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  Department of Rehabilitation Medicine 
  maximizing potential across the lifespan

Our History

The University of Washington Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

In 1957, Justus F. Lehmann, MD, was recruited as the first Chair of the University of Washington’s newly established Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. At the time, the Pacific Northwest had virtually no rehabilitation care for those with physical disabilities.

Dr. Lehmann developed research, training and clinical care programs in medical rehabilitation. He established a residency training program in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, as well as divisions of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Prosthetics & Orthotics.

Picture of 3 former chairs taken at the Annual Lehmann Day Symposium, 2003. From left to right: Dr. L. Robinson, Dr. J. Lehmann, Dr. W. Stolov.
From left to right: Lawrence R. Robinson, MD; Justus F. Lehmann, MD; Walter C. Stolov, MD.

Dr. Walter C. Stolov followed Dr. Lehmann and served as Chair from 1987 to 1999. Dr. Lawrence R. Robinson was Chair from 2000 to 2006. He was suceeded by Dr. Peter Esselman, who served as chair from 2006 to 2023.

From left to right: P. Esselman, W. Stolov, L. Robinson
From left to right: Peter Esselman, MD; Walter C. Stolov, MD, Lawrence R. Robinson, MD.

As of August 1, 2023, Dr. Janna Friedly assumed the role of Chair.

Janna Friedly and Peter Esselman smile and stand with Dubs, a very fluffy Alaskan malamute, who has an even bigger smile.
Janna Friedly, MD, MPH (left) and Peter Esselman, MD, MPT, pose with UW mascot Dubs.

University of Washington School of Medicine

Opened in 1946, The School of Medicine is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in medical education, patient care, and scientific research. US News & World Report ranks us in the Top 10 Best Medical Schools in the nation, and first for Primary Care. The School of Medicine is the second largest in the nation with more than 1,300 faculty members, and serves as a regional medical resource for the states of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho.

The University of Washington

The University of Washington was founded in 1861 on a ten-acre knoll in what is now downtown Seattle, and moved to its present 660-acre site on the shores of Lake Washington in 1895. The University offers instruction in more than 200 academic disciplines to more than 34,000 students.

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