Board Director News

In Remembrance of John Francis Ditunno, Jr., MD

The ABPMR was saddened to learn of the recent death of John Francis Ditunno, Jr., MD. Dr. Ditunno passed away on March 18, 2024, at Waverly Heights in Gladwyne PA at the age of 91. Dr. Ditunno was a pioneering Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician who served as an ABPMR Board Director from 1972-1984 and as Board Chair from 1981-1984. The ABPMR is grateful for Dr. Ditunno’s service and dedication to the field of PM&R over the course of his career.

Dr. Ditunno was a graduate of St. Joseph's Prep, St Joseph's University & Hahnemann University School of Medicine. He completed his PM&R residency at the University of Pennsylvania and achieved board certification in PM&R in 1968. He chaired the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University for nearly 30 years, earning an endowed chair recognition, and continued working clinically into his 70s. He co-founded the Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center of the Delaware Valley at Thomas Jefferson University and directed the center from 1979 to 2006. He authored well over 100 scholarly publications and book chapters and continued to teach and publish professionally into his 80s. In 2019, he was honored by the Thomas Jefferson community with the establishment of the John F. Ditunno Jr., MD Rehabilitation Medicine Endowed Research Fund.

In the 1990s, Dr. Ditunno took a sabbatical from work to learn sculpting in stone in Italy. He continued to study sculpture over the ensuing years and melded his medical background and artistic interest to sculpt figures in wheelchairs, striving to convey the strength and hope he saw in his patients. Some of his work is displayed in spinal cord treatment centers in India, Canada, Italy, and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Dr. Ditunno exemplified professionalism in PM&R through his commitment to teaching, research, and patient care. His service to his patients and his profession will always be remembered. You can read more about Dr. Ditunno’s legacy and full obituary here.

Originally Published: April 08, 2024