A Focus on Faculty: Highlighting a Range of Expertise
Akin A. Beckley, MD
Coming from a family of physicians, it was natural for Akin A. Beckley, MD, MBA, to follow in their footsteps. “My father is a urologic oncologist, two of my mother’s brothers are physicians, two of my siblings are physicians, and so are some of my cousins – our family has over a dozen in all,” says Dr. Beckley, a physiatrist in the Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.
Becoming a physiatrist was also prompted by a very personal experience. “After completing my medical degree at the University of Connecticut, my sister became ill with a brain tumor that affected the use of one of her arms, as well as her ambulation,” says Dr. Beckley. “I took time off from my residency to care for her and realized that this was the area of medicine I wanted to specialize in.”
Dr. Beckley seeks to help patients return to their level of function after an illness or injury using an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach. “My particular interests are in oncology, amputee care, and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation,” says Dr. Beckley. “I work with patients in conjunction with physical, occupational, and speech therapists to address functional impairments they may have before starting either surgical or nonsurgical treatments. After treatment I stay actively involved in their care to help them return as close to normal as possible.”
Dr. Beckley believes it is important for rehabilitation medicine to integrate more with other specialties and to promote awareness about physiatry and its role in ensuring comprehensive patient care.
“This may involve physiatrists meeting with patients prior to surgery or undergoing chemotherapy and radiation,” he says. “We might be initially consulted when primary care physicians are looking at both surgical and nonsurgical options for their patients with musculoskeletal issues.”
Educating residents about physiatry is another component of Dr. Beckley’s role at Columbia, and one that he enjoys. “When I instruct the residents and medical students, I advise them to look at the patient as a whole, listening and ensuring a complete neuromuscular physical examination is performed. For example, shoulder pain may actually originate from the spine. The physiatrist can be instrumental in collaboration with therapists in the diagnosis and treatment of functional impairments.”
For More Information
Akin A. Beckley, MD | [email protected]
Leroy R. Lindsay, MD
“I have always been interested in the musculoskeletal and neurologic systems and in function and quality of life,” says Leroy R. Lindsay, MD, a physiatrist in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “I found that physiatry offered me the perfect blend of those interests and would allow me to help patients achieve as much function and independence as possible regardless of their diagnosis. That really appealed to me.”
Dr. Lindsay received his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, followed by residency training in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Rutgers-NJMS/Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. He then completed a fellowship in brain injury medicine and neurological rehabilitation at Georgetown University/MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital.
Dr. Lindsay notes that patients with brain injuries or who have been treated for cancer often seek further care with physiatrists. “For example, we are seeing more patients who have had glioblastoma resections,” he says. “They may have seizures from the surgery or from medications that cause weakness and changes in function. Teaching patients, as well as their caregivers, how to ambulate safely once they return home is very important.”
Dr. Lindsay is also collaborating with pediatric neurologists in the area of concussion. “We’re examining high school players and weekend warriors to determine the effect of exercise on recovery after concussion,” he says. “We’re also seeing patients that have confounding factors, such as cervicogenic or vestibular issues, migraines, anxiety, depression, or ADHD, that contribute to a lack of recovery or slow recovery. Is there a standardized course that we could offer these patients? We’re looking into that now.
“At the point of injury, most physicians enacting treatment are concerned with repair, stability, and safety. And that is perfect,” Dr. Lindsay explains. “It’s helpful for me to be integrated into this acute side of care. Because I see patients a month, two months, a year down the road, I know what they look like at the end of their recovery. I have the benefit of knowing complications they might face and anticipating obstacles. I’m looking to prevent any of these secondary complications. My focus is on minimizing the impact of neurologic and musculoskeletal injury and maximizing function through nonoperative treatments. I think about what the patient wants and needs and the challenges they will need to overcome.”
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Dr. Leroy R. Lindsay | [email protected]
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