Ricky Singh, MD, is the Vice Chair of Strategy and Operations in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, and the Director of Interventional Spine at NewYork-Presbyterian Och Spine Hospital. This will be his second marathon run to support the Hospital.
What motivated you to take part in this year's TCS New York City Marathon?
Since I have been at NewYork-Presbyterian I have always served as a volunteer medical staff for the New York City Marathon, and one of my colleagues in radiation oncology has been running the marathon for about five or six years. He motivated me to not only serve as a medical staff but also participate in the marathon as a runner, so last year (2022) was my first year running a marathon. And to be honest, in January of 2022, I could barely run a mile. It was amazing to see the transformation of my own body and stamina within 11 months being able to complete 26.2 miles.
How has your training process been?
The hardest part about training is finding time and being a little selfish when it comes to sticking to a program: I have used both Peloton training programs and ones that I found online which provide you with weekly milestones and targets and sometimes you just have to prioritize yourself and commit to the training.
This year the hardest part has actually been dealing with the inclement weather, which does get in the way of some of the long training runs as we are approaching the final month before the 2023 New York City Marathon, but overall I think I am where I should be. I am headed into the peak of training followed by two weeks of tapering, and while the physical stamina is on target, the last few weeks will really be focusing on mental preparedness.
In order to effectively move the needle on translating basic science research to the clinical care setting, philanthropy is paramount.
— Ricky Singh, MD
Why did you decide to help fundraise for NewYork-Presbyterian?
New York Presbyterian and Weill Cornell have supported my career since I have been here. While most of my work continues to be in clinical care and the development of our multidisciplinary spine program, I have interests in pushing the research when it comes to orthobiologics and regenerative medicine in the musculoskeletal space.
We see a lot of patients with back pain and joint pain along with other soft tissue injuries, and while our most commonly used tools are anti-inflammatories and corticosteroids, which have some detrimental characteristics to the body, my research interests are primarily with optimizing the body's own natural healing mechanisms through the use of various treatments such as platelet-rich plasma, bone marrow-derived stem cells, and more. Now I'm really excited to partner with one of our plastic surgeons to study the role of adipose-derived stem cells in the use of various orthopedic conditions such as hip, knee, and shoulder arthritis.
Why is philanthropy important to you?
The real heroes of my fundraising efforts are all of my patients, my friends, and my family members who have contributed two-hour research pursuits. In order to effectively move the needle on translating basic science research to the clinical care setting, philanthropy is paramount. What most people don't realize is that clinical revenue is necessary to run and operate a physician practice but is also needed to educate the next generation of physicians and develop training programs for residents and fellows. In addition, it helps foster scientific inquiry and contribute to research.
How has your relationship with the Hospital affected your life?
NewYork-Presbyterian has been a wonderful partner in both my clinical development but also in contributing to my research interests. Working in a large academic rehabilitation department gives me a certain perspective on how disease and disability can affect one person's functionality and mobility. I am hoping that through some of my research, we can make small incremental improvements in the lives of the patients we serve.