Physician Features

Volunteer Spotlight: Loren Davidson, MD

The ABPMR January Volunteer Spotlight feature is Loren Davidson, MD. Dr. Davidson is a long-time volunteer for the ABPMR as an oral examiner and item writer for the PRM (Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine) Examination.

Dr. Davidson began practicing at University of California (UC) Davis Health in Sacramento in 2008, and is currently Health Sciences Clinical Professor, Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine Fellowship Director, and PM&R Residency Program Director there. He achieved his primary PM&R certification in 2007 and his subspecialty certification in PRM in 2009.

In his interview, Dr. Davidson talked about his history with PM&R and pediatric rehabilitation, the importance of collaboration within the field, and his adventurous lifestyle involving mountain biking and power tools.

Where did you go to school?

I did medical school and residency at UC Davis Health, then a fellowship at The Children’s Hospital University of Colorado from 2006-2008. I came back to UC Davis then in 2008. I grew up in Sacramento and it was never the master plan to stay and do everything at Davis, but I’ve really enjoyed being here and near extended family. It was helpful when I decided to start my own family!

Did you go into school knowing you wanted to do PM&R?

I didn’t know about the specialty until I was in medical school. Prior to medical school, I had worked and had a lot of fun as a camp counselor for United Cerebral Palsy and the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. I never linked that you could have a career in medicine and work with this population!

I went into medical school pediatrics oriented but open to whatever specialty. My father, who is a family practice physician, said: “You need to consider PM&R.” I said, “I have no idea what that is” but started looking into it and here we are.

What kind of volunteer work do you do with the ABPMR?

I started volunteering for the Part II Examination in 2013 and have been an item writer for the PRM examination since 2014. 2022 will be my ninth year as an examiner! I really enjoy the volunteer work, so I tend to volunteer for a lot. I also did the ACGME [Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education] milestone review committees for PRM in 2014 and the revision for that in 2020. There was also a subspecialty standards committee that I did in 2016.

When you first got the invite to volunteer from the ABPMR, what made you take the opportunity?

I remember taking my own Part II Examination— that was the most nerve-wracking experience I’ve had! I did see the value in it, and wanted to know more about the process and give back. I tried to never forget how nervous I was on my own exam day, and that examinees are very talented and have so much knowledge, but they are also so nervous. Anything I can do to put them at ease and extract that knowledge from them, that’s the lens I try to use.

What keeps you coming back to volunteer each year?

The part I like best is the collaboration. We [ABPMR volunteers] get siloed in our own geographic region and we know what we know for our practice. It energizes me to talk to others and find out what they’re doing and how they approach problems in their work. Especially in the peds rehab side of things, it’s such a fun group to hang out with. They’re so personable and outgoing. It reinforces that I chose the right specialty.

What have you learned as an ABPMR volunteer?

I was humbled by how much work it is to write a quality question [for examinations]. It’s relatively easy to complain about an exam [as an examinee]. Being on the other side of the exam and putting together a question that’s fair, challenging, and hits the mark is a lot of work!

Do you have any memorable volunteer stories or experiences?

Running through the rain with some other pediatric physiatrists at a Part II Examination weekend. We were walking back from dinner when it started to pour and had to run several blocks back to our hotel. We were drenched like drowned rats. None of us were prepared for that storm! The California folks don’t usually bring umbrellas or raincoats, but [Dr.] Matt [McLaughlin] should have given us some heads up. There was no cover. We just had to run through it in our dress clothes.

Part II Examination weekend after running back to the hotel in the storm

What would you say to anyone considering volunteering?

Go for it! Although it is an added commitment, it’s definitely worth it. Anything that gives you motivation, reinforces what you do, and gives you satisfaction is worth doing. The risks of burnout are real, but it’s that collaboration that keeps you invigorated to keep doing your work.

What do you do outside of work and volunteering?

I enjoy mountain biking with my two boys and anything involving power tools. We’re also remodeling a cabin with another family and that’s been a blast. It’s absolutely outside my usual day-to-day, so it’s an escape!

Dr. Davidson mountain-biking with his sons and spending time with his family

Thank you, Dr. Davidson, for all your work with the ABPMR and the time and effort you have spent giving back to PM&R and PRM. Thank you to all ABPMR volunteers for the valuable work you do and the unique talents you bring to the field!

If you are interested in volunteering for the ABPMR or exploring a new role, please visit our new volunteer page.

Originally Published: January 05, 2022