About Us

What is a Physiatrist?
Physicians trained in the specialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) are called Physiatrists (fizz eye' uh trists).  

Physiatry is the branch of medicine emphasizing the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of disorders, particularly those of the neuromusculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and pulmonary systems, that may produce temporary or permanent impairment.  

Physiatry is unique among medical fields in that its area of expertise is the functioning of the whole patient, as compared with a focus on an organ system or systems.  

Physiatrists treat conditions of the bones, muscles, joints, brain, and nervous system, which can affect other systems of the body and limit a person's ability to function.   

The Physiatrist can help to improve a person's functional capabilities by medical treatment and organizing and integrating a program of rehabilitation therapy such as physical, occupational, speech therapies, psychological, social nursing, prosthetic, orthotic, engineering and vocational services.  

--Definition from Association of Academic Physiatrists and Canadian Association of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation--


Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Saskatchewan is to provide excellent patient care, education, and research in the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, leading to improvement in function, independence, health, and quality of life for each individual served. 

We provide holistic interdisciplinary assessment and rehabilitation services to patients and families, and we are committed to advancing knowledge of the art and science of medical rehabilitation.

Programs

The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at the University of Saskatchewan offers clinical clerkship electives at both the Saskatoon City Hospital in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan. Our academic residency program operates out of both sites, allowing clerks a broad exposure to the daily responsibilities of academic physiatrists and residents.

Clerks who are interested in a career in PM&R or a complimentary specialty such as Neurology, Orthopedics, Rheumatology, Neurosurgery or Family Medicine are encouraged to apply. Students will have the opportunity to their history taking and physical exam skills in core PM&R domains such as musculoskeletal, neurological, acquired brain injury, stroke rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and prosthetics and orthotics and others. Acute care consults and rehabilitation inpatient ward exposure will provide a “day in the life of Physiatry” involving history, examination, diagnosis and treatment.  Neuromuscular assessment and diagnosis is provided in the department allowing the student exposure to nerve conduction studies (NCS) and needle electromyography (EMG)

And elective schedule will be created based on the clerks’ personal interests and basic physiatry learning objectives. A minimum of 1 week is required but up to 4 weeks is permitted. Both Regina and Saskatoon sites will provide a flexible elective. A combination of outpatient clinical, inpatient ward, consultation service, and formal teaching at the resident academic half day will make up the bulk of the rotation.

The University of Saskatchewan Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation is a provincial program that provides a flexibile opportunity to take advantage of the best of training opportunities in Saskatoon and Regina, in addition to experiences available in our regional centres.  

We have integrated support for research with access to an associated research scientist in both cities. Our longstanding working relationships with neurosciences, rheumatology and orthopedics provide excellent learning experiences. We have long established services in the core rehabilitation areas of stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury and amputation. 

Our two tertiary rehabilitation centres in Saskatoon and Regina serve a provincial population of just over one million.  We feel the single program in two cities offers the best of flexibility, personalized attention, and practical experience. We offer clinics in musculoskeletal (MSK) outpatient management and have opportunities to work in a high volume outpatient service with close links to orthopedics. We develop our musculoskeletal anatomy strength by running five half days per year in the College of Medicine anatomy lab guided by an anatomist and experienced physiatrist. We are working towards integrating ultrasound into chemodenervation and musculoskeletal procedures.

In Regina, PM&R is centred at Wascana Rehabilitation Centre (WRC) in Wascana Park.  WRC has inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs and includes all of the therapies as well as orthotics and prosthetics, specialized seating, and services for children with diagnoses such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida under one roof.  There are close linkages between physiatrists and the physicians and therapists in the acute hospitals, Regina General and Pasqua.

The Saskatoon department is located on the top two floors of Saskatoon City Hospital adjacent to the Kinsmen Park and across the river from Royal University Hospital and the College of Medicine.  This is the newest hospital in Saskatoon, with lots of natural light and excellent modern facilities. Strong academic ties exist with the other two main teaching hospitals in Saskatoon, the Royal University Hospital and St. Paul's Hospital. Many rotations including orthopedic surgery, neurology, and rheumatology are completed at these facilities. The Kinsmen Children's Centre in Saskatoon provides exposure to a broad range of pediatric subspecialties in a multidisciplinary setting. PM&R outreach clinics are held on a monthly basis in Prince Albert with resident participation.

Residents have access to WiFi in all hospitals in both cities. Saskatchewan is making progress toward having images, drug information and laboratory information available electronically. We use TeleHealth equipment for our Academic Half Day videoconferences and also have interactive whiteboards available to support education sessions at both campuses.

Research

Members of the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabiliation have partnered with researchers from the College of Kinesiology on a study for persons with spinal cord injuries who can walk. For more information, see their website

Ongoing Projects

Title: A Multinational, Multicenter, Randomized, Double-blind, Parallel-group, Placebo-Controlled Study Followed by an Active Treatment Period, to Evaluate the Efficacy, Safety and Tolerability of Two Oral Doses of Laquinimod (0.6 mg/d or 1.2 mg/d) in Subjects With Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS)

Funding: Teva Pharmaceuticals

Site Principal Investigator: Christopher Voll

Co-Investigator(s): Katherine Knox, Carol Boyle, Wendi Fitzpatrick, Tasha Ellchuk, Walter J. Hader, Sheila Savedia-Cayabyab, Peter Szkup 

Title: Pilot study of plasma metalloprotien biomarkers in multiple sclerosis, acute stroke, and healthy controls 
We are currently recruiting for this study.

Funding: Royal University Hospital Foundation

Principal Investigator: Helen Nichol

Co-Investigator(s): Katherine Knox, Jurgen Gailer, Gary Hunter, Michael Kelly, Bogdan Popescu

 Lay Summary: This study aims to quantify the metal bound to plasma proteins in people with MS, acute stroke, and healthy controls. Recent research indicates the MS may not be a single disease and that certain MS subtypes respond to specifically-tailored treatments. Our study tests if the amount of iron bound to specific proteins could be used a novel biomarker for MS subtypes. If a blood biomarker that identifies one type of MS can be found and used routinely, targeted treatments could begin before the nervous system is permanently damaged. 

Title: Gait analysis after a first clinical attack suggestive of multiple sclerosis

Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; UofS College of Medicine

Principal Investigator: Katherine Knox

Co-Investigators: Lawrence Brawley, Kit Beyer, Melanie Flegle, Janice Klassen, Darren Nickel

Lay Summary: Gait analysis detected increased step-length variability in people with MS without gait dysfunction on physical examination. However, most people in this group also had minimal low-extremity impairment, detected through other clinical examination. The value of subclinical gait abnormalities in predicting future functional outcomes remains to be determine.

Completed Projects

Title: An examination of exercise and cognitive training interventions on physical function and quality of life in multiple sclerosis

Funding: Cameco MS Neuroscience Research Centre

Principal Investigator: Larry Brawley

Co-Investigator(s): Katherine Knox

Lay Summary: Physical activity may lead to improved function in people with MS. Confidence (i.e., self-efficacy) to be active in the future often predicts behavior. Our results suggest that how one thinks about their previous success/failure to be active may predict self-efficacy for future physical activity.

Title: Investigation into venous insufficiency in multiple sclerosis

Funding: Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation; MS Society of Canada

Principal Investigator(s): Katherine Knox (SK), Tony Traboulsee (BC)

Results published in The Lancet

Lay Summary: Our research supports that CCSVI as described by Dr. Zamboni is a rare finding in both people with and without MS. Narrowing of the veins, however, is a frequent finding.

Title: Epidemiology of anti-JCV antibody prevalence in multiple sclerosis patients: JEMS study 

Funding: Biogen Idec.

Site Principal Investigator: Christopher Voll

Co-Investigator(s): Katherine Knox

Title: Are rehabilitation outpatients active enough? Why or why not?

Funding: UofS College of Medicine

Principal Investigator: Katherine Knox

Co-Investigators: Melissa Andersen, Lila Rudachyk, Milo Fink, Darren Nickel, Kevin Spink

Lay Summary: Physical activity can provide health benefites to people with MS. Confidence to be active strongly predicts subsequent behaviour. Forty-eight percent of participants in our study reported being active enough for optimal health benefits (>150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week). Both previous success/failure to be sufficiently active and personal explanations for it predicted participants' confidence that they could be sufficiently active in the future. Given the personal explanations may be changeable, they may provide another means of helping people with MS to try to increase their physical activity levels.

Title: Why do persons with multiple sclerosis enter long-term care?

Funding: UofS College of Medicine

Principal Investigator: Lilian Thorpe, Katherine Knox

Co-Investigators: Rochelle Jalbert, Hyun Lim, Darren Nickel, Walter Hader

Lay Summary: Cognitive impairment was one of the strongest predictors of future institutionalization amongst a group of Saskatoon residents with MS. Improved strategies are needed to allow more people to remain in their homes.

 

Ongoing

  • A Phase II, Multicentre, Randomised, Double-blind,Parallel Group, Placebo-controlled, Dose-finding Study to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of Three Different Oral Doses of MT-1303 Administered for a Period of 24 Weeks in Subjects With Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis. Site Principal Investigator: Carol Boyle. Sub-Investigators: Katherine Knox, Wendi Fitzpatrick, Chris Voll, Walter J. Hader, Peter Szkup, Tasha Ellchuk. Total $ not known until end of study. Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation. 2013-2015.
  • A Multinational, Multicenter, Randomized, Double-blind, Parallel-group, Placebo-Controlled Study Followed by an Active Treatment Period, to Evaluate the Efficacy, Safety and Tolerability of Two Oral Doses of Laquinimod (0.6 mg/d or 1.2 mg/d) in Subjects With Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS). Site Principal Investigator: Chris Voll. Sub-Investigators: Katherine Knox, Carol Boyle, Wendi Firzpatrick, Tasha Ellchuk, Walter J. Hader, Sheila Savedia-Cayabyab, Peter Szkup. Total $ not known until end of study. Teva Pharmaceuticals. 2013-2018.
  • An examination of exercise and cognitive training interventions on physical function and quality of life in multiple sclerosis. Principal Investigator: Larry Brawley (Katherine Knox Co-Investigator). $40,000; Cameco MS Neuroscience Research Centre. 2012-2014.
  • Comparison of localization techniques for botulinum injection: electrical vs. ultrasound. Principal Investigator: Milo Fink. $55,000; College of Medicine and UofS Provost new investigator grants. 2012-2014.

Completed

  • Health care services and needs in spinal cord injury after acute care. Principal Investigator: Gary Linassi. $156,450; Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation. 2012-2014.
  • Long-term health outcomes in MS. Co-investigators: Katherine Knox, Walter Hader, Lilian Thorpe. Unfunded. 2012-2013.
  • Investigation into venous abnormalities in MS.  Principal Investigators: Katherine Knox (SK) and Tony Traboulsee (BC). SK funding: $317,799; Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation. $34,000; MS Society of Canada. 2010-2013.
  • Exploration of the proposed association between multiple sclerosis (MS) and chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) at the earliest onset of MS. Principal Investigator: Katherine Knox. $46,306; Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation. 2010-2013.
  • Epidemiology of anti-JCV antibody prevalence in multiple sclerosis patients: JEMS study. Site Principal Investigator: Christopher Voll (Katherine Knox Sub-investigator). $37,143; Biogen Idec. 2011-2012.
  • Rehabilitation environmental scan (EScan). Site Principal Investigator: Gary Linassi. $2,000; Rick Hansen Institute. 2011-2012
  • Access to care and timing (ACT) project – level 1 (rehabilitation). Site Principal Investigator: Gary Linassi. $400; Rick Hansen Institute. 2011.
  • Canadian Collaborative Project on Genetic Susceptibility to Multiple Sclerosis, Phase 5. Site Primary Investigator: Katherine Knox. Site allocation for year 2: $60,101; MS Society of Canada. 2007-2010.

Resources

To join the Academic Half Day screen sharing, click here. Please note that the meeting room is only active when it is in use by the hosts.

The Academic Half Day Evaluation form can be found here.

The Resident Call Log can be found here.

To access the UofS Rehab SharePoint site, click here.

To access the eHealthSask WebEx meetings, click here.

Contact

Saskatoon Rehabilitation Centre
Saskatoon City Hospital 
701 Queen St 
Saskatoon SK 
S7K 0M7

Reception Tel: 306-655-8175 
Fax: 306-655-8813

Wascana Rehabilitation Centre
2180 - 23rd Avenue
Regina SK
S4S 0A5

Appointment Coordinator Tel: 306-766-5521 
Outpatient Clinic Nurse Tel: 306-766-5514 
Admin Assistant Tel: 306-766-5402 
Fax: 306-766-7442