Our History: NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia

The Rehabilitation Medicine Department at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is one of the largest in the nation. With more than 50 years experience, we have assembled a team of professionals that is unequaled in experience and expertise.

We invite you to browse through the following timeline to learn about the history of Rehabilitation Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.

Early 1930's

An Occupational and Physical Therapy Division operated under the Department of Medicine and the Director, Dr. William Benham Snow. Later, the Division name was changed to Physical Medicine.


Development of fully accredited Residency Training Program in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.


A Major gift was received from Simon Baruch Committee to establish a position of Coordinator for Clinical Teaching and Research Activities and to allow for the development of a clinical research program in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.


The Rehabilitation, Occupational and Physical Therapy Clinics in the Vanderbilt Clinic underwent major renovations and an Affiliation with the Institute for the Crippled and Disabled (now the International Center for the Disabled) was established.


Department of Rehabilitation Medicine was created. Dr. Robert Darling was named first Department Chair (1952-1973) and the Columbia University Programs in Occupational and Physical Therapy become part of Department of Rehabilitation Medicine.


Establishment of Inpatient Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation "bed-service".


Opening of the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit in the Neurological Institute.


Dr. John Downey becomes Department Chair.


Rehabilitation Medicine Office and Outpatient Physical Therapy Department move to newly renovated space on Harkness Pavilion 1. The Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit receives its first CARF accreditation.


Opening of 25 additional beds on Rehabilitation Service.


Dr. James Lieberman becomes Department Chair.


Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit moved to Milstein Hospital Building with gift from William Randolph Hearst Foundation.


The merger of The New York Hospital and Presbyterian Hospital establishes New York-Presbyterian Hospital.


Departments of Rehabilitation Medicine merge with Dr. James S. Lieberman named Physiatrist-in-Chief of both NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.


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