Redefining Quality of Life, Patient by Patient.
Dr. Dennis Matthews
Dennis J. Matthews, MD
Fischahs Chair in Pediatric Rehabilitation
Medical Director, Children's Hospital Colorado Rehabilitation Center
Children's Hospital Colorado
Professor and Chairman
Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine
Children's Hospital Colorado - A Top Program
When Dr. Dennis Matthews, who is prone to modesty and has a mischievous sense of humor, pauses before saying, “Today we are the best rehabilitation facility for kids. Our gait lab is the most advanced in the country, and all of our programs together place us easily among the top three in the country,” you know it must be true. While part of his emphasis is on “today,” there are specific features that make our physical medicine and rehabilitation program very unique.
A program just for kids
First, unlike adult patients, kids grow and change all the time. “It goes beyond having the right-sized equipment for the smallest infant on up. Children grow and change so quickly. They need a program that takes continual growth and change into account. What works today might not work tomorrow.”
Here at Children's Hospital Colorado, each patient receives a personalized program that alters and adapts to every age and stage, providing the best fit to each individual child.
A staff just for kids
Staffing is different, too, Dr. Matthews says. “Our staff is excellent, and, just as important, they’re pediatric specialists.” Working with kids expands your job description, says Dr. Matthews.
For example, “our staff works with the entire family and, equally important, the patient’s school. We’re very good at helping schools integrate our kids into the system.”
What’s more, among the staff, Dr. Matthews sees a long-term dedication to each patient and a special bond that’s hard to find at an adult facility—or even at other pediatric programs.
Advancing the field
In a field where patients must fight hard for small gains and cures are largely non-existent, Dr. Matthews describes his specialty as, “not as exciting as most other areas of medicine.” A thought with which his patients, their families and referring physicians would surely disagree.
Dr. Matthews’ work demands utter resolve and endless tenacity, combined with the ability to achieve even the smallest gains and view them as the genesis of life-altering change. “For most of my patients, there is no cure or quick fixes. But with hard work and dedication, incremental progress can radically improve their lives. We are redefining quality of life, patient by patient.”
Dr. Matthews has set the worldwide standard in pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation. He is one of only 150 U.S. doctors in his specialty, and, as a top doctor in his field, has trained over a quarter of his U.S. colleagues and more than 20 international fellows. He currently chairs Children's Hospital Colorado Rehabilitation Center, which sees more than 4,500 pediatric patients annually with acquired or congenital disabilities.
Dr. Matthews earned his medical degree at the University of Colorado at Denver and completed his residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at The University of Minnesota. He is board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine and Neuromuscular Medicine. His current studies—on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, neuromuscular diseases and spasticity management—focus on promising areas and will further his goal of making life better in every way for each child and family he treats.