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Pitt’s Dr. Gwendolyn Sowa Elected to National Academy of Medicine

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Sheila Davis

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PITTSBURGH - Gwendolyn Sowa, M.D., Ph.D., endowed professor and chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and director of the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), considered one of the highest honors in health care and medicine.


Sowa is among 100 new members recognized for outstanding contributions to the health sciences and public health.


"This is an incredible honor, and I am humbled to be in such great company. I am so very grateful to my many mentors, colleagues, collaborators, students, and family who have helped me throughout my career,” Sowa said. “I now look forward to my service through NAM with the hope of having an impact that can be farther reaching than any individual contribution."


Gwendolyn Sowa releaseNAM addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine and related policy and inspires positive actions across sectors.


“I’m thrilled that Dr. Sowa, a dedicated faculty leader and mentor to so many, will join the prestigious National Academy of Medicine,” said Pitt Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences Anantha Shekhar. “I’m confident that her dedication to research, compassionate approach to caring for patients and commitment to diversity and inclusion will lead to invaluable contributions in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation as well as health care in general.” Congratulations to Dr. Sowa for this well-deserved honor.”


Sowa received her Ph.D. in biochemistry and M.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed residency training in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University.  She has served as a clinician scientist in Pitt’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation since 2005. Sowa is also co-director of the Ferguson Laboratory for Orthopaedic and Spine Research at the University of Pittsburgh and holds joint appointments in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine, and Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering.


Sowa leads a diverse group of scientists including engineers, physiatrists, physical therapists, molecular biologists, orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons working together to develop innovative treatments for spine conditions and low back pain. The goal of her research is to develop individualized treatment programs for low back pain. She also focuses on mechanobiology of the intervertebral disc and molecular biomarkers of low back pain. 


CAPTION: Dr. Gwendolyn Sowa