Pediatric Rehabilitation Fellowship

Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine offers a two-year Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine Fellowship in collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), and Blythedale Children’s Hospital, in Valhalla, NY.

The Fellowship is under the direction of Hana Azizi, MD, assistant Professor of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and the Interim Director of Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Blythedale Children’s Hospital. The clinical curriculum includes inpatient care, acute hospital consultation, outpatient care, and training in procedures for spasticity management.

The fellowship is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) since 2017, and graduates are eligible to sit for the certification in this specialty offered by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

Applicants for the Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine Fellowship must be in their final year of residency or have completed their residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Clinical Sites

Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYPH) is the highest ranked children’s hospital in the US News ratings in the New York Metro area with a 250 bed tertiary care hospital with a full array of specialized services and facilities.

Blythedale Children’s Hospital is a 95 bed specialty children’s hospital dedicated to children with complex medical illnesses and rehabilitation conditions. Blythedale is one of only 19 pediatric specialty hospitals in the United States and has the combined staff, expertise and resources including the largest pediatric therapy department in New York State, for medically complex children. Blythedale has the only post acute Acquired Brain Injury Program in NY state, a post-NICU/PICU program, and both a K-12 public school district and a 24 bed long term care facility on site. Blythedale is also home to the Center for Adaptive Equipment.

At Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the fellow will receive in-depth exposure to unique rehabilitation issues facing children undergoing cancer treatment, including functional sequelae related to cancer itself, different chemotherapeutic agents, and surgical and radiation treatments. The fellow will learn to evaluate, diagnose, and treat specific musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions in children with leukemia, lymphoma, neuroblastoma, sarcoma, brain tumor, retinoblastoma, post-bone marrow transplant, and others.

Clinical Education

Our Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine Fellowship provides trainees with a well-rounded clinical experience in outpatient care and procedures at NYPH/CUIMC and MSKCC, hospital consultation at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NYPH/CUIMC and MSKCC, and in the inpatient and day hospital setting at Blythedale Children’s Hospital. The fellow will participate in interdisciplinary inpatient and outpatient clinics during their training and research activities, supervised by attending pediatric rehabilitation medicine faculty members. Across the various clinical sites, rotation structure is as follows:

  • Columbia outpatient / consultations 20%
  • MSK outpatient / consultations 20%
  • Blythedale inpatient 20%
  • Blythedale outpatient / consultations 20%
  • Research 20%
  • Subspecialty rotations interspersed and flexible including ( but not limited to): Orthopedic Surgery, Urology, Movement Disorder Neurology, Developmental Pediatrics, Genetics, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Palliative Care, PICU, Rheumatology
  • Continuity clinic one afternoon per month throughout the fellowship

The fellow will learn to provide outpatient and inpatient care for children and adolescents with acquired and congenital conditions and injuries including:

  • Cerebral palsy across the lifespan
  • Neuromuscular diseases
  • Spina bifida
  • Pediatric limb deficiency
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Acquired brain injury
  • CNS and other malignancies
  • Chronic pain syndromes
  • Musculoskeletal disorders

Procedural Training

Hypertonia management using ultrasound and nerve stimulator guidance includes:

  • Botulinum toxin injections to salivary glands and hypertonic muscles
  • Phenol and ethanol nerve blocks Intrathecal baclofen pump management


There are a myriad of didactic opportunities available to the fellow including:

  • Outpatient Rotations
    • Columbia weekly US workshops in which the fellow is encouraged to teach residents
    • Weekly virtual multidisciplinary three dimensional gait lab analysis conference held in conjunction with Hospital for Special Surgery Orthopedics Department with in depth discussion and education regarding three dimensional gait analysis and treatment planning
  • Inpatient Rotations
    • ○ Formal weekly didactic lecture series at MSKCC and Blythedale
  • Virtual Programming
    • Monthly national movement disorder case discussions held in conjunction with neurology discussing interesting and difficult cases of movement disorders
    • Monthly multidisciplinary spasticity meeting with orthopedics to discuss patient cases and treatment options
    • Weekly orthopedic tumor boards at Memorial Sloan Cancer Center discuss pathology, radiology, and treatment plans for orthopedic cancers
    • Fellow monthly Board Review
    • Fellow monthly Journal Club
    • Departmental Grand Rounds including Department of Rehabilitation, Department of Pediatrics, Child Neurology, and Pediatric Orthopedics
    • Dedicated time to attend lectures through The Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center, The Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) eAcademy, The Cerebral Palsy Research Network, AAPM&R PRM Lecture Series

Research Requirement

The fellow receives 20% protected research time throughout the entirety of the fellowship with the goal of skillful development of IRB preparation, study design, and methodology and publication.

QI Project

The fellow is required to carry out a Quality Improvement Project with attending supervision.


Hana Azizi, MD

Interim Chair Pediatric Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Dept. of Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine, Columbia University Iriving Medical Center
Fellowship Program Director of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons /NYPH
Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Pediatric Attending Physiatrist Columbia University Irving Medical Center

  • Medical School: Shiraz University of Medical Sciences
  • Residency: Montefiore Medical Center
  • Fellowship: NYU Rusk Rehabilitation
  • Professional Interests: Improving function and quality of life of patients and their families,
  • musculoskeletal ultrasound
  • Personal Interests: Dancing, swimming, learning languages
  • Favorite NYC Spot: Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park

View Full Profile

Elisabeth Bellissimo, ABSN, MSN

Clinical Coordinator II Columbia University Iriving Medical Center
Pediatric Rehabilitation Nurse Practitioner Columbia University Iriving Medical Center

  • Hometown: Palo Alto, California
  • Undergraduate Degree: BS Health Sciences, Boston University
  • Graduate Degree: ABSN and MSN Pediatric Primary Care, University of Pennsylvania
  • Professional Interests: Cerebral palsy, spasticity management, overall wellness and comprehensive care
  • Personal Interests: kickboxing and yoga, spending time with my fiance and dog, learning about herbal medicine and acupuncture
  • Favorite NYC Spots: Restaurants: Lucali (best pizza in NYC), Gage and Tollner. Fun: Brooklyn Bridge Park, The Gutter (bowling)

View Full Profile

Kasia Ibanez, MD

Director, Pediatric Cancer Rehabilitation Rotating Fellowship Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Pediatric Attending Physiatrist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

  • Hometown: Cleveland, OH
  • Undergraduate Degree: Cleveland State University
  • Medical School: Case Western Reserve University
  • Residency: Cleveland Clinic, New York Presbyterian Hospital
  • Professional Interests: Cancer rehabilitation
  • Personal Interests: Cooking, gardening, and spending time with my family
  • Favorite NYC Spots: High Line

View Full Profile

Xiaofang Wei, MD

Pediatric Attending Physiatrist at Blythedale Children’s Hospital

View Full Profile

Amy Tenaglia, MD

Pediatric Attending Physiatrist at CUMC and Blythedale Children’s Hospital

  • Hometown: Thornwood, NY
  • Medical School: New York Medical College
  • Residency: NYU Rusk Rehabilitation
  • Professional Interests: Spasticity management, brain injury, cancer rehabilitation
  • Personal Interests: Spending time with my husband, our dog and cats, hiking, playing Super Mario Brothers 3, reading, playing board games
  • Favorite NYC Spots: Markets at Union Square and Bryant Park
Dara Jones, MD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College Assistant
Attending of Physiatry at the Hospital for Special Surgery

View Full Profile

Current Fellows

Deborah Cassidy, DO PGY-6
  • Hometown: Downingtown, PA
  • Medical School: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Residency: Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
  • Professional Interests: Tone management, CP, BI, SCI, cancer rehabilitation, bracing
  • Personal Interests: Yoga, Outdoor sports/ activities, Family, Friends, Cooking, Dogs
  • Favorite NYC Spots: Too many to pick just one!
Vera Tsetlina, MD PGY-5
  • Hometown: Moscow, Russia
  • Medical School: Russian State Medical University
  • Residency: NewYork Presbyterian, Columbia, and Cornell
  • Professional Interests: Pediatric Cancer Rehabilitation
  • Personal Interests: Ballet, yoga, art, and traveling new places
  • Favorite NYC Spots: Cyclades in Astoria, Ravagh on Upper East Side


  • Amy Tenaglia, MD
    Attending, CUIMC
  • Ray Stanford, DO
    Attending, Phoenix Children's Hospital
  • Jared Levin MD
    Attending, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
  • Hannah A. Shoval, MD
    Attending, Children’s Specialized New Jersey


For more information please contact:

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Harkness Pavilion 1-168 180
Fort Washington Avenue
New York, NY 10032
Phone: (212) 305-8592
Fax: (212) 305-4258