Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine

A doctor examining a child's leg

Rehabilitation Medicine

NewYork-Presbyterian, Best Children's Hospitals - US News, Ranked in 10 specialties 2022-23

Proud partner of NewYork-Presbyterian, the #1 Children’s Hospital in New York.

ColumbiaDoctors launched pediatric physical medicine & rehabilitation (PM&R) services at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital in 2011 to:

  • Understand the life span of children with disabilities and improve their quality of life
  • Prevent complications from acute or chronic conditions
  • Provide a continuum of care

Our Services

ColumbiaDoctors pediatric rehabilitation doctors are leading experts in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of congenital and childhood physical impairments. We aim to help young patients with special needs become as independent as possible as they move from infancy to adulthood.

Pediatric rehabilitation doctors are called physiatrists (pronounced fizzy-a-trists). Our early intervention often improves the child’s general ability to function and prevents or delays the need for surgery. Because most of our young patients require care over many years, we tailor treatments to their developmental curve.

Our team is known for a comprehensive approach to diseases such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, neuromuscular disorders, and traumatic injuries to the brain and spinal cord. Physiatrists collaborate with nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech, language pathologists, and psychologists to offer the best family-centered care.

Our innovative treatment approaches include the use of botulinum toxin injections to manage drooling and spasticity and intrathecal baclofen pumps to deliver medication directly to the spinal cord. We are also known for expertise in treating dystonia (uncontrollable muscle spasms), in serial casting and orthotics, adaptive equipment, and noninvasive pulmonary rehabilitation for neuromuscular disorders.

We offer one of only 19 pediatric rehabilitation fellowships in the nation and train future physiatrists to care for children with special needs.

Pioneers in an Emerging Field

Our pediatric physiatrists are pioneers in the care of children with neuromuscular and musculoskeletal conditions.
Heakyung Kim, MD, director of pediatric PM&R, helped establish the current guidelines in management of spasticity and excessive drooling, and has authored scientific articles on these topics in peer-reviewed journals.

Kim is joined by Dr. Patricia Tan, an expert in caring for children with disabling illness, and Amber J. Newell, pediatric nurse practitioner, who works closely with both physicians to provide seamless service to children.

At the Forefront of Research

Our physiatrists develop new therapies for children with disabling illnesses. Most of our research addresses the motor difficulties of children with cerebral palsy. We are currently studying robotic therapy for children with cerebral palsy, treatments for spasticity, and new devices to provide gait training for our young patients suffering from cerebral palsy, stroke, or other brain injuries. These projects are collaborations with faculty in Columbia University's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and Teachers College as well as orthopedic surgeons and staff at the Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center.


Our doctors partner on a clinical collaboration with Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, N.Y., to provide in-patient rehabilitation and the full continuum of rehabilitation care.