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The Legacy of Dr. David Rex Gater, Jr

Dr. Gater came to the Miller School of Medicine in 2019 from Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine, where he was professor, chair, and residency program director for physical medicine and rehabilitation and held the inaugural Rocco Ortenzio Chair of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

In the three short years that he spent with UHealth and the Miller School, Dr. Gater achieved enormous impact and brought national recognition to the department. Among his many accomplishments were providing leadership for the opening of the state-of-the-art Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center, and expanding care to 72 beds and regaining full accreditation as a center of excellence by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Under his leadership, the UHealth physical medicine and rehabilitation research division expanded into one that is nationally ranked in National Institutes of Health and other grant funding.

Dr. Gater spearheaded the partnership with the Shriners Children’s Hospital and secured the commitment to build a multi-specialty, multi-center pediatric orthopaedic and rehabilitation pavilion – a project announced just last month. His recruitment efforts for the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation resulted in doubling its faculty and staff, and he expanded the physical medicine and rehabilitation residency program from 18 to 24 slots, adding two new fellowship programs in neuro rehab and cancer rehabilitation. He expanded the outreach of clinical physical medicine and rehabilitation services to 10 clinical sites throughout South Florida.

Dr. Gater was president of the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals and was active in the American Spinal Injury Association, the Veterans Health Administration, VA System of Care, and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. He was also a member of the Association of Academic Physiatrists and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, along with other associations. Despite his relatively brief time with UHealth and the Miller School, Dr. Gater loved his University of Miami family.

In honor of his legacy and impact at the Miller School of Medicine, we invite you to celebrate Dr. Gater’s service to our school with a contribution to the Gater-Aid Fund for Spinal Cord Injury Research and Education. This fund will support spinal cord injury clinical research, residency, and fellowship programs within the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UHealth Jackson Rehabilitation Care.

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