Rummana Aslam, MD, a physiatrist (a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation), became interested in her field based on her concern for what happens to patients’ function and quality of life after a serious injury or disease.
Her goal, Dr. Aslam explains, is to help patients get back to the life they had before experiencing a severe illness, surgery, or trauma. As chief of Yale Medicine Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R), she takes care of patients with back pain, joint pain, sports injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputees, as well as those recovering from stroke and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Within PM&R, she is board-certified in brain injury medicine, which means she helps patients with TBIs, including concussions. “Often, these patients have multiple traumas, are treated in the hospital, and return home. However, they continue to suffer from the long-term effects of the brain injury, which affects their normal, day-to-day functioning,” Dr. Aslam explains. “For example, you can have someone who looks and talks fine, but when it comes to higher-level functioning, her brain is still healing and isn’t at that pre-injury level. She needs a physiatrist who specializes in brain medicine to guide her long-term recovery and get her to where she was in her personal and professional life.”
Dr. Aslam is a leading wound care physician and scientist recognized nationally and internationally. As medical director of Yale New Haven Health’s Lawrence + Memorial Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Dr. Aslam also helps patients with chronic wounds no matter what the underlying reason is and of all ages. These patients include diabetics who are at risk of amputation and people with leg ulcers, which can be caused by years of smoking or poor circulation.
“I want to help patients improve function. They may have to live with a chronic wound for a long time. Instead of ending up disabled and staying home, my job is to keep them working and healthy and fit while they are healing,” she says. “Overall, with all of my patients, my goal is to improve their function so they can feel and be well, and enjoy healthy, productive lives.”