Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Letter From The Chair - February 2016

Posted by delicia on February 9, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

It is my pleasure to write this letter providing a brief update on the activities and accomplishments of the rehabilitation medicine department at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital - Columbia and Cornell.

Our growth continues, and our department will soon exceed 30 full-time physician faculty, with an additional 25 full-time faculty in our Physical and Occupational Therapy programs, two full-time stem cell laboratory scientists, and several faculty with dual appointments in the Columbia Fu School of Engineering and Applied Science and in Rehabilitation Medicine. This full-time faculty is complemented by our faculty based at our affiliates, including the Hospital for Special Surgery, Helen Hayes Hospital, Blythedale Children’s Hospital, and Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, as well as voluntary faculty based in the community. It is an impressive team, and we anticipate further growth in the coming years.

On the clinical front, we now provide outpatient services at nine locations in the New York City vicinity. We are expanding our spine services in the new Spine Hospital as part of NYP/Allen Hospital, and the new Weill Cornell Spine Center scheduled to open on 59th St. later this year. Our sports medicine and women’s health programs continue to grow, and we are expanding our outpatient neurological rehabilitation and cancer rehabilitation services. Pediatric PM&R is another priority area, with a recently established new practice location in our Tarrytown site.

Our partnership with the Hebrew Home in Riverdale for subacute rehabilitation has grown steadily. This program provides full-time on-site physiatrists as the attending physician for subacute patients – a model that is unusual but may grow more important as cutbacks affect acute inpatient rehabilitation. This program is now playing a key role as Medicare implements bundled payments for total joint replacements.  

We received ACGME approvals of both our Pediatric Rehabilitation and our Sports Medicine fellowships within the past year. Our PM&R residency program remains highly competitive among medical student applicants, and is adding a selective rotation at Weill Bugando Medical Center in Tanzania this spring to provide residents with opportunities in global health. Our expanded involvement in the medical school curricula at both Weill Cornell Medical College and the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons is now reflected in a sustained increase in the number of graduates of these two prestigious medical schools pursuing careers in PM&R.

Lastly, our research program continues its growth, with a focus on stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, rehabilitation engineering, stroke recovery and rehabilitation, and outcomes research in sports medicine and spine care. Current funding sources include NIH, NSF, New York State, partnerships with industry, and several private foundations. Recent grants include:

  • Active Tendon-Driven Orthosis for Prehensile Manipulation After Stroke (NSF)
  • Robotics for Ambulation and Assistance of Spinal Cord Injured (NY State)
  • Tethered Pelvic Assist Device (TPAD) and Epidural Stimulation for Recovery of Standing in SCI (NY State)
  • Phase II Clinical Trial of a Unique MAO-B Inhibitor for Post-Stroke Motor Recovery (Dart Neuroscience)

Our resident research program provides a structured system for involving residents in research during their PM&R residency program and assuring appropriate mentorship.

Our department was again recognized by US News as a top rehabilitation program in 2015, and our hospital was ranked as #7 on the “Honor List” nationally. Similarly, our PM&R residency program is ranked within the top 10 nationally by Doximity. I would like to personally thank the faculty and staff of the department for all of their hard work, and applaud these designations and their many other accomplishments.

As you can see, these are exciting times for rehabilitation medicine at NYP-Columbia-Cornell!


Joel Stein, MD

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