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Portrait of Dr. Leighton Chan
Leighton Chan, MD, MPH

Chief, Rehabilitation Medicine
Acting Chief Scientific Officer

Rehabilitation Medicine

BA, Dartmouth College
MD, University of California, Los Angeles
MS, Rehabilitation Science, University of Washington
MPH, University of Washington


Portrait of Dr. Leighton Chan
Leighton Chan, MD, MPH

Chief, Rehabilitation Medicine
Acting Chief Scientific Officer

Rehabilitation Medicine

BA, Dartmouth College
MD, University of California, Los Angeles
MS, Rehabilitation Science, University of Washington
MPH, University of Washington


Dr. Leighton Chan's research interests include health services research, quality of care given to individuals with disabilities, and brain injury.

Dr. Chan is the chief of the Rehabilitation Medicine Department. He was selected as the Acting Chief Scientific Officer in March 2023.

Dr. Chan received his BA degree from Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, with a major in political science. He graduated from the UCLA School of Medicine in 1990.

Chan then completed postgraduate training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Washington. During his training, he also obtained a Master of Science degree in rehabilitation science. Subsequently, he completed a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Fellowship, earned a master of public health degree at the University of Washington School of Public Health and was a Congressional Fellow for the Honorable Jim McDermott (Washington).

From 1994 to 2006, Dr. Chan was on the faculty of the University of Washington's Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. He is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

He has published more than 135 peer reviewed articles and numerous book chapters.

See his Intramural Research Program bio page.

Stout, N, Silver, JK, Raj, VS, Rowland, JH, Gerber, LH, Cheville, AL, Ness, KK, Radomski, MV, Nitkin, R, Stubblefield, MD, Morris, GS, Acevedo, A, Brandon, Z, Braveman, B, Cunningham, S, Gilchrist, L, Jones, L, Padgett, L, Wolf, T, Winters-Stone, K, Campbell, G, Hendricks, J, Perkins, K, Chan, L. Towards a National Initiative in Cancer Rehabilitation: Recommendations from a Subject Matter Expert Group. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2016;97:2006-2015.

Keyser, R, Christensen, EJ, Chin, L, Woolstenhulme, J, Drinkard, B, Quinn, A, Connors, G, Weir, NA, Nathan, S, Chan, L. Changes in Fatigability Following Intense Aerobic Exercise Training in Patients with Interstitial Lung Disease. Resp Medicine. 2015;109, 517-25.

Jarvik, JG, Gold, LS, Comstock, BA, Heagerty, PJ, Rundell, SD, Turner, JA, Avins, AL, Zoya, B, Bresnahan, BW, Friedly, JL, James, K, Kessler, L, Nedeljkovic, SS, Nerenz, DR, Shi, X, Sullivan, SD, Chan, L, Schwalb, JM, Deyo, RA. Association of early imaging in older adults with back pain with clinical outcomes. JAMA. 2015;313(11):1143-1153.

McDonough, CM, Jette, AM, Ni, PS, Bogusz, K, Marfeo, EE, Brandt, DE, Chan, L, Meterko, M, Haley, SM, Rasch, EK. Development of a Self-Report Physical Function Instrument for Disability Assessment: Item Pool Construction and Factor Analysis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013;94:1653-60.

Chan, L, Chin, L, Kennedy, M, Woolstenhulme, J, Nathan, S, Weinstein, AA, Connors, G, Weir, N, Drinkard B, Keyser, R. Benefits of Intensive Treadmill Exercise Training On Cardiorespiratory Function and Quality of Life in Patients with Pulmonary Hypertension. Chest. 2013;142:333-43.

Campbell, A, Martin, B, Friedly, J, Chan, L. Management Patterns in Acute Low Back Pain: The Role of Physical Therapy. Spine, 2012;37:769-74.

Gulley S, Rasch EK, Chan, L. The complex web of health: Relationships between chronic conditions, disability, and health services. Public Health Reports, 2011;126:495-508.

Gulley S, Rasch EK, Chan, L. If we build it, who will come? Working age adults with chronic health care needs and the medical home. Medical Care. 2011;49(2):149-155.

Chan, L, Wang, H, Terdiman, J, Hoffman, J, Ciol, MA, Lattimore, BF, Sidney, S, Quesenberry, C, Lu, Q, Sandel, ME. Disparities in Outpatient and Home Health Service Utilization Following Stroke: Results of a 9-Year Cohort Study in Northern California. PM&R 2009;1:997-1003.

Jarvik, JG, Comstock, BA, Kliot, M, Chan, L, Heagerty, PJ, Hollingworth, W, Kerrigan, CL, Deyo, RA. The Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosis and Treatment Trial: A Randomized Trial of Surgery versus Non-surgical Therapy. Lancet 2009;374:1074-81.

Relyea-Chew, A, Hollingworth, W, Chan, L; Comstock, BA, Overstreet, KA, Jarvik, JG. Personal Bankruptcy After Traumatic Brain or Spinal Cord Injury: The Role of Medical Debt. Arch of Phys Med Rehabil, 2009;90:413-9.

Sandel, ME, Wang, H, Terdiman, J, Hoffman, JM, Ciol, MA, Sidney, S, Quesenberry, C, Lu, Q, Chan, L. Disparities in Stroke Rehabilitation: Results of a Study in an Integrated Health System in Northern California. PM&R 2009;1:29-40.

Harvey RL, Winstein CJ; Everest Trial Group. Design for the Everest randomized trial of cortical stimulation and rehabilitation for arm function following stroke. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2009;23(1):32-44.

Friedly, J, Chan, L, Deyo, RA. Geographic Variations in Epidural Steroid Injection Use in the Medicare Population. JBJS 2008;90:1730-7.

Flum, DR, Dellinger, EP, Broeckel, J, Cheadle, A , Chan, L. Early Mortality Among Medicare Beneficiaries Undergoing Bariatric Surgical Procedures. Lead Article, JAMA 2005;294:1903-1908.

Flum, DR, Cheadle, A, Prela, C, Dellinger, EP, Chan, L. Bile Duct Injury During Cholecystectomy and Survival in Medicare Beneficiaries JAMA. 2003;290:2168-2173.

National Emphysema Treatment Trial Research Group. Cost Effectiveness of Lung-Volume-Reduction Surgery for Patients with Severe Emphysema. NEJM 2003;348:2092-102.

National Emphysema Treatment Trial Research Group. A Randomized Trial Comparing Lung-Volume-Reduction Surgery with Medical Therapy for Severe Emphysema. NEJM 2003;348-2059-73.

Flum, D, Dellinger, EP, Cheadle, A, Chan, L, Koepsell, TE. Intraoperative Cholangiography and Risk of Common Bile Duct Injury During Cholecystectomy. Lead Article, JAMA 2003;289:1639-1644.

The National Emphysema Treatment Trial Research Group. Patients at High Risk of Death After Lung Volume Reduction Surgery. NEJM 2001;345:1075-1083.

Gan, SC, Beaver, SK*, Houck, P, MacLehose, R, Lawson, HM, Chan, L. Treatment of Acute Myocardial Infarction and Mortality Among Women and Men. NEJM 2000;343:8-15. *Co-first authors.

Chan, L, Doctor, J, MacLehose, R, Lawson, H, Rosenblatt, R, Baldwin, LM, Jha, A. Do Medicare Patients with Disabilities Receive Preventive Services? A Population Based Study. Arch of Phys Med Rehabil 1999;80:642-646.

Rosenblatt, R, Hart, G, Baldwin, LM, Chan, L, Schneeweiss, R. The Generalist Role of Specialty Physicians: Is there a Hidden System of Primary Care? JAMA, 1998;279:1364-70.

Chan, L, Koepsell, T, Deyo, RA, Esselman, P, Haselkorn, J, Lowery, JP, Stolov, WC. The Effect of Medicare's Payment System on Patient Length of Stay, Charges, and Payments in Rehabilitation Hospitals. Special Article, NEJM, 1997;337:978-985.

  • NIH Director's Award, 2018
  • NIH Clinical Center CEO's Award, 2018
  • National Institute of Nursing Research Director’s Excellence Award, 2017
  • Debbra Flomenhoft Humanitarian Award, 2017
  • NIH Clinical Center Director's Award, 2015
  • Distinguished Academician Award from the Association of Academic Physiatrists, 2014
  • Distinguished Public Service Award from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2014
  • Rene Jaheil Award for research excellence, 2014
  • NIH Director's Award, 2013
  • Alfred Soffer Award for research excellence, 2011
  • Chattanooga Award for research excellence, 2010
  • NIH Director's Award, 2010
  • NIH Clinical Center Director's Award, 2008
  • Elected to the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine), 2007
  • Outstanding Teacher Award from the University of Washington School of Medicine, 2002

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This page last updated on 05/12/2023

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