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Montefiore Medical Center Establishes First Women's Rehabilitation Fellowship Program in the Nation

Unique Women’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Program Tailored to Treat Specific Anatomical and Physiological Needs of Women

NEW YORK CITY, NY (August 1, 2012)Montefiore Medical Center has launched the nation’s first fellowship program in Women’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (WPM&R), and established a new clinical program in this specialty.

Anna M. Lasak, MD, FAAPMR, Clinical Director, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, will direct the program which begins August 1. Dr. Lasak will mentor Fellow Laura Manfield, DO, treating women in the areas of osteoporosis, gender specific issues in spinal cord injury and sports medicine, as well as pelvic floor rehabilitation for pelvic floor dysfunction including urinary and fecal incontinence, pelvic pain, constipation and pelvic organ prolapse.. The WPM&R program will also address the rehabilitation needs of women during and after pregnancy with special emphasis on musculoskeletal disorders. Another area of expertise, led by David Prince, MD, is Montefiore’s cardiac rehabilitation for women recovering from heart attacks, open heart surgery, congestive heart failure and cardiovascular complications suffered by breast cancer survivors.

“The goal of our new program is to specifically address women’s issues and provide customized care based on unique differences in the anatomy of women,” said Dr. Lasak. “We have seen that an approach which takes into account the specific physiology of women, along with the creation of tailored care plans, can produce improved outcomes and ultimately a better quality of life.”

Dr. Manfield joins Montefiore from Mt Ascutney Hospital and Health Center in Vermont where she was an attending physician for two years. During her time there, Dr. Manfield recognized the need for a specialized approach to rehabilitation for women and was thrilled to learn about the novel opportunity offered by Montefiore to participate in a Fellowship Program specifically addressing women’s health. Dr. Manfield has published extensive research and is past Co- President of the resident section of The New York Society of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. She was selected for the fellowship program due to her passion for women’s health, her past experience and interest in research, a primary focus of Montefiore’s as an academic medical center and the teaching hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

Dr. Manfield will follow the guidance and instruction of Dr. Lasak for one year, with the goal of enabling women with various disabilities to achieve their highest level of independence, taking into account each patient's environment, resources and lifestyle goals. Montefiore plans to apply for accreditation of the fellowship program in the future.

Montefiore’s new Women’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Program is part of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine where a multidisciplinary team of physiatrists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech/language pathologists, rehabilitation nurses and social workers provide a wide spectrum of comprehensive services for patients with a broad range of disabling conditions and diseases.

Specialists have been actively advancing innovative technologies and embracing the latest treatment techniques since 1955 and in addition to traditional rehabilitation services, areas of expertise include vision rehabilitation, specializing in techniques and technology to maximize independence and quality of life for patients with low vision or blindness, complementary and alternative medicine, focusing on the role of treatments such as acupuncture, tai chi, yoga, mindfulness meditation and manipulative therapy. Also available are services in pediatric rehabilitation, including treatment for children with congenital or early onset diseases such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy and scoliosis. The department also specializes in interventional pain management, including special injection techniques for managing spinal pain due to disc herniations, spinal stenosis and spinal arthritis.

The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine offers both inpatient and outpatient services to improve the lives of patients living with a diverse spectrum of diseases and disabilities.