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Ross D. Zafonte, DO

President, Spaulding Rehabilitation

Dr. Ross D. Zafonte is the President of Spaulding Rehabilitation, Earle P. and Ida S. Charlton Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Harvard Medical School, and Chief of the Department of PM&R at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Zafonte also serves as Chief of the Traumatic Brain Injury and Health and Wellness Programs at Home Base, a partnership of the Red Sox Foundation and MGH, where he developed and oversees a comprehensive brain injury and polytrauma program uniquely designed for members of the Special Operations community. He also provides evaluation and treatment to former NFL players in collaboration with MGH’s Brain and Body Program.

Dr. Zafonte is an internationally recognized researcher, publishing more than 400 peer-reviewed journal articles, abstracts, and book chapters on traumatic brain injury, spasticity, and other neurological disorders. Dr. Zafonte’s textbook, Brain Injury Medicine, is regarded as the gold standard text and go-to clinical reference in the field of brain injury care. Dr. Zafonte’s work, which involves several large clinical trials, is presently funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). Dr. Zafonte is also Principal Investigator for the Football Players Health Study at Harvard University, a comprehensive research program examining the multifactorial causes that impact the health and well-being of former NFL players.

Dr. Zafonte is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Innovative Clinical Treatment Award from the North American Brain Injury Society, the Distinguished Academician Award from the Association of Academic Physiatrists, the William Fields Caveness Award from the Brain Injury Association of America, the Distinguished Member Award from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R), a Distinguished Public Service Medal from the United States Department of the Army for his work with Veterans and service members, and the John Stanley Coulter Award from the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) for professional achievements that have contributed significantly to the field of rehabilitation.

Through all of Dr. Zafonte’s endeavors—research, academic, clinical, and administrative—he has sought to improve the lives of people with traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and other catastrophic illnesses.