SOURCE: Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation

May 17, 2013 11:15 ET

Kessler Foundation Names Dr. Ross Zafonte Recipient of Foundation's 3rd Annual DeLisa Award

Ross Zafonte, D.O., of Harvard Medical School, Is the 2013 Recipient of Kessler Foundation's Joel A. DeLisa, MD Award for Excellence in Research and Education in the Field of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

WEST ORANGE, NJ--(Marketwired - May 17, 2013) - Ross Zafonte, D.O., is the 2013 recipient of Kessler Foundation's Joel A. DeLisa, MD Award for Excellence in Research and Education in the Field of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R). Dr. Zafonte will be honored at the Foundation's Board of Trustees Recognition Dinner in Cedar Grove on May 22. The award includes a $50,000 unrestricted grant for Dr. Zafonte's research activities. 

An expert on brain injury, Dr. Zafonte is the Harvard Medical School Earle P. and Ida S. Charlton Professor and Chair of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and Vice President of Medical Affairs at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. He also serves as Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Massachusetts General Hospital. His textbook, Brain Injury Medicine: Principles and Practice, is considered one of the standards in brain injury care. He is currently studying the impact of multiple concussions as well as innovative agents to enhance recovery after brain and spinal cord injury. He is also principal investigator (PI) on a study that evaluates the role of specific pharmacotherapy to treat long-term cognitive deficits after traumatic brain injury (TBI).

"The Foundation is pleased to honor Dr. Zafonte, who is internationally known as one of the 'go to' people for brain injury care and rehabilitation," said Rodger DeRose, president and chief executive officer of Kessler Foundation. "As a clinician, researcher, teacher and author, he embodies the excellence that we recognize with Kessler Foundation's Joel A. DeLisa, MD Award. His leadership in physical medicine and rehabilitation is inspiring a new generation of dedicated professionals."

Dr. Zafonte is co-PI on a grant from the National Football League Players Association. He is also a program director for the Red Sox Foundation/Massachusetts General Hospital's Home Base Program, which assists in the treatment of wounded warriors. Traveling to Afghanistan, he served as an advisor regarding TBI care.

Kessler Foundation created this award to honor Dr. DeLisa's many contributions to the field of PM&R. Dr. DeLisa is the founding director of Kessler Foundation Research Center, which under his leadership, developed into a center that is recognized around the world for physical and cognitive rehabilitation research and the training of young investigators. The annual award recognizes leading physicians or researchers who mentor and inspire young professionals and conduct research that can be quickly translated into improved patient care and treatment.

"As part of a remarkable team at Spaulding/Harvard, I am humbled to receive Kessler Foundation's DeLisa award," said Dr. Zafonte. "This award is special because it reflects upon the lifetime achievements of Dr. Joel DeLisa, who helped to transform the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation."

The inaugural award was given in May 2011, to Walter Frontera, M.D., Ph.D., currently of Vanderbilt University. John Whyte, M.D., Ph.D., founding director of Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, received the 2012 award.

About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit

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