Running Barefoot

The New York City Marathon is upon us, and we have an extra hour in the day, so why not read a little about running! Here's the #1 most-emailed article from the NY Times, as well as some addition links.

Resident’s Blog: AOCPMR Regional Workshop

On August 22nd AOCPMR hosted its first Northeast Regional Resident Workshop.  The topic was “Advances in the Treatment of Upper Limb Spasticity” presented by Dr. Abraham Alfaro, DO, PHD, Director of Spasticity and Dystonia Clinic at Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation.  It was a full house and those of you who made it to the Workshop would agree that it was a great success. Dr. Alfaro’s mastery of the subject mixed with stories and clinical pearls followed by the hands on injections workshop made the time fly.

Michael Hahn from Allergan proved to be a good sport and volunteered to have needles placed on his arm with accuracy of placement confirmed with EMG. There were also injection simulators on hand to practice and test not only injection skills but also mastery of the anatomy of the upper extremity.

The event was also a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones among residents, attendings and students.  Dr. Gotlin who has been the driving force for getting the students and residents involved with the College was there as well, being as always generous with his time and advice.   As Dr. Gotiln likes to say, “the College has grown by leaps and bounds” in the last couple of years, gaining close to a thousand new members. It is such a formidable feat that AOA asked us how we were able to accomplish such tremendous growth in such a short period of time.  The answer was quite simple and obvious. We were able to achieve this by adding a great deal of value to being a member of the College and applied that to every level of training from students and residents to the most experienced attendings.

The August 22nd lecture is a great example of that.  We are working hard with the Education Committee of the College on organizing more events and will keep all our members informed. By the end of September, it will be much easier to follow noteworthy current events going on with the College and our members as we launch our brand new website.  Make sure to mark your calendars and visit us often there at .

Looking forward to seeing you all at our future events!


Author Bio: Alex Levchenko is a PGY-2 in PM&R residency program at NYU Medical Center. He received his medical degree at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and his bachelor’s degree from New York University.  He has been an active member of AOCPMR since 2008 and served as Vice President of the AOCPMR Student Council in his last year of medical school.


Resident’s Blog: PGY-2 Begins

The idea for this blog was born on one of many conference calls we have with fellow members of the college while brainstorming of ways we can help the medical students to get a flavor of what Physiatry is all about. So starting at the very beginning of the PM&R residency seemed to be the most appropriate and since I am a new PGY-2 at NYU medical center PM&R program, I volunteered to start this blog about my experience as I am going through my training.  I will try to put new posts up at least twice a month and welcome your comments and questions.  That being said, off we go.

I can’t believe it has already been one month since I started at NYU but the time flies when you are enjoying what you are doing. I still remember the first day worrying about starting on the Cardiac Rehab floor as my very first rotation. As a fourth year medical student I rotated through MSK, SCI and stroke rehab floors but never cardiac. Nonetheless, by now I had the internship experience of dealing with CHFs, MIs and the likes. So how different could it be? It’s not, BUT yet it is. The medical management part of CHF and arrhythmia is similar but the approach and the goals of the complete care plan are different. Now that the patient is past the acute stage of her disease, we have to work on resolving her functional limitations secondary to it. This involves a 360 degree multidisciplinary approach of the physiatrist working closely with nurses, physical and occupational therapists, a psychologist, nutritionist and a social worker. Interestingly enough, I never fully appreciated the full importance of the multidisciplinary meetings as a student as I do now that I am a resident.  If you feel the same, it will definitely change for you as well once you are in your residency.

What came as a surprise to me was the very first lecture I got from my attending on exercise physiology. That brought back painful flashbacks from the biochemistry lectures but at the same time put the Krebs cycle in a completely different prospective that directly applied to the planning of our patients’ care. Suddenly understanding aerobic vs. anaerobic metabolism became so much more relevant. It is very important to make sure that patients suffering from heart disease don’t exercise beyond their anaerobic threshold since this will lead to lactic acid build up and ultimately ischemia.  Now that you have a bit of a flavor for cardiac rehab, I encourage you to read more on the subject.  Specifically look up the Fick’s equation and try to make sense of it. After years of playing sports and going to the gym, I feel that only now I truly understand what determines the level of fitness in a person.

In my next post, I’ll talk more about my daily experience on the cardiac floor and the other educational activities in the program. Until then, study hard but make sure to get some exercise in as well to keep your heart healthy.



Author Bio: Alex Levchenko is a PGY-2 in PM&R residency program at NYU Medical Center. He received his medical degree at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and his bachelor’s degree from New York University.  He has been an active member of AOCPMR since 2008 and served as Vice President of the AOCPMR Student Council in his last year of medical school.

Resident Member Profile: Brandon Messerli, DO

Name:   Brandon Messerli, DO
Undergrad:  University of St Thomas
Medical School:  Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Graduation Year:  2007
Internship:  University of Washington
Residency:  University of Washington

Q: What is your hometown?  Minneapolis, Minnesota
A: What first attracted you to Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation?  The care requires the most comprehensive understanding of not only the patient’s medical conditions, but also their functional, vocational, social, and psychological factors.  We truly address quality of life issues more than any other specialty.

Q: Why did you chose your residency program?
A: I applied to UW because of it’s reputation and location.  I chose UW because my interview day gave me a strong sense that the residents were happy, were very well trained and scoring at the top in the Boards, and were going on to top-notch jobs and academic positions.

Q: Why did you join AOCPMR?
A: As the health care industry is undergoing major reforms, advocacy is more important than ever to ensure Physiatry and Osteopathy maintain and gain recognition by the various parties.  Advocacy can only happen with strength, numbers, and money.

Q: What is one goal you have for AOCPMR in the coming year?
A: Allocation of resources and reimbursement is increasingly being linked to proven achievement of quality health outcomes.  We need to advocate to Congress that Physiatry has a pivotal role in developing and implementing these improved quality health outcome measures for clinical practice, and subsequently prove that our care helps patients achieve these outcomes.