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Message from the Rehabilitation Medicine Chair

New York (Mar 12, 2010)

Joel Stein, MD
Joel Stein, MD

The field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has entered an exciting time of growth and development. In the clinical realm, physiatrists have increasingly incorporated the use of spine injections to complement traditional rehabilitation techniques. Ultrasound is being introduced into the office setting as an aid to the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. And public awareness of the issues of traumatic brain injury has been expanded as a result of the rehabilitation needs of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Moreover, the team-oriented approach that is at the core of rehabilitation medicine has resulted in enhanced collaboration with other specialties, such as orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, neurology, internal medicine, and pediatrics. The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is helping lead the way in advancing our specialty.

The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital combines two distinguished university departments of rehabilitation at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Weill Cornell Medical College. Our department at Columbia has embarked on a major scientific expansion through the creation of a stem cell research initiative. This new focus on regenerative medicine promises to provide a laboratory science foundation for the rehabilitation therapies of the future.

At the same time, our clinical services continue to expand, with new faculty recruitments this year in musculoskeletal disorders, sports medicine, and spine care. Our partnerships with other departments are playing a major role in the development of a Spine Center at our NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell center, and expansion of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation involvement in sports medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. I anticipate continued growth in our outpatient services in the next several years, with a particular focus on spine and sports medicine.

Clinical research in stroke rehabilitation and cardiopulmonary physiology continue to be key areas of focus at NewYork-Presbyterian. Ultimately, we expect to play a key role in translational research, bringing advances in stem cell biology to the bedside to create innovative therapies for major disabling conditions such as stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, and muscular dystrophies.

We're also collaborating with experts outside of our department to create novel devices that facilitate mobility and improve the activities of daily living for people with severe muscle weakness.

As we continue to grow, we're forging new collaborations with specialists from other departments in the Hospital and many divisions of these two ivy league medical schools of which we are a part. Our residency program remains highly competitive, and we are expanding our involvement in the education of medical students at both Columbia and Weill Cornell. Future plans include adding more fellowship offerings for advanced clinical and research training within our department.

We look forward to our departmental expansion, and realizing the synergies available to us as a department spanning two exceptional medical schools and one of the best hospitals in the country.

Joel Stein, MD, is the Physiatrist-in-Chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the Simon Baruch Professor and Chair in the Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Professor and Chief in the Division of Rehabilitation Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.

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