David Xavier Cifu

David Xavier Cifu

David Xavier Cifu, M.D.
Born July 17, 1962 (1962-07-17)
New York City, New York,
United States
Alma mater Boston University

David Xavier Cifu, M.D. (born July 17, 1962, NYC, New York) is an American physiatrist,[1] researcher, and medical educator. He is the Chairman and Herman J. Flax M.D. professor[2] of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia, Staff Physiatrist at the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Administration Medical Center (HHM-VAMC),[3] Executive Director of the VCU-Center for Rehabilitation Sciences and Engineering[4] and National Director of PM&R Services in the Department of Veterans Affairs.[5]


Early life

David Michael Xavier Cifu was born in New York City, NY on July 17, 1962 to Rosa Schwarz Cifu (d. 1999), of German heritage, and John Cifu, of Italian heritage. His mother practiced for more than 30 years as an inpatient oncology nurse and his father worked for more than 30 years as an electrical engineer for Sperry Unisys. Cifu is the middle child of three sons, older brother John, a comptroller in Florida, and younger brother Doug, a corporate attorney in New Jersey.

Cifu spent the first three years of his life living in New York City (Queens) and then in May 1965, Cifu’s family moved to Syosset, Long Island. He attended Syosset High School [6] <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syosset_High_School> and graduated as a National Merit Scholar.

Education and Professional Life

Cifu began the combined BA/MD 6-year medical program at Boston University (BU)[7] in 1980 minoring in Religion. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1986. During his second year at BU he met and began dating Ingrid Annemarie Prosser, also in the 6-year medical program there (class of 1987). During his years at BU he volunteered for the Special Olympics and the BUCEP program for adults with mental retardation. He received mentorship from members of the BU Department of PM&R [1], specifically Susan Biener-Bergman, MD [2] and Murray Freed, MD, that convinced him to commit himself to PM&R as a specialty. After receiving his M.D. in June 1986, he began his post-graduate training at the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM)[8] in July 1986. Cifu married Ingrid Annemarie Prosser, M.D. on June 22, 1986. He began his internship in Transitional Medicine in July 1986 and then moved on to his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation from 1986-1990. His early mentors in Houston included S. Jan Garrison, MD, Barry Smith, MD, William Donovan, MD and Martin Grabois, MD, who influenced his commitment to academia. After residency, he joined the faculty of the BCM (Departments of PM&R and Restorative Neurology) as a Staff Physiatrist at the Houston VAMC in July 1990.

In August 1991, Cifu was recruited to join the faculty of the Department of PM&R[9] at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)[10] as Medical Director of the Rehabilitation and Research Center (RRC).[11] In 1992, he received his initial research grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)[12] for the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems program (TBIMS)[13] and has since successfully competed for a total of 30 grants totaling nearly $50 million in total funding in PM&R research. He was awarded the Baylor College of Medicine's Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1996. In 1998, at the age of 36, Cifu became the Chairman and Professor of the Department of PM&R at VCU.[14] He has been honored with best teaching awards from the VCU School of Medicine on multiple occasions and received the School of Medicine's Clinical Mentorship Award in 2005. He has been named to the “Best Physicians in Richmond, VA” thirteen times since 1998.[15] Cifu has published 168 journal articles, 66 research abstracts, and 20 book chapters/books, and has delivered more than 430 lectures and symposia across the world.

In 2005, Cifu was instrumental in developing the VCU Center for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering,[16] a 4 school, 8 department research consortium that supports nearly $16 million/year in grant/foundation funding and presently serves as its Executive Director. He has been also active on the national level for PM&R, serving as a volunteer member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation since 1988 AAPM&R,[1] including as a member of its Board of Governors from 2000–2009 and President from 2007-8.[17] He joined the Veterans Health Administration as Chief of PM&R services at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VAMC in 2006, became Deputy Director of the PM&R Program Office of the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2009, and has been National Director of the PM&R Program Office of the Department of Veterans Affairs since 2010.

In 2011, he co-authored the patient self-help book Overcoming Post-Deployment Syndrome: A Six Step Mission to Health [3] to help returning servicemembers and Veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraqi Wars with persistent symptoms from TBI, Pain, PTSD, depression and related sequelae of combat.

Family life

In 1993 Dave and Ingrid had their first daughter, Gabriella (Brie), and then in 1996 their second daughter, Isabelle (Belle), was born. They currently reside in Midlothian, Virginia.


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