Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

The Jackson Health System / Jackson Memorial Hospital Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Spinal Cord Injury Program is a one-year fellowship offering physicians the opportunity for clinical and research training in Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Medicine. The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of the University of Miami directs this program in conjunction with the Miami Veterans Administration Healthcare System. Access to a large and diverse clinical population of persons with acute and chronic SCI is available to support the program.

Jackson Memorial Hospital (JMH) operates 68 beds and is the only Level 1 trauma center in Miami-Dade County. Care is provided to approximately 95 new traumatic SCI patients per year, in addition to rehabilitative and lifelong care. Jackson Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Center has an average census of eight to 10 patients with acute SCI. Jackson Memorial Medical Center, in conjunction with the Miller School of Medicine University of Miami is one of Florida’s designated Brain and SCI Centers. As part of this designation, an extensive data base is kept which tracks the level of injury, demographic data and other psychosocial outcomes of individuals with brain and SCI’s. This data is kept as part of the evaluation program at JMH.

The Miami Veterans Administration Healthcare System (MVAHS) SCI unit consists of a 36-bed inpatient SCI unit, an outpatient SCI clinic and home care services. The VA Healthcare System provides care to SCI patients on a life-long basis for all aspects of their healthcare. The MVAHS also has a program evaluation system which tracks initial, discharge, follow-up data on functional outcomes and is CARF accredited for their rehabilitation program.

The practice of rehabilitation medicine stresses interdisciplinary team work under medical supervision. Physiatrists are trained to direct and lead a team of health related professionals that includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and hearing therapists, clinical psychologists, rehabilitation counselors, nurses, social workers, and group and community workers. All of these professionals collaborate with their medical colleagues in order to fulfill the goals of comprehensive medical care. Mobilization of essential family and community resources is emphasized. Planning and implementation of continuity of restorative care bridges the gap between intensive treatment and social re-integration. The JMH-PHT/ Miller School of Medicine University of Miami fellowship training program is designed to fulfill these goals and upon completion, the fellow will have had exposure to a large enough patient population with a full array of spinal cord injuries and diseases that will be encountered throughout one’s career.

Headshot of David R. Gater Jr., MD, Ph.D, MS

David R. Gater Jr., MD, Ph.D, MS
Education: University of Arizona College of Medicine
Residency: University of California Davis Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Specialty: Spinal Cord Injury/Electrodiagnostic medicine



Front building image of the Christine E Lynn Rehabilitation Center

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is fortunate to have training opportunities with the South Florida SCI Model System, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and the Miami VAHS SCI&D Center. We are seeking bright, highly motivated and enthusiastic physicians who are excited to partake of this 12-month ACGME-accredited fellowship program, exposing them to the full spectrum of SCI clinical management, including acute trauma, post-acute rehabilitation and translational research. Fellows will teach PM&R residents and medical students, while training with the many disciplines that contribute to SCI Care, including Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Endocrinology, Neuro-urology, Pulmonology, Plastic Surgery, Wound Care, PT, OT, Psychology, Social Work and Recreational Therapists.

We have graduated over 20 fellows since starting the program in 2002. They all have received great job offers and are successful in their practices. A $1,000 stipend is given for fellows to attend meetings such as ASCIP. Visit the SFSCIMS page, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and the fellowship page for more information and to download the SCI fellowship application.


The SCI fellow’s training curriculum will be evenly divided in 3 month blocks rotating at both Jackson Memorial and the Miami VA. Concurrently, the fellow also is exposed to specialized outpatient clinics in both Jackson and University; these include spasticity, MSK, wound care, and multiple sclerosis and can be tailored to the fellow’s clinical preferences.
In the spring of 2020, the Jackson rotations will be housed in a newly constructed, state of the art rehab facility, the Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at UHealth/Jackson Memorial Medical Center. There will be a dedicated inpatient SCI service of 27 all private suites with dedicated access to world class therapy facilities and resources. All outpatient and research personnel for Spinal Cord Injury will also be housed in the same facility. Our patients will have access to all aspects of the campus’ resources for the entire continuum of care of the SCI patient all under one roof.

The Miami VA also will provide inpatient and outpatient training for our fellows, under the direction of Dr. Jasmine Martinez, herself a former SCI fellow graduate from 2008. Numerous former graduates from our program have gone on to help train the next generation of SCI physiatrists as attendings at the Miami VA.

Educational Training occurs at the following sites:

  • U Miami Miller School of Medicine 560-bed Hospital and Clinics (including Pediatrics)
  • 1,550-bed Jackson Memorial Hospital Level 1 Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center
  • Jackson Health System CARF-Accredited Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Medicine Service in the new 96-Bed state-of-the-art Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Hospital (Open Spring 2020)
  • Miami Project to Cure Paralysis in the Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Miami VA Healthcare System CARF-Accredited 32-bed Spinal Cord Injury & Disorders Center


The South Florida Spinal Cord Injury Model System (SFSCIMS) in collaboration with the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis provides innumerable opportunities for research pursuits within the framework of grant-funded research protocols. The SFSCIMS most recently received re-accreditation as a Model Systems in 2016 under the direction of Principal Investigator Elizabeth Felix, PhD, and will be up for renewal in 2021.

Within the parameters of the department, the fellow is expected to participate in a research project of their choosing to be presented at a Research Day presentation at the time of graduation. Additionally, the fellow will also be expected to conduct a quality improvement project, to be presented at the final Grand Rounds of the academic year. Historically the fellows are active on numerous other projects in addition to these requirements, and are valued contributors and presenters at national conferences, and for this receive institutional support.

Based on number of ACGME –accredited residency training and on index rates approved by Jackson Memorial Hospital and the Miami VA Healthcare System

One time $1500 to be used at fellow’s discretion

Time Off:
Vacation – 4 weeks
Sick Days – 12 sick days
Wellness Day – 1 for self care needs
Education – 10 days for conferences (if presenting), Board Exams/Review Course

Funding for 1 conference (if presenting)
IPad with preloaded educational resources (PDF textbooks, Board Review)

ACGME Accredited?

Number of fellows per year?
2 Spinal Cord Injury Fellows

Call rotations required:
2-4 in-house overnight calls

Additional Links:

Application Dates:

  • NRMP Registration Opens 8/14/2019
  • ASCIP Interviews 9/2-9/4/2019
  • NRMP Rank List Opens 9/11/2019
  • Onsite Interviews (if desired) August – October 16, 2019
  • NRMP Rank List Finalized 10/16/2019
  • NRMP Match Day 10/30/ 2019

The fellow will have a dedicated didactic program with lectures provided not only by PM&R faculty under the direction of the Fellowship Program Director, Dr. David R. Gater, but also research faculty at the Miami Project as well as clinicians and research leaders in other departments of the University of Miami. The fellow will also take a leadership role in educating residents and medical students/observers on the service as well as patients in the Model System’s PREPARE program (Post-Rehabilitation Educational Program and Resource Exchange), a didactic program set up to help patients maintain their knowledge base in the chronic phase of their recovery.

Application/eligibility requirements:

  • Graduation from an approved US or Canadian Medical School or Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) Completion.
  • Completion of an ACGME accredited residency in PM&R, Anesthesia, Emergency Medicine, Family Practice, Neurosurgery, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Plastic Surgery, General Surgery, or Urology.
  • Candidates must have an active, training license or unrestricted license, to practice in Florida
  • Candidates must be board certified or board eligible with demonstrated active pursuit of board certification in both their primary specialty as well as SCIM

Program Director: David R. Gater, Jr., MD, PhD, MS ([email protected])

Program Coordinator: Coretha Davis ([email protected])
University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine
P.O. Box 016960 (C-206)
Miami, FL 33101
Phone: 305-585-1431 (office)
Fax: 305-355-2424