Dr. Eugene Chang: Canada’s 1st Fellowship-Trained Cancer Rehab Specialist

Dr. Eugene Chang is unique. To say that he has walked a mile in a patient’s shoes is an understatement. His experience as a cancer patient and survivor has defined his career, fuelling his passion and unwavering dedication to superior patient care.

He is the only physiatrist in Canada with post-doctoral fellowship training in cancer treatment (at Houston’s famed M.D Anderson Cancer Center). That allows Dr. Chang to bring together University Health Network’s world-leading Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and Princess Margaret Hospital, a renowned cancer facility. A cancer survivor, he went from medical resident to patient and then back again.

“Physical rehabilitation may not be considered as important initially for a cancer survivor compared to someone with a fracture or spinal cord trauma, but research is starting to show us that it is,” he noted. “At Toronto Rehab, we can improve the quality of life for both types of patients. This means a return to independence and functioning in all parts of life.”

“We need to develop fellowships and improve education for resident trainees. There must be improved inter-professional education for physicians, nurses and allied health disciplines like occupational and physiotherapists. With the philanthropic support of the community, we can fill these gaps and link services.”

Read more in A Mile In Their Shoes: Report to Our Community 2015

What is a physiatrist?

Physiatrists, medical doctors specializing in rehabilitation, are nerve, muscle, and bone experts who treat injuries or illnesses affecting movement. They have completed training in the specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R). Their focus is on the development of a comprehensive program for putting the pieces of a person’s life back together after injury or disease.
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