Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) Residency

Message From The Program Director

Dr. Sara CuccurulloWelcome,

As Residency Program Director for more than 20 years and as Chair of the Department, what I am most proud of regarding the JFK Johnson Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) Residency Program is the quality of the amazing residents and fellows we graduate. The JFK Johnson Residency Program has consistently received Five Stars—the highest rating—for its Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Residency Training program from Doximity, the leading network for U.S. Physicians. Our faculty takes great pride in the efforts they have put into training these amazing residents and fellows ensuring that they are clinically competent and confident. An integral part of this training is the 1:1 attending resident ratio that we structure our clinical curriculum on and the volume of patients and procedures that every resident gets exposed to.

Our medical knowledge curriculum is highly structured and dovetails into our senior Board Review Course for part one of the PM&R Board Exam. The PM&R Board Review Course utilizes the bestselling textbook, “The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Board Review Book” of which I am Editor-in-Chief and many of the chapter authors are the accomplished attendings that the residents train with. We have had 100% Board Pass rate for this exam for over 20 years.

In addition, our program is extremely well-rounded and, as a result, our graduates go into many different areas. Our residents have a 100% match rate into PM&R fellowships in Brain Injury Medicine, Pain Medicine, Spinal Cord Injury, Pediatrics and Sports Medicine.

Many of our graduated residents have become leaders in the field. They are Chairs, Residency Program Directors, Researchers and Fellowship Directors. In addition, they have started successful private practices and have hired many of our graduates to expand their practices. Since I became chair in 2014, the faculty in our department has grown from 10 physicians to 32 physicians, many of whom were residents or fellows that graduated from our program. Having these highly talented and accomplished physicians join our department has added exponentially to the great culture and energy that we have here at the JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute.

We thank you for your interest in the PM&R Residency Program at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. Please explore our website and review our program to get more information.

Should you have any further questions or need any other information please don’t hesitate to call our program directly and speak with us at 732-321-7000 (extension 62133).

Again, thank you and good luck!

Sincerely,

Sara Cuccurullo, M.D.
Clinical Professor and Chairman, Residency Program Director,
Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School/JFK Medical Center
Medical Director and VP, JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute

Recent Happenings

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Congratulations to our recent graduates

Stephanie Chan, MD
Attending Physician
Maine Medical Center, Maine Medical Partners
Neurosurgery and Spine
Portland, Maine

Steven Markos, MD
Attending Physician
JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute
Edison, New Jersey

Shrut Patel, MD
Sports Medicine Fellowship at
Geisinger Health Systems
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Aakash Thakral, MD
Pain Medicine Fellowship at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute
Edison, New Jersey

Program Overview

JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute’s Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) Residency Program, offered through the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The three-year program, beginning at the PGY-2 level, is committed to education, maintaining a 1-to-1 Resident-to-Attending ratio and providing exposure to diverse clinical cases.

JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute has received Five Stars—the highest rating—for its Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Residency Program from Doximity, the leading network for American physicians.

This well-rounded program is credited with giving residents extensive opportunities for hands-on training with electrodiagnostic testing, Botox injections for treatment of spasticity, baclofen pump refills, and peripheral joint injections. Residents graduating from the program feel very confident in their medical knowledge, clinical and procedural skills, and have great success in obtaining fellowship positions and employment after graduation. The program also has a 100% Board Pass Rate.

The PM&R Program also offers two ACGME-accredited one year Fellowship training programs, offering one open position per year in the Brain Injury Medicine Fellowship and one open position per year in the Pain Medicine Fellowship.

The PGY2 through PGY4 Residency Program includes: protected resident education time during weekly lectures (includes lecture series, grand rounds, case reviews, seminars, Journal Club and visiting lecturers); anatomy cadaver lab, tracheostomy workshop, peripheral joint injection workshop, travel to off-site courses on prosthetics, orthotics and electrodiagnostics; and a board review course in their senior year.

Program Benefits

Key benefits of the residency program at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute include:

  • Broad exposure to clinical cases seen in the field of PM&R.
  • 1-to-1 Resident-to-Attending supervision.
  • Hands-on training with spasticity management, including Botox injections and baclofen pump refills.
  • Hands-on training with electrodiagnostic testing.
  • Hands-on training with peripheral joint injections—training both with PM&R physicians and an Orthopedic surgeon on separate rotations.
  • Inpatient rotations caring for patients with: stroke, traumatic brain injury, neuromuscular diseases, Parkinson’s disease, musculoskeletal disorders, cardiopulmonary disease, cancer, spinal cord injuries and others.
  • Outpatient rotations include training with specialists in the following fields: musculoskeletal medicine, electrodiagnostic medicine, sports medicine, rheumatologic disease, pain management, spasticity management, prosthetics and orthotics, Parkinson’s disease and neuromuscular disease, Wheelchair evaluations, pediatric rehabilitation, Aftercare program and spinal cord injury.

At JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute, residents:

  • Are encouraged to present and publish case reports and research both on the local and national level, including at New Jersey Society Resident Research Night, and national PM&R Conferences.
  • Work in a team environment with their Attending physician, nursing staff, therapy team including physical, occupational, speech, recreation and vocational therapists, aides, social workers and the patient and their families.
  • Work with the Attending (who is a subject matter specialist) each month to coordinate the resident lectures. All lectures are focused each month on a core subject matter topic, and this material is reinforced annually.
  • Are evaluated during each rotation, including multiple chart simulated oral examinations and through providing case write-ups.
  • Engage in rotations mostly focused on the JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute campus in Edison, NJ. Residents also do rotations off-campus with musculoskeletal training at NJ Orthopedic Sports and Spine, pain management training at Roosevelt Care Center, pediatric rehabilitation training at Children’s Specialized Hospital Mountainside, and working on the consult service at both RWJUH in New Brunswick (which includes trauma consultations), JFK Medical Center, and St. Peter’s University Hospital.

Goals of the program include residents gaining:

  • extensive well-rounded training in both in-patient and out­ patient PM&R services;
  • extensive medical knowledge and hands-on training with procedural skills;
  • teaching opportunities working with medical students on rotations as well as giving lectures to fellow residents;
  • experience in giving oral presentations and poster presentations both at the local and national level.

Residents in their PGY4 year have elective time where they are able to pursue more in-depth training in their areas of focus and interest, and also do up to 1 month of off-site training at an accredited site program. The opportunity to go off-site is unique, and some residents use this time to explore sites offering fellowship training programs. Chief Residents are selected from the PGY4 residents and take leadership roles in creating and coordinating the resident didactic lecture series and rotation and on call schedules. They work directly with the Residency Program director and meet on a weekly basis to coordinate the activities of the residency program.

Contact Us

Sara Cuccurullo, M.D.
Residency Program Director
732-321-7000 ext. 62133, 62780
Sara.Cuccurullo@hackensackmeridian.org

Leslie Bagay, M.D.
Assistant Residency Program Director
732-321-7000 ext. 68244
Leslie.Bagay@hackensackmeridian.org

Beverly Bolger, PM&R
Residency Program Coordinator
732-321-7000 ext. 62133
Beverly.Bolger@hackensackmeridian.org

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