headshot of Dr. Gabrielle Hayduk-Costa

Did you know the specialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) is medicine’s best kept secret? SEAMO-funded specialist Dr. Gabrielle Hayduk-Costa explains, “We work with patients with impaired function as a result of primarily neurologic and musculoskeletal causes and work on goals that enrich their everyday lives. We have a unique skillset in recognizing the interplay between a person’s impairments and various personal and social factors that impact the ways in which those impairments will affect them.” 

Dr. Hayduk-Costa has been in Kingston and at Queen’s since September 2022 after completing a Bachelor of Science with specialization in Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa. She went on to Dalhousie University for medical school and remained in eastern Canada for residency in PM&R. Dr. Hayduk-Costa also completed a Master of Education in Curriculum Studies for Health Interprofessionals at Acadia University. “I practice in acquired brain injury and spinal cord injury rehabilitation and do outpatient electromyography (EMG). In addition to tutoring clinical skills for the MD program and helping to facilitate academic half days for our residents, I also recently took on the role of academic advisor/coach for some of our new residents,” she says, and also describes her interest and passion in medical education: “During my Master’s, I sought to understand more about residents’ academic half days and discovered its importance in not only knowledge acquisition, but also professional identity formation. I’m excited to explore some of those ideas further and dig into the role of informal communities in resident leaning and wellbeing.” 

And what is the key to the success of PM&R physicians? Dr. Hayduk-Costa says it is the interprofessional nature of the work. “We work in interdisciplinary teams, often including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, social workers, prosthetists, orthotists and others,” she describes. In the future of her field, Dr. Hayduk-Costa would like to see adequate staffing for these fulsome rehabilitation teams and also a new attitude towards accessibility. “Many of my patients have functional impairments exacerbated by barriers in their built environment, or due to societal attitudes towards disability. I think there’s been a greater understanding in the community at large about ideas of ableism and I hope that leads to greater incorporation of universal accessibility in new endeavors,” she shares.

What you might not know about Dr. Hayduk-Costa is that she is passionate about the impact that sleep has on general wellbeing and recovery from illness – an area she hopes to explore more in her future work. “In addition to the myriad causes of poor sleep that are experienced by the general population, many of my patients have additional contributors such as sleep-disordered breathing, spasticity, neuropathic pain, impaired mobility, or cognitive impairment” she explains. “Working through those barriers takes time and often can’t be properly addressed in a general outpatient follow-up. One of my goals is to start a clinic specifically aimed at addressing sleep in our rehab populations, and in particular to utilize non-pharmacologic strategies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I).”

In the meantime, where can you find Dr. Hayduk-Costa in her free time? She is a certified yoga teacher who completed her training in Bali so she can usually be found practicing movement! “Whether it be running, dancing, lifting weights, practicing yoga or hiking with my partner and our dog – I love to be on the move.”