Lee to step down as Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Michael Y. Lee, MD, MHA, Sidna Chockley Rizzo Distinguished Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, has announced that he will be stepping down from the position, effective September 2016, after serving in the role for almost 23 years.

Lee to step down as Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation click to enlarge Michael Lee, MD, MHA

He will remain as Sidna Chockley Rizzo Distinguished Professor and a member of the faculty, and will continue to focus on his research and clinical efforts.

When Lee joined the UNC faculty in 1994, he was the Medical Center’s only physiatrist. As chair of the newly formed Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Lee worked to ensure patients had access to inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services, orthotics and prosthetics, and psychological and rehabilitation counseling – early in the treatment process. 

Under his leadership, the department has doubled its inpatient capacity and added multiple outpatient facilities where thousands of patients each year are treated. Research initiatives and Program on Integrative Medicine flourished under Lee’s leadership and has ranked as high as #6 in NIH funding.  The PM&R faculty has grown to 20 members, consisting of 13 MDs and 7 PhDs (including three neuropsychologists and four research faculty).

Additionally, he founded UNC’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency program and served as Program Director, as well as Medical Director of the UNC Health Care Rehabilitation Center and Physical and Occupational Therapy. Many graduates of the training programs remain in North Carolina to serve persons with physical and cognitive impairments.

His work has earned him many honors. Lee is consistently included on Best Doctors in America lists.

Lee has been involved in numerous research projects and clinical trials, most recently in spasticity and pressure ulcers in spinal cord injured patients. He has written and presented many journal articles in the field, both nationally and internationally, most recently in regard to stroke, amputee, and burn patients.

You can read more about Lee’s work in this 2014 University Gazette profile.