Walter R. Frontera, MD, PhD, is Professor in the Departments of Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation, and Sports Medicine (PM&R) and Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). Dr. Frontera completed his MD and a residency in PM&R in 1983 at the UPR and a doctoral degree in applied anatomy and physiology at Boston University in 1986. Then, he became Founding Director of the Center for Sports Health and Exercise Sciences at the Olympic Training Center in Puerto Rico. In 1993 he was appointed Inaugural Chair of the Department of PM&R and Sports Medicine at the UPR School of Medicine. In 1995 he spent a sabbatical year at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden in the Department of Clinical Neurophysiology. In 1996 he was recruited to the position of Inaugural Professor and Head of the Department of PM&R at Harvard Medical School and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, MA. He also served as Chief of the PM&R Service at the Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals. From 2006-2011 he served as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the UPR and from 2012 to 2017 was Professor and Inaugural Chair of the Department of PM&R at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
His main research interest is geriatric rehabilitation and the study of the mechanisms underlying muscle atrophy and weakness in elderly. He has more than 230 scientific publications including 102 peer-reviewed articles and 17 edited books. Currently, Dr. Frontera serves as the Editor-in-Chief of The American Journal of PM&R. In 2008 he was elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly Institute of Medicine) of the US National Academies. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS-2013), the Royal College of Physicians (London-2018), the American Physiological Society (2019), the American College of Sports Medicine (1990), and the American Academy of PM&R (1985). Dr. Frontera has presented more than 300 invited lectures in 55 countries. He is the current President of the International Society for PM&R.
Dr. Frontera has received the Association of Academic Physiatrist’s Distinguished Academician Award in 2005 and Outstanding Service Award in 2010, the Best Scientific Research Paper (3 times) presented by the American Academy of PM&R, the Harvard Foundation Award for his contributions to the field of PM&R (1998), the Sydney Licht Lecture Award of the International Society of PM&R (2011), the Excellence in Rehabilitation of Aging Persons Award of the Gerontological Society of America (2015), the Distinguished Member Award of the American Academy of PM&R (2016), and the Rusk Award for Leadership and Innovation in PM&R (2017) . He was the first recipient of Kessler’s Foundation’s Joel DeLisa, MD Award for Excellence in PM&R (2011). He is an honorary member of the Chilean Society of PM&R, The Dominican Society of PM&R, the Euskalerria Society of Rehabilitation, the Italian Society of PM&R, the Mexican Society of PM&R, the Aragonese-Spanish Society of Sports Medicine, the Dominican Society of Sports Medicine, and the Spanish Federation of Sports Medicine. He is a Corresponding Member of the Japanese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine.