Thursday, July 16, 2009

Physiatry Added to Dictionary

It’s a word that’s been around since the days of the Truman presidency. But a patient
looking up “physiatry” would find nothing in the dictionary.

Until now.

Last week, Merriam-Webster Inc. released its list of the more than 100 entries now included in the latest edition of its Collegiate Dictionary. Physiatry, a synonym for physical medicine and rehabilitation, made the cut, along with locavore, fan fiction and earmark.

The physiatrists at Sinai Hospital couldn’t be happier about the linguistic recognition of their field.

"The addition of physiatry to the dictionary reflects the increased awareness of the medical specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation,” says Scott Brown, M.D., the chief of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. “The focus is not on treating a single organ system or disease process. The physiatrists in the Sinai Rehabilitation Center are part of a team of clinicians dedicated to reducing pain and restoring function for patients who suffer from a wide variety of conditions including back pain, head injury, trauma, amputation and stroke."

According to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the field of physiatry began in the 1930s, and increased substantially as veterans returned from World War II with serious disabilities. The mission of helping them lead productive lives led to a new direction for the field. The Advisory Board of Medical Specialties granted physical medicine and rehabilitation its approval as a specialty of medicine in 1947.

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