News and Events

Joseph Czerniecki Begins New Professor Emeritus Role

By Kevin Hakimi, March 30, 2021

Kevin Hakimi is the Director of Rehabilitation Care Services at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System (VAPSHCS) and an Associate Professor in the UW Department of Rehabilitation Medicine who has worked with Dr. Czerniecki over the past 18 years.

Joseph Czerniecki, MD

Professor Joseph Czerniecki, MD, retired March 31, and as he transitions into his new role as an active Professor Emeritus, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect upon his contributions to the VA Puget Sound Health Care System (VAPSHCS), the Rehabilitation Care Services Line (RCS), and amputee care over his 38-year career. Dr. Czerniecki began his career at VAPSHCS and as an Acting Assistant Professor in the University of Washington Department of Rehabilitation Medicine in 1986, following completion of his residency (1982-1985) and an additional research fellowship year (1985-1986) in the department.

Clinically, he began his career working with amputees on the STAMP/PACT service and eventually took on more and more complex medical and administration positions, including Director of the Regional Amputee Clinic, STAMP Team, RCS Outpatient Clinic, and EMG Lab. In 2005, he became the third Director of the Rehabilitation Care Service Line. During his 5 years as Director, he oversaw critical department growth that included designations as a Polytrauma Center and Regional Amputee Center. He secured funding that led to both the construction of B103 Aquatic Therapy Building, 1E Rehab Independent Living Apt, and the remodeling of B3 at ALVA for RCS Outpatient RCS Clinics. He also oversaw the expansion of services to include MSK/Spine procedures and advocated to increase our outpatient nursing care coordination team. 

On the research side, Dr. Czerniecki has been clearly recognized as a world leader in research designed to improve function and quality of life in those living with limb loss. In his role as Associate Director of the Center for Limb Loss and Mobility (CLiMB) at VAPSHCS, he was PI or Co PI on grants totaling more than $28 million. Those research dollars led to the publication of more than 90 peer-reviewed publications and more than 30 national and international invited lectures. Much of his recent research was focused on developing a shared decision making for use by clinical teams prior to surgery to improve outcomes for dysvascular patients. His scholarly achievement was recognized when he was promoted to Professor in the UW Department of Rehabilitation Medicine in 2003. The magnitude and importance of his research was again recognized in 2012, when he was awarded the Paul B. Magnuson Award, which recognizes the highest level of rehabilitation research within Veterans Health Administration.

On the education side, Dr. Czerniecki was recognized multiple times with teaching awards from the UW PM&R residency program. Over the years he has taught hundreds of residents the key principles of amputee care and electrodiagnostics. In 1995, he developed the PM&R Resident Didactic Course, "Principles of Prosthetic Use in Rehabilitation," which he directed until 2008.

Please take a moment to congratulate Dr. Czerniecki (jczern@uw.edu) on his distinguished career. While he is officially retiring from his regular faculty appointment, he will remain active in his new Professor Emeritus role, continuing work on a number of research projects.