Samantha Muscato is a clinical specialist in pediatric occupational therapy acute care at Rusk Rehabilitation, where she has been for nine years. She has worked in all pediatric rehabilitation departments including: outpatient, the former preschool program, inpatient acute rehabilitation, and acute care. Her experience includes assessing needs regarding assistive technology, seating and mobility, splinting, as well as standard occupational therapy assessment of fine motor, visual motor, sensory processing, cognitive skills, and activities of daily living. Her current work primarily is in the neonatal intensive care unit, the congenital cardiovascular care unit, and the acute care unit providing feeding therapy to infants born prematurely and babies with complex medical/surgical histories. Her Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Occupational therapy are from D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY. She has taken certification courses for Kinesiotaping, neonatal oral motor assessment scale, and she is a Certified Lactation Counselor.
In this interview, Samantha discusses: the ages of her patients and the kinds of conditions they have that necessitate the provision of occupational therapy services; feeding therapy to infants born prematurely and babies with complex medical and surgical histories; what specifically distinguishes the work of an occupational therapist in the pediatric intensive care unit; whether certification is necessary for an occupational therapist to work in that unit; tools for conducting assessments; occupational therapy strategies employed when addressing the complex health care needs of children at different ages; the role of assistive technology; mentoring and training new pediatric occupational therapists for all aspects of acute care; and developing programs and providing education for staff in other health professions.
Dr. Camille Magsombol is an occupational therapy clinical specialist at Rusk. She currently is involved in the development and promotion of self-management programs for patients with diabetes, low vision, and COPD. Her capstone project for her doctorate was about low vision, its effect on function, and incorporating low vision assessment and management within the inpatient rehabilitation setting. Her occupational therapy Bachelor's degree is from the University of the Philippines Manila and her Doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy is from Quinnipiac University.
Christina Marino is a senior occupational therapist on the adult inpatient unit at Rusk. She has specialized in treating patients with cognitive-perceptual deficits and visual deficits and she also provides mentoring for staff therapists in these areas. She leads the occupational therapy Vision Team which focuses on providing in-services for new staff and looking into evidenced based practice for treatment of vision problems. Her degree in occupational therapy as well as a bachelors in Hispanic Studies are from the University of Scranton.
In this interview, they discuss the kinds of disorders encountered that necessitate doing neurological and low vision assessments; how conditions, such as health problems, head injuries, or being sedated have an impact on the ability to obtain accurate assessments; given that neglect can restrict independence in activities of daily living, such as dressing and instrumental activities of daily living, such as cooking, how neglect is measured and what is done with the results; approach used to assess declines in cognitive capacity, vision, and physical abilities that may impair an individual's ability to drive safely; the role of occupational therapy in identifying and addressing visual impairments; and strategies used for patients with visual impairments.
Dr. Olga Kalandova is the supervisor of the Outpatient Physical Therapy Unit at Rusk Institute, NYU Langone Health. A wide spectrum of outpatient physical therapy programs have developed under her guidance, including orthopedic, neurological and the woman’s health patient population. She has been at Rusk Institute for 29 years and has extensive expertise in the treatment of spinal and neurological disorders. She also frequently teaches and gives professional and community lectures presenting on various topics and conditions. She received her graduate degree in orthopedics, a doctorate degree in physical therapy, completed internationally recognized certification in mechanical diagnosis and therapy, and holds a number of certifications in manual and alternative therapies.
In this interview, Dr. Kalandova discusses the kinds of patients she treats; the importance of posture and postural alignment;how posture affects function and daily performance;consequences of poor posture; correlations between posture and pain; how postural alignment affects exercise and conditioning; and the role education plays in treatment as a way of enabling patients to obtain skills necessary to manage pain and also as a way of either preventing or self-treating future occurrences outside of the clinical setting.
Steven has more than 35 years’ experience in Vocational Rehabilitation. He has worked in a variety of settings, including New York State Vocational Rehabilitation, as a Rusk Supervisor in Vocational Rehabilitation, as Associate Executive Director at a Not for Profit mental health agency, and 14 years at the Veterans Administration, including 5 years in the New York Regional Office. He supervises counselors and a support staff who serve 2,300 disabled Veterans in Eastern New York State. He obtained a Masters’ Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation at New York University and another Masters’ Degree in public Administration from John Jay College.
In this interview, Jennifer and Steven discuss vocational rehabilitation for veterans, the use of assistive technologies to accommodate more complex medical conditions experienced such as PTSD, vocational assessments, kinds of activities funded, and differences in providing services for veterans from the Gulf War/Afghanistan and the Vietnam conflict.
Matthew Wichrowski is a Senior Horticultural Therapist and Clinical Assistant Professor at Rusk. His primary responsibility at the Medical Center is as a clinician where he provides horticultural therapy services to patients in a cardiac/medically complex unit, a psychiatry unit, and an Epilepsy unit. His research interests center around the effects of nature on human health and wellness. He has completed performance improvement projects assessing the benefits that patients perceived as a result of participating in horticultural therapy sessions, as an inpatient, and then post discharge. His study assessing the effects of horticultural therapy on mood and heart rate in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation patients was published in the Journal of Cardiac Rehabilitation. He also has been involved with environmental improvement projects. He has been teaching in the Horticultural Therapy Certificate Program at New York Botanical Garden for 20 years and is Editor-In-Chief of The Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture. His bachelor’s degree is from SUNY Stony Brook and he has a master’s degree in social work from that institution.