Profession: Physiatrist, Board Certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Physiatrist defined: Medical specialty concerned with diagnosing, evaluating, and treating patients with physical disabilities. The primary goal of the physiatrist is to achieve maximum restoration of physical, psychological, social and vocational function through comprehensive rehabilitation.

Appointments:  Managing Practice Partner, Desert Pain and Rehabilitation Associates Chief Resident, Dept of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Tufts–New England Medical Clinic Clinical Instructor, Tufts University School of Medicine

Practicing: 11 years

Hometown: Rancho Mirage

In this issue, we are pleased to profile Dr. Albert Lai who was nominated by his peers. Dr. Lai is recognized for his integrative approach to patient care. He promotes multi-modal rehabilitation working with acupuncturists, naturopathic doctors, physical therapists, and a variety of mind-body therapies.

Why did you choose your profession?
I liked the “team approach” of optimizing quality of life for patients. The physiatrist directs a comprehensive rehabilitation team of professionals that may include physical therapists, occupational therapists, recreational therapists, rehabilitation nurses, psychologists, social workers, speech-language pathologists, and others.

What is your philosophy on integrative health care?
Our specialty realizes that there is a strong connection between mind, body and soul. This is something we learn in school. Our primary care is functional elements. Because many of our clients are referred to us when nothing else has worked, we are taught to think outside the realm of conventional western medicine and are therefore familiar with all different modalities.

Why did you choose to start your practice here in the Desert?
Whole body care is community specific. I wanted a large pool of practitioners from different modalities with which to work on patient care. The array of health care resources in the Desert is a fundamental part of our community.

Your best health advice?
Instant gratification is often a patient’s primary goal, so taking a pill to alleviate symptoms is appealing. I encourage patients to consider that although multi-disciplinary care may take longer, it can deliver significantly greater results in the long run.

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