Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Student Interest Group

photo of meeting

The goal of the PM&R SIG is to help students gain exposure to, knowledge about, grow their skills, and give support for applying into the exciting, rewarding, and growing field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

The PM&R SIG works closely with the SUNY Downstate HSU PM&R Residency Program and the Division of PM&R at SUNY Downstate HSU. Jointly we have opportunities for shadowing and research available to students; additionally, we facilitate physician and resident mentorship for all medical students curious about or interested in the field. Together we run workshops to help students gain exposure and grow their skills in the field. Additional meetings are held to help students prepare for clinical rotations, and the residency application process for PM&R.

At Downstate third year medical students can take a two-week elective in PM&R, while fourth year medical students can choose between a two- or four-week elective in PM&R. First and second year students can work with attendings in the Division of PM&R to set up clinical shadowing experiences.

Previous Workshops and Conferences


Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), also known as physiatry or rehabilitation medicine focuses on optimizing patients’ functional independence and improving patients’ quality of life. The field of PM&R has a focus on impairments or disabilities that effect the bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles, nerves, brain, and spinal cord. Physiatrists seek to address a person’s physical, emotional, medical, social, and vocational needs.
The physiatrist directs a comprehensive rehabilitation team of healthcare professionals that may include Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Recreational Therapists, Rehabilitation Nurses, Psychologists, Social Workers, Speech-language Pathologists, Case Managers, Neuropsychologists, Prosthetists, Orthotists, and others. Physiatrists practice in many settings, both inpatient and outpatient, such as rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and clinics. They often have a broad practice, but some physiatrists choose to concentrate on one specific area of the field. There are optional fellowships in: Pain Medicine, Sports Medicine, Spinal Cord Injury Medicine, Pediatric Rehabilitation, Spine, Electrodiagnostics, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Multiple Sclerosis. 

Inpatient rotation: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Pre-rounding followed by rounds with attending physician in the morning, then making medication changes and calling consults discussed on rounds. Followed by spending time in the gym observing and learning from patients and therapists. In the afternoon, sit down teaching sessions with the attending as well as working on new admissions coming in the afternoon. 

Outpatient rotation: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Seeing patients in a variety of specialty clinics such as general rehab, sports medicine, EMG, interventional pain, wheelchair, and prosthetics. Working on improving focused musculoskeletal exam skills. Residents have the ability to perform a variety of procedures such as botulinum toxin injections, interventional pain injections, nerve blocks, trigger point injections, ultrasound diagnosis and guided joint injections. 

Additional Resources for Medical Students Interested in PM&R 

SUNY Downstate PM&R Overview

AAPM&R Medical Student Resources

AAP Medical Student Resources

AAP PM&R Education Resources

The New York Society Of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (NYSPM&R)

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