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Joel Stein, MDThe 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, musculoskeletal 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 returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Moreover, the team-oriented approach that is at the core of rehabilitation medicine has resulted in enhanced collaboration with multiple other specialties, such as orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, neurology, internal medicine, and pediatrics. The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center is active in these areas of clinical care, and is helping lead the way in advancing our specialty.

Educationally, our residency program continues to compete effectively for the most qualified applicants, and provides a breadth and depth of training that is exceptional. Many of our graduating residents have chosen to continue their education through fellowships, and have been accepted to competitive programs throughout the country. Our alumni are active in all areas of physiatric practice, and are well-represented among leaders in our field.

Our department is fortunate to be the home of the Programs in Physical Therapy and in Occupational Therapy within the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. These training programs are highly ranked nationally, and provide exceptional training and education. Faculty within these programs are actively involved in research, generally in collaboration with Columbia faculty within our department or other departments at the medical school.

The scientific basis of Rehabilitation Medicine continues to expand, and Columbia’s department is playing an active role in this progress. Research in cardiopulmonary physiology and in stroke rehabilitation and recovery are key areas of focus, and development of a stem cell basic science research initiative is in the active planning stage. Stem cell therapies have tremendous potential to enhance recovery from major disabling conditions such as stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, and muscular dystrophies, and we anticipate synergy between our basic science and clinical research efforts will result in innovative therapies in the coming years.

I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the Columbia Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at this exciting time, and committed to continuing and expanding its reputation for excellence in all aspects of our mission. Feel free to contact us for more information about our department.

Joel Stein, MD
Simon Baruch Professor and Chair
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia University



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