NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Establishes New Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine Service for Children With Neuromuscular Disorders and Special Needs

Appointed to Lead the Program Is Pediatric Physiatrist Dr. Heakyung Kim

Mar 24, 2011


NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital has established a Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service, led by Dr. Heakyung Kim. In this role, Dr. Kim will provide specialized care for children with neuromuscular disorders and other special needs at the Hospital's two major centers for pediatric care: Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and the Komansky Center for Children's Health at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Dr. Kim has also been named to the faculties of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Weill Cornell Medical College. Previously, she served as director of pediatric rehabilitation at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and as associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

"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. I am very pleased that one of our country's leading pediatric physiatrists, Dr. Heakyung Kim, will lead this important new program," says Dr. Joel Stein, physiatrist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the Simon Baruch Professor and chair of the Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and professor and chief of the Division of Rehabilitation Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.

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

According to Dr. Kim, rehabilitating children presents unique challenges. "With children 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 or even eliminating 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."

A leading authority in the rehabilitation of cerebral palsy, Dr. Kim has helped pioneer several new therapies, including combined therapy 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 will consist of a multidisciplinary team of nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech language pathologists.

Dr. Kim received her medical degree from the Ewha Womans University, College of Medicine. 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 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."

Columbia University Medical Center

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The Medical Center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is now among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and state and one of the largest in the United States. For more information, please visit

NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Phyllis and David Komansky Center for Children's Health

NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, which is affiliated with Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Phyllis and David Komansky Center for Children's Health, which is affiliated with Weill Cornell Medical College, have built a reputation for more than a century as two of the nation's premier centers for pediatric care. Together, they offer the best available care in every area of pediatrics — including the most complex neonatal and critical care, and all areas of pediatric surgery — in a family-friendly and technologically advanced setting. They are also major international referral centers, meeting the special needs of children from infancy through adolescence worldwide. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report.

Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside, aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances — including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with the Methodist Hospital in Houston, making Weill Cornell one of only two medical colleges in the country affiliated with two U.S.News & World Report Honor Roll hospitals. For more information, visit Weill Cornell Medical College.

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Belinda Mager 212-305-5587