• Beginnings of the Division

    In 2002, the UAB Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine faced financial difficulties and the long term stability of the faculty dedicated to pediatric care was in jeopardy. The Department of Pediatrics negotiated the transfer of Dr. Charlie Law, the only remaining pediatric rehabilitation medicine faculty member, and started the UAB Division of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine. In 2004, Dr. Drew Davis became the division’s first fellow and upon completion of his training, he joined the faculty in 2005.  Subsequently an ACGME accredited fellowship in pediatric rehabilitation medicine was established and trained Christian Niedzwecki, D.O., from 2009-2010. In 2011, Dr. Law resigned from the faculty to become medical director of United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham. He maintains an adjunct appointment in the division and continues to work part-time with Dr. Davis, who had assumed the position of division director. 

  • Growth of the Division

    In 2013, Dr. Paola Mendoza-Sengco joined the division upon completion of her fellowship training in pediatric rehabilitation medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Dr. Erin Swanson-Kimani joined the division in 2015 after completing a combined residency in general pediatrics and physical medicine and rehabilitation at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

    Since its inception, the division has provided a full continuum of services including inpatient consults, acute inpatient rehabilitation and multidisciplinary outpatient clinics.  As the division has grown, two inpatient consult services have been developed to serve general inpatient rehabilitation consults and neonatal intensive care unit consults.  The inpatient rehabilitation service admits approximately 100 patients for intensive inpatient rehabilitation annually. Outpatient services have expanded to three clinic locations at Children’s of Alabama Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children Main Campus, Children’s South and Children’s at Lakeshore. Outpatient clinical services at these locations include the General Rehabilitation Clinic, Muscular Dystrophy Association Clinic, Spina Bifida Clinic, Brachial Plexus Clinic, Neuro-Oncology Clinic, Home Ventilator Clinic, Hospital Follow-up Clinic, Spasticity Clinic, Movement Disorder Clinic, Concussion and Post-Concussion Concussion Clinic, NICU Follow-up Clinic, Pre-natal Spina Bifida Clinic, CRS Teen Transition Clinic, CRS Cerebral Palsy Clinic Metabolic Bone Clinic and GI/Rehabilitation Clinic.

    The division serves as the primary training site for UAB physical medicine and rehabilitation residents’ pediatric rehabilitation medicine clinical rotations and routinely trains fellows from other divisions as well as pediatrics residents. UAB medical students rotate during their PM&R and pediatric rotations and electives and special topics courses are offered to UAB and visiting US and international medical students throughout the year. The division also provides all pediatric didactics for the UAB Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine lecture series.

  • New Research Expansion

    In 2017 the division began a concerted effort to expand research efforts by creating secondary division appointments for research staff from around the UAB.  The first was James Rimmer, Ph.D., Lakeshore Foundation Endowed Chair in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation Sciences, and director of the UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative.  Subsequently, Harshvardhan Singh, PT, Ph.D., UAB School of Health Professions, and Laura Dreer, Ph.D. director, Psychological & Neuropsychology Clinical Research Services with the UAB Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, have received appointments with the goal of optimizing opportunities for generating new knowledge to positively impact the lives of children with disabling congenital and acquired health conditions.  With support from Lakeshore Foundation and the UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative, the division established the Lakeshore Foundation Pediatric Rehabilitation Ph.D. Postdoctoral Research Position in 2018 with the goal of developing a pediatric focused rehabilitation and exercise research program.