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Mass General Brigham Names Ross D. Zafonte, DO, President of Spaulding Rehabilitation

2 minute read
Dr. Ross Zafonte, President of Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

Mass General Brigham today announced that Ross D. Zafonte, DO, has been named the next President of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and its network of facilities (SR). Zafonte was selected after a national search process that included an outstanding international field of rehabilitation medicine leaders. 

Ross has extensive knowledge of Spaulding and the broader Mass General Brigham system as a result of the leadership positions he has held across our enterprise. Ross’s system vision, bolstered by his strong and collaborative relationships at all levels, will ensure rehabilitation services and Spaulding remain central to our vision of a patient-centered integrated academic healthcare system.

Ron Walls, MD
Chief Operating Officer
Mass General Brigham

“A brilliant clinician, innovative scientist and exceptional leader, Ross’s steadfast commitment to patients, families and all members of the team distinguishes him as an empathic, supportive, and highly effective physician executive. In all aspects of patient care, teaching, advocacy, and research, he inspires those around him to work together to improve the lives of patients from around the world who are facing rehabilitation challenges,” Walls added.

Zafonte has served most recently as interim President of Spaulding, in addition to his long service as Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs, Research and Education at SR, Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Chair of PM&R at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). Zafonte also serves as Earle P. and Ida S. Charlton Professor and Chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.

“It is a tremendous honor to be entrusted with stewarding Spaulding into the future. I am so proud of our dedicated clinicians, researchers, trainees, and staff, who continue to be the foundation of everything we do for our patients,” said Zafonte. “Spaulding is a vital part of the Mass General Brigham system’s goal to be a leading place of discovery and healing across the world.”  

Zafonte is an internationally recognized authority in traumatic brain injury—his textbook on brain injury care is considered the standard in the field. He is currently directing several large clinical trials focused on understanding the mechanisms of recovery after brain and spinal cord injury. His research is extensively funded by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research.

Recognized internationally with numerous clinical and leadership awards, Zafonte received the Walter Zeiter Award by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and the Association of Academic Physiatrists Distinguished Academician Award. Over the last decade, he has received several other awards including the William Caveness Award for Outstanding Clinical Care and Research from the Brain Injury Association of America, the Moody Prize for Brain Injury Research and Care, and the Innovative Clinical Treatment Award from the North American Brain Injury Society. 

In addition to serving as President of SR, Zafonte will continue in his roles as Chief of PM&R at Spaulding and MGH, and Chair of PM&R at BWH. In these roles, he will ensure broader and deeper collaboration, both academically and clinically, for rehabilitation medicine across Spaulding and the entire system. 

Media Contact

Mass General Brigham:
Bridget Perry
Tim Sullivan

About Mass General Brigham

Mass General Brigham is an integrated academic health care system, uniting great minds to solve the hardest problems in medicine for our communities and the world. Mass General Brigham connects a full continuum of care across a system of academic medical centers, community and specialty hospitals, a health insurance plan, physician networks, community health centers, home care, and long-term care services. Mass General Brigham is a nonprofit organization committed to patient care, research, teaching, and service to the community. In addition, Mass General Brigham is one of the nation’s leading biomedical research organizations with several Harvard Medical School teaching hospitals. For more information, please visit