In the fall of 2015, the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) Board of Governors approved the “Unity Initiative.” This initiative is about uniting the specialty of PM&R. Its scope goes beyond AAPM&R and its membership. It’s a recognition that the specialty is being challenged by subspecialty diversification and changing systems, and acknowledges that a unified, positive team connectedness to the primary specialty of PM&R is important to support the future of the specialty.
But how does a primary medical society go about uniting the specialty?
After dozens of in-person interviews and focus groups with practicing physiatrists, it was recognized that every physiatrist, no matter the clinical focus or practice setting, focused on 2 things when telling their story: the patient and function. It was based on those conversations that the concept of Physiatry is More Than originated.
Physiatry is More Than is purposefully open-ended. Creating an understanding and a spirit of connectedness requires perspective—an open-mind to all points of view about the specialty. Done through story-telling, Physiatry is MoreThan aims to capture what’s unique about the specialty, not to define it.
This is not a public awareness initiative. That is not the intent nor the audience for this effort. This effort is meant for physiatrists to celebrate each other and acknowledge the great work happening each day in practice.
Speaking of celebrations, Physiatry Day originated from this effort as well. The first Physiatry Day took place on October 22, 2016. Each year, the theme is different, but the goal is the same: 1 day focused on celebrating the specialty. While the day coincides with the AAPM&R Annual Assembly every year, it’s not meant to be a celebration for only those at the event. Our hope is that physiatrists across the United States and around the world take the day to reflect and celebrate their work. Do this by purposefully talking about your primary specialty, showcasing what makes it unique, and telling your patients, peers, and loved ones.
We hope this clarification of our intent is helpful and that physiatrists will actively participate in this effort. Because united, our impact is magnified.