Dr. Joel Giffin, PT, DPT, CHT
Dr. Joel Giffin, PT, DPT, CHT received his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree with distinction from Simmons College. Prior to that he earned his Master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Quinnipiac University with Honors where he also played Division 1 lacrosse. After completing an extensive 5 year training in the education and implementation of the intricacies of hand treatment and splinting methodologies, Joel became a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) in 2009.
Flex Physical Therapy was founded by Joel in 2014 with the passion of providing outstanding clinical care in a warm environment. He brings nearly 15 years of experience in a variety of settings such as private practices, specialty hospitals and health care centers. This includes his eight-year term as a Clinical Director of an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy clinic on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where he won the award for “Clinical Director of the Year.”
Joel regularly attends many continuing education courses to stay current on new trends and techniques, and serves as a supervisor and educator to numerous licensed physical therapists and student physical therapy doctoral candidates. He has treated Broadway Theater performers providing rehabilitation and crisis management back stage for the last 7 years at shows such as The Lion King, Sleep No More, Tarzan, and Sister Act. He is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association and American Society of Hand Therapists. When he is not with his patients at Flex Physical Therapy, Joel enjoys spending time on his bike and with his wife and two sons.
Dr. Stephen Chao, PT, DPT, CSCS
Dr. Stephen Chao, PT, DPT, CSCS graduated from Stony Brook University with a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science and went on to serve as a paramedic before enrolling in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at NYU. He gained exposure to patient care in both hospital and outpatient clinics, including Hospital for Special Surgery, Columbia University Sport Orthopedics and Bellevue Medical Center. After graduating from NYU, he worked in sport orthopedics before arriving at Memorial Sloan Kettering in 2010. Stephen served as a Senior Physical Therapist for over 5 years at Memorial Sloan Kettering, specializing in oncology rehabilitation. During this time, Stephen’s expertise was focused in the areas of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, sport orthopedics and neurological rehabilitation. He has contributed to articles and interviews related to his clinical interests in publications such as Men’s Health Magazine, Men’s Fitness magazine and Under Armour.
After serving as adjunct faculty in the PT Assistant Program at LaGuardia Community College, Stephen returned to his undergraduate alma mater after over a decade to join the faculty in the Doctorate in Physical Therapy Program at Stony Brook. He is involved in the orthopedic rehabilitation track, exercise physiology and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation classes. His research interests are in the areas of cardiopulmonary physical therapy, particularly in the critically ill, and in oncology rehabilitation. In addition to Stephen’s clinical duties, he has been in competitive martial arts since the age of 7 and continues to train in kickboxing and wrestling. He has also picked up powerlifting in his free time.
Dr. Lauralee Johnson, PT, DPT
Dr. Lauralee Johnson, PT, DPT obtained her doctorate of physical therapy with honors from Touro College of Health Sciences. Her earliest interest in the field began while dancing for a pre-professional company in her hometown of southern Virginia. Lauralee went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Dance Science at Goucher College. During this time, she worked at John Hopkins Hospital as a physical therapy aide, and completed an internship with a world renowned foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon.
Lauralee’s experience includes working with a variety of orthopedic and neurological populations of all ages, including athletes and active New Yorkers. She’s mastered her skills through years at orthopedic outpatient facilities, Alvin Ailey School for Dance, and injury prevention educational workshops. She practices from a biomechanical approach, utilizing a neuromuscular and manual foundation supported by evidence based results. Lauralee’s passion is in customizing treatment; targeting the true underlying cause of dysfunction; empowering patients through education; and returning each individual to a safe, active, pain free, and confident lifestyle.
Dr. Patti Cavaleri, PT, DPT
Dr. Patti Cavaleri, PT, DPT is Flex’s Certified Pilates practitioner, who earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Columbia University with honors. Prior to graduate school, Patti completed her B.S. in Applied Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside. She holds a prestigious certification in Performing Artists Healthcare from the American College of Sports Medicine and Performing Arts Medicine Association to best support the needs of musicians, dancers, and actors.
The use of Pilates in her own strengthening and recovery, inspired Patti to complete a 600-hour comprehensive teacher training in full apparatus for Classical Pilates which she integrates into her PT treatments. Along with conducting research and presenting nationally, Patti is also a lab teaching assistant for Neurological Rehabilitation at Touro College where she leads review lectures for Doctor of Physical Therapy students and assists with lab skills. She obtained her LSVT BIG certification which has a program dedicated to improving motion for those with Parkinson’s Disease. Patti approaches treatment of all patients with a passion for aiding in achievement of treatment goals through a combination of customized manual therapy skills, exercises, and education to support optimal body mechanics and function.
Alex Stabile, MS, OTR
Alex Stabile, MS, OTR, is the hand specialist at Flex Physical Therapy. He graduated with a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy in 2010 from SUNY Downstate Medical Center. While pursuing his graduate studies, Alex was awarded a prestigious scholarship from Burke Rehabilitation Hospital. He then obtained valuable experience working in orthopedic outpatient and hospital settings where he identified and honed his area of expertise as a premier hand specialist. He is committed to supporting patients in maximizing and restoring hand function, and is especially skilled in the treatment of traumatic injuries to the upper extremity and fabrication of custom-made splints.
Alex believes in a client-centered approach with an emphasis on patient education and evidence based practice. He is a member of the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT) and regularly attends continuing education courses focused on hand and arm function and mobility. Alex has proudly and diligently completed the five years and 4,000 hours of direct client contact required to obtain the prestigious certified hand therapist (CHT) title, which is expected to be conferred upon the completion of the boards this Spring 2018. When he is not working or studying, Alex enjoys hiking, skiing, golf, and running.
Jade Giffin, Director of Operations
Jade Giffin, MA, LCAT, ATR-BC, is a practicing licensed and board certified art therapist. Prior to obtaining her masters with honors in the field at NYU, she graduated from Barnard College with distinction and worked in fashion. She brings her knowledge of corporate practice, love of artistic design, and commitment to providing a sense of wellness and healing to Flex Physical Therapy. In her role as Director of Operations, she develops strategies and plans to streamline and elevate aspects of operations including but not limited to brand design and management; office interiors; patient satisfaction; internet presence; and TEAM FLEX (please refer to About Us for more information on this program). She and Joel met working with children at a camp for at-risk youth in the summer of 2001 and have been partners ever since. Jade is proud to bring a family sentiment to the practice where her young sons can be seen occasionally waving hello through the windows!
Rochelle Hughes, Office Administrator
Rochelle joined Flex PT because she loves working with people. Whether employed in security, as a librarian, or doing missionary work with children, Rochelle has always committed herself to opportunities with a people-oriented focus. She values knowing each patient by name, and making them feel comfortable. Rochelle aims to support patients in having a seamless administrative experience so they can focus on getting well. When not welcoming people to the 36th Street Office, Rochelle can be found enjoying time with her children and family.
Paulette Augustin, Office Administrator
Paulette brings a diverse range of skills and experiences to Flex PT. She is an expert in clients services, having worked at a managerial level in customer relations for a decade where she ensured customer satisfaction, and company values were honored. She is excited to support patients in maximizing their experience at Flex by being their first warm greeting, and facilitating their scheduling and insurance needs. When Paulette is not at work, she enjoys cooking and baking with her daughter.