evolved into what we know as MossRehab today, which is one of the most comprehensive rehabilitation systems in the country. I am honored to have built a career of many firsts in the field over the more than 30 years of work at MossRehab. It is a career that requires a team that can always move in the same direction and with one aim: provide excellent rehabilitation care to improve patients lives."

Since joining MossRehab in 1986, Dr. Esquenazi has been a pioneer in pairing physical rehabilitation medicine and rehabilitation with cutting-edge technology.

As the director of the Sheer Gait & Motion Analysis Laboratory at MossRehab, (The only lab of its kind in the Philadelphia region, and one of only ten gait labs in the country to hold accreditation best patient care available from a facility engaged in the evaluation of individuals with gait and motion challenges) Dr. Esquenazi ushered in the use of several forms of technology including: slow-motion video, which provides frame-by-frame analysis of walking or performing other activities, computerized, three-dimensional, quantitative measurements of joint movement, and computer simulation assessments of walking.

In 2009, Dr. Esquenazi led the U.S. clinical trials of ReWalk, a motorized exoskeleton suit that enables patients with lower limb disabilities, including complete paralysis, to independently stand, walk, and—in some cases—climb stairs. In 2014, The FDA approved ReWalk for use outside of the hospital.

Ultimately, Dr. Esquenazi's unending drive to enhance the skill and compassion of therapists and clinicians with technology has brought over 19 robotic devices to MossRehab--more than any other rehab facility in the U.S-- that are utilized by patients everyday. (Often, Dr. Esquenazi uses the devices in ways the manufacturer never intended, resulting in new modifications and new therapy methods.)

"The entire MossRehab family is deeply honored by Dr. Esquenazi's recognition by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation," said MossRehab Chief Operating Officer Thomas Smith. "And, we are eager to continue to be a part of his groundbreaking work for many years to come."

Along with his work at MossRehab, Dr. Esquenazi is professor of PM&R at Temple University School of Medicine and professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Jefferson University School of Medicine, as well as associate professor of Biomedical Engineering at Drexel University.

An AAPM&R member for 35 years, Dr. Esquenazi is an AAPM&R past president (2012-2013); a member of the Board of Governors for 6 years (with 9 Academy committee appointments) and currently serves as chair of the Academy’s International PMR/PRM Task Force. Dr. Esquenazi is a member of several national and international professional, educational, and research societies, including the National Advisory Board on Medical Rehabilitation Research of the National Institute of Child and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health; the Veterans Administration Advisory Committee on Prosthetics and Special Disabilities Program; the American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association; and the American Orthotics and Prosthetics Association.

Dr. Esquenazi has published more than 85 scientific papers, 20 review articles, authored more than 55 book chapters, and has been recognized on the Top Doctor list in Philadelphia for 20 consecutive years as well as America’s Top Doctor for 17 years. He received his medical degree from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, completed his residency in PM&R at the Temple/MossRehab training program, and a fellowship in gait analysis and prosthetic research at MossRehab in Philadelphia.

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