Principal Investigator Spotlight: David Cifu, M.D.

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David Cifu, M.D., is the principal investigator of the $62.2 million federal grant to oversee a national consortium of universities, hospitals and clinics in 10 states that will study what happens to service members and veterans who suffer traumatic brain injuries.

Cifu is the chairman and the Herman J. Flax Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, chief of PM&R Services at the VCU Health System, the executive director of the VCU Center for Rehabilitation Services and Engineering (CERSE) and national director of PM&R Program Office within the Veterans Health Administration. Cifu is also a member of the senior executive staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In his 20 years as an academic physiatrist, he has been funded on more than 30 research grants and is the principal or co-principal investigator on eight current grants. He has delivered more than 425 regional, national and international lectures, published more than 165 articles and 65 abstracts and co-authored 20 books and book chapters. He has recently co-authored the patient and family focused self-help book, “Overcoming Post-Deployment Syndrome: A Six-Step Mission to Health.”

As the executive director, he has led the growth of VCU CERSE to a $16 million/year, interdisciplinary research consortium with more than 65 research faculty focusing on improving knowledge translation and clinical care for individuals with acute and chronic disability.

Cifu graduated from the Boston University School of Medicine combined BA/MD six-year medical program in 1986, completed his internship and residency at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He then served on faculty at Baylor in the Department of PM&R and as adjunct faculty in the Department of Restorative Neurology. He joined the VCU Medical Center in 1991.

As chairman, he oversees the PM&R department of more than 75 faculty, fellows, residence and staff. As VA National Director, he provides leadership to more than 3,000 PM&R professionals across the United States. He is also the past president of the American Academy of PM&R.