AANEM honors one member each year who has provided distinguished service as a clinician and/or educator and is an active supporter of AANEM activities. Due to his outstanding work in the field of PM&R as it relates to spinal cord injury and quality of life for his patients, as well as his teaching and involvement with the AANEM, Anthony E. Chiodo, MD, MBA, has been selected for the 2022 Distinguished Physician Award.
Chiodo earned his medical degree at the University of Connecticut Medical School. He completed a residency in PM&R, served as chief PM&R resident, and completed a fellowship in NM disease and PM&R at the University of Michigan Hospital. He also earned a master of business administration from the University of Massachusetts, Isenberg School of Business.
Chiodo decided to pursue medicine because he wanted to help people, and he really liked science. He said medicine was the pathway that best combined these interests.
“I initially thought I would go into sports medicine but knew that I did not want to spend my time gaining experience and spending time in an operating room. PM&R was the logical best choice with this issue. However, once I started to do multidisciplinary rehabilitation, I really enjoyed teams working together to help patients after catastrophic illness or injury get back to their lives. Applying this experience working with patients with neuromuscular disease and using clinical medicine and EDX medicine to make the diagnosis really pulled together all of my interests.”
Chiodo began his position at the University of Michigan Medical School in 1987 as a lecturer for the department of PM&R. He currently serves in multiple capacities there; he is the associate chair for clinical affairs for the department of PM&R and medical director for the Burlington ACU, the spine program, and the spinal cord injury program. He is also co-director for the University of Michigan Spinal Cord Injury Model System (SCIMS), clinical director and fellowship director of UM spinal cord injury medicine, and clinical professor for the department of PM&R.
He is one of only a few physiatrists to obtain sub-specialty board certification in pain medicine, EDX medicine, and spinal cord injury medicine.
Chiodo’s favorite part of being a physician is the opportunity to not only connect with patients, but to do so in a way that truly makes a difference in their everyday lives. “This could be by making the correct diagnosis and directing them to the correct care, identifying risk factors for secondary health conditions and getting them treatment, or directing rehabilitation efforts so that they are more functional in their lives,” he said.
Chiodo has been an active member of the AANEM since 1988. He has served on the AANEM Board in many capacities, most recently as President in 2019 and prior to that as Secretary Treasurer, and a Board member. He also served as chair of numerous committees, including the Annual Meeting Coordination, Finance, CME Advisory, Disciplinary, Nomination, Appeals, Special Interest Groups, Course, and Musculoskeletal Committees. He currently serves on the Finance Committee, PM&R Membership Task Force, AANEM Connect, and Nominating Committee.
“AANEM is a great organization with neurologists and physiatrists working together to care for patients with neuromuscular and MSK disorders,” said Chiodo. “There is great collaboration, and together we bring perspectives that makes us a better organization.”
Chiodo encourages early-career physicians to volunteer and get involved. “It will enrich your career (and your life). You will make great friends and you will become a better physician.”
Chiodo is grateful for the many mentors who have impacted his career. “James Albers was my fellowship director and had a huge impact on how I approach patient evaluation and management. He was critical in developing my EDX skills. James Leonard was my residency program director and really taught me how to be a physician. Steve Geiringer was my assistant residency program director and taught me so much about EDX. Kate Stolp was my residency program chief and preceded me in the neuromuscular fellowship. She showed me a path for my career and has been a good friend throughout my AANEM career. So many leaders at AANEM inspired me as I began to volunteer, including Drs. Andary, England, Dillingham, Kincaid, and Grant. I appreciate Shirlyn Adkins and the staff at AANEM who are such a huge source of support and energy in doing all the work we have done at AANEM over the years.”
Chiodo himself is an inspiration to many. “It is always a pleasure to hear back from a fellow or resident trainee who lets me know how much our interactions in their training made a difference in their practice,” said Chiodo. “I also think it is neat when someone approaches me or contacts me about a course I gave or a paper I wrote and engages me on how to apply these findings in particular clinical situations. These really bring home to me the practical value of these experiences.”
Chiodo appreciates his wife’s endless support. “I could not do any of this without the support I get at home. My wife, Wendy, puts up with the meetings, travel, and time away from home. I am very grateful.”