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More on Dr. Heakyung Kim, Pediatric Rehabilitation Specialist, to Lead New Pediatric Rehab Service at NewYork-Presbyterian

Dr. Heakyung Kim, Pediatric Rehabilitation Specialist, to Lead New Pediatric Rehab Service at NewYork-Presbyterian

New York (Sep 1, 2011)

Heakyung Kim, M.D.
Heakyung Kim, M.D.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is pleased to welcome Heakyung Kim, M.D., as Director of the newly established Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service and Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation Medicine and Pediatrics. In this role, Dr. Kim, one of the country's leading pediatric physiatrists, will provide specialized care for children with neuromuscular disorders and other special needs at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and the Phyllis and David Komansky Center for Children's Health at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Dr. Kim previously served as Medical Director of Rehabilitation Medicine at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and as Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. At NewYork-Presbyterian, Dr. Kim will oversee the pediatric rehabilitation program at both Hospital campuses, with an emphasis on caring for children with special needs.

"Rehabilitation is critically important for children to help them grow and develop into adulthood and independence, whether their condition is cerebral palsy, a brain tumor, brain injury, stroke or a spinal disorder," notes Joel Stein, M.D., Physiatrist-in-Chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, in announcing Dr. Kim's appointment.

The new Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service will employ techniques that include physical therapy, biofeedback, occupational therapy and speech therapy to improve the child's physical movement and coordination, speech, vision and intellectual development.

Improving Quality of Life

"I want to improve the quality of life for children with special needs and their families," says Dr. Kim, who focuses on the care of children with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, spina bifida, traumatic brain injury, pediatric stroke, and neuropathies, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome. "I believe this kind of service is much needed in New York City, as well as in the tri-state area."

Dr. Kim has been appointed as Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine, as well as Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She has also been named to the faculty of Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Kim specializes in chronic pain management and in working with children with stiff muscles, such as those with cerebral palsy. Her areas of focus include cognitive functioning in traumatic brain injury and pharmaceutical intervention, spasticity management, drooling management with botulinum toxin, brachial plexus injury, torticollis, and the management of chronic pain.

Addressing the Challenges of Children with Special Needs

According to Dr. Kim, rehabilitating children with special needs presents unique challenges. "We must continually fine-tune treatments based on the child's anticipated growth. As one example, by using Botox to treat muscle stiffness in young children with cerebral palsy, the physiatrist can manage their symptoms as they grow, reducing the need for multiple orthopedic surgeries. It is also crucial that we work closely with families to make sure all the physical and emotional needs of their child are met.

"Timing and continuum of care are so important," continues Dr. Kim. "If we don't intervene with their growth early on, they will have a lot of complications. For example, the bone is growing continuously because they're children. But stiff muscle cannot catch up to their bone growth, and because of this, some patients lose their ability to walk. So I address these issues based on the speed of their growth."

A Pioneer in Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Dr. Kim has helped pioneer new treatment therapies, including the combined use of Botox and phenol with a spinal drug-delivery system called Intrathecal Baclofen Pump for spasticity and dystonia; and Botox for drooling. Along with Dr. Kim, the Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service includes a multidisciplinary team of nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech language pathologists. "Our goal is to improve the child's function and to reduce the need for orthopaedic surgery," she says. "I want to bring awareness of these children to clinicians and to the community about how we can improve their quality of life through the practice of pediatric rehabilitation medicine. Right now there are only about 160 board certified pediatric rehabilitation specialists in the country providing this service."

Dr. Kim received her medical degree from the Ewha Womans University, College of Medicine, in Seoul, Korea. She completed a research fellowship in neuroscience and a residency in a combined program between the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – New Jersey Medical School/Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation.

Prior to joining NewYork-Presbyterian, Dr. Kim was Medical Director of the Section of Rehabilitation Medicine; Medical Director of the Cerebral Palsy Clinic; Assistant Chief of the Division of Child Development, Rehabilitation and Metabolic Disease; and Trauma Associate Director for Rehabilitation – all at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She was also Program Director of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine at the Temple University School of Medicine and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Beginning in 1998 she served on faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, prior to which she was on the faculty of the Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul. She is the recipient of numerous honors, including Teacher of the Year at Temple University School of Medicine and inclusion in Consumers' Research Council of America's "America's Top Physicians."

For more information on the services provided by Dr. Kim and her colleagues, or to schedule an appointment, please call:

Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital - (212) 305-3535

Phyllis and David Komansky Center for Children's Health - (212) 746-1500

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