Welcome to the next best thing in rehabilitation medicine. Virginia Commonwealth University Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is where it’s all happening, and you’re just a click or two away from whatever you need. Whether you’re a practicing physiatrist, a resident physician, a medical student, an educated consumer, or a Web surfer lost on an Internet wave, you’ll find things of interest on our site…so explore away.
David X. Cifu, M.D.
Mediterranean rehabilitationist extraordinaire
The roots of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at VCU are more than 100 years older than the field of PM&R itself. We go back to the 1870s, with a direct linkage to the pioneering Confederate army surgeon, Simon Baruch (an 1862 Medical College of Virginia graduate). During the Civil War, Dr. Baruch performed surgery here in the very same Egyptian Building from which I write this. VCU PM&R was organized in 1947 and then became a formal department in 1952 that established the first rehabilitation unit in Virginia at MCV Hospital — we settled into the very same Egyptian Building! To add to all of these coincidences, the Baruch family’s connections to PM&R goes even deeper. The department was initially funded, and the Egyptian Building was later renovated, using funds from the philanthropist Bernard M. Baruch, in honor of his father, Simon Baruch.
The department currently provides medical directorship to two adult inpatient rehabilitation units, one adult subacute rehabilitation unit and two pediatric rehabilitation units, outpatient care (including sports medicine and interventional spine care) at five locations, electrodiagnostic services at four outpatient locations, consultations at three Richmond hospitals, and four nursing homes. We are proud to provide PM&R leadership to the nation’s premier Veterans Affairs programs in polytrauma, TBI, SCI, amputation, assistive technology, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy care and interventional pain/spine care at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center. We consistently train some of the strongest residents and fellows in the nation and have alumni throughout the academic and private sector. All these strengths combined have earned us the distinction of being a U.S. News & World Report top PM&R program.
PM&R administrative and research offices are located on the second, third and fourth floors of the Egyptian Building.
The Egyptian Building, designed by Philadelphia architect Thomas S. Steward, was completed in 1845. The building was the first permanent home of the Medical Department of Hampden-Sydney College (later the Medical College of Virginia). Originally the building housed medical lecture rooms, a dissecting room, an infirmary and hospital beds for medical and surgical cases. The building is constructed from brick, stucco and cast iron.
The Egyptian Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. It is considered to be the finest example of Egyptian Revival architecture in the U.S. The most significant architectural features of the building are: its battered walls — thinner at the top than at the bottom to give an impression of solidarity and height; the diamond paned windows incorporated without a style break; the columns of reeds bunched together with palm leaf capitals; and the cast iron fence with mummy cases forged by R.W. Barnes of Richmond. The external ornament is the disc of the sun goddess who joins the sun god, Re, in his journey across the sky. The sun disc represents eternity, the serpent represents wisdom and the wings represent spirit.
On the interior, the lotus flower design is used repeatedly. The interior colors are deeply symbolic and have a mystic meaning: red represents divine love, blue represents divine intelligence and the golden yellow represents the mercy of God. Hieroglyphics are incorporated in the lobby decorations, and the floor tiles depict a large scarab beetle.
To provide rehabilitation leadership to the commonwealth of Virginia to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities by maximizing independence in living skills, recreation and employment activities through innovative education, evidence-based research and outcome-focused patient care.