Our rehabilitation professionals see the individual struggle behind every patient case. Together, we help patients overcome challenges to embrace the hope and possibilities of everyday life. Through profound respect and tailored programs, we meet patients where they stand emotionally, culturally, psychosocially and physically.
The ultimate goal is to restore the individual to an independent, productive and satisfying life. The work is challenging and demanding, involving some of the highest-acuity conditions in the world. This includes patients recovering from strokes, cardiac surgeries and organ transplants. We also excel in more common populations, such as orthopedic, spine and neurological rehabilitation. Whether it’s adult or pediatric, inpatient or outpatient, we work to minimize disability and achieve the highest level of function.
With over 50 years’ experience, we’re one of the largest and longest-standing rehabilitation programs in the nation. We’re also one of the largest rehabilitation teaching hospitals in the country. Our department believes in the value of one-on-one treatment. We’re recognized as dramatically enhancing quality outcomes, reducing length of stay and improving functional recovery. Colleagues collaborate with a team unrivaled in expertise and compassion. That includes physicians, nurses, social workers and other health care providers, who not only value but rely upon our achievements. Together, we improve the total well-being of our patients.
Many professionals join us to explore the full spectrum of patient populations, from inpatient and outpatient to cardiopulmonary to pediatric and adult. Therapists can periodically rotate or move from site to site to get an all-around patient education. Colleagues also enjoy our two-track advancement model: the academic clinical specialist track and the leadership administrative track. We estimate it would take over 30 years to experience every clinical role at every location. We also give you the freedom to focus your passion on a particular clinical interest. As part of our team, you may receive the chance to teach in our PT and OT student programs—representing not only an exciting career opportunity but the chance to grow by becoming a mentor. Join us to produce success stories, from patient, colleague and personal perspectives.
Assessment and treatment takes place in three types of settings:
Who We Are:
Our physical therapists (PTs) collaborate with the brightest minds in our field to achieve feats unachievable at many other hospitals. Many of us are published authors, certified specialists and teachers. We assess and provide treatment for all four of the body’s major systems—musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary and integumentary (skin)—to restore and maximize mobility. We implement comprehensive treatments tailored to meet the patient’s needs using advanced technology and best-practice techniques.
Our setting provides high quality one-on-one patient therapies. We also utilize a talented support team of physical therapy assistants, assisting in high-quality therapies under the direct supervision of PTs. Our impressive work facilities include exercise equipment, treatment space, orthotics, lower extremity technologies and specialized equipment such as the body weight support system for gait training called the Lite Gait® and the Balance Master.
Our occupational therapists (OTs) see the full potential in every patient. Our team includes some of the brightest and most accomplished minds in our field—achieving outcomes unheard of at many other hospitals. Many of us are published authors, certified specialists and teachers. We help patients work through the physiological and psychological sequelae of disease, trauma and the resulting impairments and disabilities. We evaluate the impact of physical, cognitive, perceptual or psychosocial factors on an individual’s ability to function independently.
We achieve our exemplary outcomes through one-on-one treatment programs, which include self-care training and education for patients and families. The ultimate goal is to maximize the individual’s level of function at home, at work and during leisure activities. OTs receive phenomenal mentoring and development opportunities. Possibilities for further advancement include, as available, positions for advanced clinicians and supervisors. We also utilize a talented support team of occupational therapy assistants, assisting in high-quality therapies under the direct supervision of OTs. Unique to NewYork-Presbyterian, our work can also include the “first applications” of new and innovative technologies (such as our groundbreaking neuro rehabilitative technologies).
Our speech language pathologists (SLPs) help patients experiencing serious impairments connect with the world around them. Through compassion, skill and dedication, we watch them flourish into the most effective communicators they can be. Clinically, we assess the impact of communication or cognitive difficulties on the patient’s ability to function independently. Then we address challenges involving memory and attention, comprehension (reading, writing and auditory), word finding, weakness in facial musculature and speech production. Many of our colleagues also work with individuals experiencing swallowing difficulties.
We are a CARF accredited, self-managed discipline. Our SLPs employ incredibly innovative therapies, including videofluoroscopy and flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing with sensory testing for the assessment of dysphasia. Our leadership is renowned in our field and sits on the boards of many professional associations. For example, one of the managers at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center is also the Vice President of the New York City Speech-Language Hearing Association.
Our Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialists foster healing through the power of joy and play. Together, we develop personalized activity plans for patients in inpatient and acute therapy environments. The goal is to channel patients’ physical, social and emotional needs into functional rehabilitation goals. We empower patients to develop new, or return to old, leisure activities as part of rehabilitation. Sports, crafts, music, relaxation techniques and discussion groups are just some of the tools in our arsenal.
We work closely with occupational and physical therapists to provide mobility and movement groups that focus on endurance, flexibility and education. Special events can include concerts performed by the Juilliard School, community trips, holiday parties, pet therapy and picnic events.
Where We Work:
At NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital, our team of over 10 therapists enjoy a warm community focus—with outstanding general therapy opportunities and several specialized units. For example, our inpatient Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) Unit was one of the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s first facilities to provide specialized care for elderly patients. In 2009, we expanded to 35 inpatient beds and receive admissions from nursing homes, assisted living facilities and private residences. Our interdisciplinary team specializes in the evaluation and treatment of geriatrics with various medical and surgical diagnoses.
We offer therapeutic recreation programs every day in our psychiatric nursing unit, helping patients who are dually diagnosed with psychiatric and substance abuse disorders. Current group activities include movement group, crafts, men’s and women’s groups, creative expression, feeling group, relaxation, current events and group walks. There is also a game room and a small gym available for patient use.
At NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, we advocate for individuals and provide the highest-quality care for patients experiencing pain or loss. We are an incredibly large department, housing over 75 PTs and 35 OTs (and that’s just the beginning). This makes for therapist teams with an incredibly wide range of experience—from 20 years in practice to new graduates. We believe in advancing both the science and the practice of rehabilitation. With the Columbia University Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Programs onsite, we offer an undisputed advantage to experienced professionals who’d like to teach during or after the workday.
Our faculty is renowned and active in the hospital. Colleagues collaborate with physicians, nurses and scientists. NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center is also a Stroke Center, drawing many patients who recover from strokes and require innovative rehabilitation. For example, professor Glen Gillen EdD, OTR, FAOTA, is a nationally renowned resource for stroke treatment. He actively collaborates with our teams in the delivery of stroke therapies. He’s published extensively and written a widely referenced book, titled Stroke Rehabilitation: A Function-Based Approach.
Many of our facilities overlook the Palisades, Hudson River and George Washington Bridge. The views can be so breathtaking in this area, they’ve inspired a children’s book entitled Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge. The book stars the familiar red lighthouse at the base of the George Washington Bridge—well-known to children, colleagues and patients throughout the West Side of Manhattan.
At NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital, Physical Therapists provide individualized inpatient and outpatient care for over 70% of the hospital's post-surgical population. We primarily support geriatric patients following orthopedic surgeries, including spine, knee and shoulder procedures. As a New York State Department of Health certified Stroke Center, our Occupational Therapists support a high volume of swallowing rehabilitation cases, helping patients regain independence and restore quality of life.
NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital provides a comprehensive Cardiac Rehabilitation Program for patients who have experienced heart attack, coronary bypass surgery, or other complex interventions. Enrolled patients typically visit the Medical Diagnostics Unit three times per week for three months of supervised exercise therapy, nutritional guidance, and risk factor modification.
Therapists at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital work closely to ensure pediatric patients regain as natural a lifestyle as possible. Our team of over 15 therapists provides therapeutic care to patients from birth to 25 years of age, comprising the full range of both children and adolescents. Many of our specialists work in the ICUs, including the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units. Our department has earned an outstanding reputation for the care of babies with torticollis (characterized by involuntary contractions of the neck muscles) and bracioplexis injuries (affecting the shoulder and upper arm). Our specialists also achieve in The Sue and John L. Weinberg Cystic Fibrosis Center, which is among the top five centers in median lung function in the US.
A major focus of therapy is on the care of children who’ve had surgery. These children often require training in the use of assistive devices such as crutches, walkers or canes. These patients also have cognitive and behavioral needs. The goal is to help the child become more mobile and independent. Often using play as a method of therapy, we help a range of patients (from babies to teens) to reach personal milestones. In a unique collaborative program, SLPs work with the OTs in gastrointestinal, pulmonary and medicine services to perform swallowing evaluations and facilitate safe feeding in children.
Our therapists enjoy a full world of therapeutic career directions, including adult and pediatric sub-specialties. Our department is massive: we house over 100 therapists, including some of the largest teams of PTs and OTs in the hospital. That also includes a large group of supervisors, senior therapists and clinical specialists offering mentoring and clinical guidance.
Our orthopedic, hand therapy and Spine Center programs are well known and many of our therapists are certified (or McKenzie-certified for spine) in these clinical areas. Our vestibular, foot and ankle, lymphedema and balance programs are also well-recognized. We utilize incredible technology like robotic devices and neurostimulators in neurological rehabilitation. But that’s just a taste of what we offer. Our burn rehabilitation unit at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center is legendary. The William Randolph Hearst Burn Center is one of the largest and busiest burn centers in the nation. Occupational and physical therapists, recreation specialists and research staff team together to help adult and pediatric burn survivors reintegrate, heal and adjust. Our work treating the survivors of September 11th has been praised worldwide.
We boast active staff and student educational programs, with a commitment to mentoring and continuous learning at all levels. Our departments are Planetree-certified. We are committed to one-on-one care, honoring the principles of our department and our hospital. Embracing the mental, physical and spiritual aspects of healing, we facilitate more effective rehabilitative possibilities.
We leverage the latest and greatest developments in our field, including robotics and functional electrical stimulation. Just a few examples include:
Awards, Presentations and Publications
Members of our team are regularly recognized and rewarded inside and outside the hospital. Here are just a few examples.
Inside the Hospital:
Delia Gorga, Administrative Director of Rehabilitative Medicine, was recently honored with the President’s Circle Leadership Award. According to her colleagues, Delia’s ability to manage change and create a unified team is nothing less than “masterful.” This hospital-wide award is just one fantastic example of how all colleagues rally and support our rehabilitative professionals.
Outside the Hospital:
In 2009, several of our therapists gave an innovative presentation entitled “Alternative Techniques: Pilates, Yoga and Deep Breathing,” at the Cystic Fibrosis National Conference in Minneapolis. The session, newly developed, was incredibly well attended. Our therapists, Ms. Coleman, Ms. Ferreira and Ms. Vilotijevic, received rave reviews. We’re proud to have them, and many others, serving as national ambassadors for our hospital and the rehabilitative profession.
Education and Training
Within our departments, we have weekly inservice education to assist in improving therapy skills. We also provide funding to take continuing education classes all over the world. Colleagues receive paid educational days, which include the cost of travel. Many of our Master’s accredited PTs, OTs and SLPs are now pursuing their Doctorates with generous reimbursement. Annually, we conduct a national stroke symposium, a spasticity conference and two conferences on multiple sclerosis.
Beyond your education, we provide you ample opportunities to share your experience with students. Many colleagues teach part-time in our renowned university programs. For example, PTs and OTs at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center can teach in the Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy Programs, respectively, on-campus. Explore our full range of clinical education programs:
At NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, therapists sought and received funding for a new kind of rehabilitation environment. We called it Easy Street: the first and only facility of its kind in New York City. Simply put, Easy Street brings the outside world indoors.
Easy Street offers patients undergoing rehabilitation a simulated studio apartment with a bedroom, bath and kitchen. They’ll experience a simulated front porch, a Manhattan-sized fully stocked grocery store and a “grass”-covered park and recreation area. Patients will also interact with a street with a crosswalk, curb cuts, a traffic light and a four-door yellow cab. All of these simulated locales provide patients with opportunities to practice the motor, sensory, cognitive, perceptual and social skills required in daily life.
The preliminary findings in our study of group cognitive therapy to treat MS are in, and the results are pointing towards several exciting conclusions. Early data submitted by the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center suggest that many patients with MS can better face the cognitive challenges associated with their condition (including remembering names, recalling new information and organizing thoughts) through group cognitive therapy.
With the goal of enhancing quality of life for patients with MS, Dr. Joan Toglia, PhD, OTR/L and Kerri Fitzgerald, MA, OTR/L, completed the first phase of this pilot study: MINDFUL (Mastering the Intellectual Navigation of Daily Functioning and Undoing Limitations). Funded by a grant from the New York-based Katy Curtin Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, the study was designed to determine whether patients with MS would benefit from learning various cognitive strategies in a group setting.
Therapy is typically offered one-on-one. Over an eight week period, seven individuals with MS met weekly to identify their symptoms, review cognitive lapses, set goals, role-play and use strategies to enhance their functional memory. Although a full analysis will occur only after the second phase is completed, all seven participants expressed that they were likely to implement the strategies and all would recommend the program to a friend.
On Saturday, August 30, 2008, the unimaginable happened to Nicole Marquez, an aspiring Broadway dancer. She remembers going to the roof of her building via the fire escape. Then, somehow, the worst occurred. Plummeting six stories to the alley below, she was not discovered until the following day.
The 25-year-old broke her neck, back, pelvis, ribs and punctured her lung. Over the course of the next month, she fought for her life at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center’s Neurological Intensive Care Unit. She underwent multiple surgeries, recovered from a bout of pneumonia and a series of mini-strokes. She also began her long road to rehabilitation here, in the hospital.
Stabilized, Nicole moved to a rehabilitation hospital in Mississippi to be closer to her family. And while the accident may have injured Nicole’s body, it did not dampen her spirit. She was determined to walk and dance again. “You can’t say “no” to a dream,” she said. “This is something I am going to do.”
Nicole achieved her goal. She spoke at the annual NewYork-Presbyterian Kick-off in 2008 to a rousing crowd of professionals that leapt to its feet the moment she entered onstage. There was not a dry eye in the house, not an unmoved person in the auditorium. Nicole visited again in 2009 and danced for hospital leadership!
In 2008, a young Japanese man (who’d had a ventricular assist device implanted in his country) came to our hospital as a paraplegic and in need of a heart transplant. He was paying for all of his medical care and related expenses out of pocket. Discharged from our inpatient rehabilitation unit, he began renting a local apartment but still found himself in need of outpatient PT. To complicate things more, his finances began to run out.
A number of our physical therapists coordinated efforts to provide pro bono therapy for many months prior to his return to Japan. They treated him for free on their own time. Their generous spirit has been a bright spot for this young man, whose world had been otherwise turned upside down at the height of his life. This story is the essence of the Amazing Things that can and do happen here.
Doctors initially told Danion’s mother that there was no way to save him. But his mother pushed on and came to NYP, where they agreed to accept the case. His surgeon, Dr. Mark Souweidane says, “It was one of the largest tumors I’ve ever seen.”