The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank just revealed the first-ever global estimate of disability. The report suggests that at least 1 billion people are currently disabled, and about 1/5 of those are experiencing significant difficulties with their activities of daily living. Since people with disabilities experience poorer health, lower educational achievements, fewer economic opportunities and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities, this vulnerable segment of the population needs much closer attention.
I’m a physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) specialist by training, and there are only about 8000 of us in the United States. Some have called PM&R specialists: “primary care physicians for the disabled” and I think that’s a reasonable description. The task before us is daunting – with hundreds of millions of people who are not living their lives at maximum functional capacity, rehab physicians should be in great demand.