D.J. Kennedy, MD, professor and chair of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), was recently elected president of the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (AAPM&R).
Kennedy, who joined VUMC in 2018, is a dual board-certified physician (in PM&R and Sports Medicine), and his clinical practice focuses mainly on interventional and noninterventional spine care. Before serving as president, he had many roles within the AAPM&R, including being the inaugural chair of the Inclusion & Engagement Strategic Coordinating Committee, which focused on enhancing diversity and inclusion throughout the Academy.
“The AAPM&R is the primary medical society for PM&R physicians, and it leads the advancement of physiatry’s impact throughout health care,” Kennedy said. “I am honored to serve in this role.”
Kennedy received a Bachelor of Art degree in Biology at Florida State University and his medical degree from the University of Florida. His postgraduate training began with a transitional internship at Tulane University, and then a PM&R residency at the University of Washington, where he became chief resident. He then became a Sports and Spine Fellow at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago/Northwestern University.
Following his training, Kennedy held faculty positions in PM&R at the University of Florida and Stanford University, where he was residency program director.
Kennedy was previously president of the multispecialty International Pain and Spine Intervention Society from 2021 to 2023. He currently sits on the board of directors of the North American Spine Society as the inaugural Director of the Strategic Growth Council. He is also active in the Middle Tennessee community, as he sits on the board of directors of Nashville Public Television.
Kennedy also has held multiple editorial positions and is currently the executive editor of Interventional Pain Medicine and deputy editor of The Spine Journal. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts, chapters and posters, and has given more than 150 national and international talks, including keynote lectures in Austria, England, South Korea, Thailand and Australia.
He has won numerous research awards, including the Henry Farfan Award for outstanding contributions in spine-related basic science research through the North American Spine Society.