Newswise — A research and clinical leader in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R),Gerard Francisco, M.D., of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and TIRR Memorial Hermann has been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Medicine (NAM).

Francisco was one of 80 professionals elected to the academy for outstanding professional achievement. He is now one of only 17 PM&R specialists in the world elected to the 2,127-member academy, the academy reports. Francisco is a tenured professor and chair of PM&R at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, and the chief medical officer of TIRR Memorial Hermann.

“The entire UTHealth community is proud to congratulate Dr. Francisco on this well-deserved honor,” said UTHealth President Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, M.D. “He joins a small and elite group of physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists to become members of National Academy of Medicine, which speaks to his impressive, important contributions to the field.”

Francisco specializes in brain injury and stroke rehabilitation, and currently chairs the brain injury medicine examination committee of the American Board of PM&R.

A National Institutes of Health RO1 grant recipient, Francisco is the founding director of the NeuroRecovery Research Center at TIRR, where he and his team study the role of neuromodulation, human-machine interfaces, robots and exoskeletons in facilitating neurologic and physical recovery.

“Part of what makes TIRR Memorial Hermann a national leader in rehabilitation is our team of physicians led by Dr. Francisco,” said Carl Josehart, senior vice president and CEO of TIRR Memorial Hermann. “Through our partnership with UTHealth, Dr. Francisco and his team are helping us to redefine rehabilitation through cutting-edge research and innovation. His election to this prestigious organization is most deserved and a validation of his significant contributions to the field of rehabilitation though research, clinical care and academic scholarship.”

“These newly elected members represent the most exceptional scholars and leaders in science, medicine and health in the U.S. and around the globe,” said National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau. “Their expertise will help our organization address today’s most pressing health challenges and inform the future of health and health care to benefit us all. I am honored to welcome these distinguished individuals to the National Academy of Medicine.”

Francisco received his medical degree from the University of the Philippines and completed his residency in PM&R at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Medical School, where he was chief resident...

Before joining the Brain Injury Program at TIRR Memorial Hermann in 1997, he served as director of the Brain Injury Program at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation.

Francisco was elected to the The University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education in 2013, and was selected to McGovern Medical School Academy of Master Educators in 2012. He was named a Distinguished Member by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2015 and received the Sidney Licht Award from the International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine in 2016.

Established originally as the Institute of Medicine in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine and related policy and inspires positive actions across sectors. Membership in the National Academy of Medicine is based upon distinguished professional achievement in a field related to medicine and health, as well as demonstrated and continued involvement with the issues of health care, prevention of disease, education or research. The NAM elects no more than 70 regular members and 10 international members annually. For those at the top of their field, NAM membership reflects the height of professional achievement and commitment to service.

Rob Cahill