Burke Rehabilitation Hospital announces the expansion of its nationally recognized Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) Department with the addition of two new attending physicians who work cooperatively with the interdisciplinary teams to provide excellence in care. Each physician comes to Burke with advanced education and training to complement Burke’s renowned rehabilitative programs. 

Shelly Hsieh, MD, is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Medicine. She earned her medical degree at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and completed her residency in PM&R and fellowship in SCI Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School/Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. Dr. Hsieh was appointed Burke’s Director of Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation. In this position, she oversees the comprehensive SCI program for both inpatient and outpatient populations. 

One of her first accomplishments at Burke was creating an Outpatient SCI Clinic bridging the care from inpatient to outpatient, and collaborating with the outpatient therapy team. According to Hsieh, “Spinal cord injuries are life-altering events that can affect all the organs and systems. At Burke, we have the training to treat this unique population and help people living with spinal cord injuries return to full and productive lives. Providing them with specialized medical care and therapy programs is paramount, while we also offer a robust adaptive sports program. We are continuing to work on dismantling barriers which include the need for greater access to accessible transportation.”  

Hsieh has strengthened bonds with Sarah Neuman: The New Jewish Home, a skilled nursing facility for which Burke provides therapeutic services, by providing additional education and training for their staff members who care for SCI patients. “My goal is to develop a spinal cord injury pathway where there are seamless transitions of care for patients after leaving Burke,” Hsieh says. 

Hsieh’s goal is not only to treat these patients but also to help them return to their communities. She comments, “Research shows that community integration, returning to school and work, and participating in adaptive sports results in better outcomes. Although life may look different, people living with SCI can lead productive lives.”

George Chen, DO, PhD, earned his PhD in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology after receiving an undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College. He attended medical school at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and completed his residency in PM&R at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. 

Chen comments, “My philosophy is based on academic medicine, and I am excited to be here. When I was a resident, I enjoyed teaching and research. At Burke, there is the whole breadth of teaching, for residents, patients, medical students, and colleagues.”

Chen’s clinical and research interests lie at the interface of chemistry, biology, engineering, and medicine. His current work involves the use of observational data, mathematical optimization, and computational techniques to guide and maximize patient recovery after hospitalization. 

“I am working to apply these principles for patients after orthopedic procedures, as well as patients with neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, stroke, spinal cord injury, and other neuromuscular conditions,” Chen explains. “My main goal at Burke is to integrate research and education to ensure not only the best results for patients but also to advance the knowledge of rehabilitation.” Chen also collaborates with the nursing and therapy teams to develop a comprehensive multidisciplinary pain management program for patients. 

One of the most satisfying aspects of his work at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital is the ability to spend quality time with patients. Chen concludes, “The heart of medicine is getting to know your patients and listening to their issues and complaints. Our job in medicine is to support them so that they can be successful.”

[Source: Burke Rehabilitation Hospital]

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