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.
Stephen later returned to Stony Brook to join the faculty in the Doctorate in Physical Therapy Program. He is involved in the orthopedic rehabilitation track, exercise physiology and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation classes. After teaching hand and upper extremity courses, Stephen continued to pursue interest in hand therapy. He has accrued the practical hours required to specialize, and is projected to obtain the prestigious Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) title this Fall 2018. 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. Ariella Pohl, PT, DPT
Dr. Ariella Pohl, PT, DPT specializes in outpatient orthopedic rehabilitation and the treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction in both men and women. She obtained her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Touro College. Prior to her graduate studies, she received her BS in Kinesiology from University of Maryland. Ariella’s exposure to the field, and inspiration to pursue it, dates back to a young age as a child visiting her mother practice physical therapy to children with special needs in a school setting. On her journey to earning her doctorate, Ariella served as an aide/tech and volunteered in many different physical therapy settings including outpatient orthopedics, pediatrics, and geriatrics.
Ariella has extensive experience in outpatient orthopedics treating patients with sports injuries; chronic neck/back pain; or in need of post-operative support. She also provided acute care in a hospital specializing in stroke rehab. Ariella is passionate about women’s health and pelvic floor therapy. She continued her education by taking additional coursework through the renowned Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute. As an avid runner who has completed numerous marathons and half marathons, she is committed to helping runners recover from injuries in order to complete their desired race. When not treating or training, Ariella loves traveling, hiking, and going to concerts.
Dr. Maria Kaczmarczyk, PT, DPT
Dr. Maria Kaczmarczyk, PT, DPT received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Touro College. Prior to her graduate studies, she received her BS in Exercise Science, Applied Kinesiology from Rutgers University. During her time as a doctoral candidate, Maria gained valuable experience at multiple outpatient clinics where she confirmed her passion for treating orthopedic-related injuries. In addition to her outpatient experience, she developed individualized treatment plans for post-surgical patients and those with neurological conditions at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital. Maria has honed her skills as a physical therapist in orthopedic outpatient practices in both Manhattan and Brooklyn treating individuals with diagnoses ranging from cervical/lumbar pain, knee injuries, hip pain, shoulder pathologies, gait and balance dysfunction, post- operative care, and foot/ankle disorders.
Maria believes in a patient-specific approach that combines manual techniques, therapeutic exercises and patient education. She takes a holistic approach to physical therapy assessment and treatment to determine the root cause beyond the symptoms. Maria has taken numerous continuing education courses including McKenzie and St. Augustine manual therapy courses. She is working towards obtaining her OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist). Maintaining an active lifestyle herself, whether training for a half marathon, playing tennis, weightlifting, or skiing, Maria is able to relate to patients who strive to overcome injuries and return to their physical hobbies in peak form.
Dr. Heather Miller, PT, DPT
Dr. Heather Miller, PT, DPT earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Columbia University. There, she graduated with honors and earned the Alfred DiMarino Award for Excellence in Pediatrics. After receiving her graduate degree, Heather joined Mount Sinai West Hospital where she gained experience designing and implementing individualized care plans to meet the unique needs of patients of all ages recovering from orthopedic injuries, neurological conditions, and post-surgical intervention.
Heather’s interest in physical therapy and human performance sparked as a result of years spent training as a national level competitive swimmer, and later as a member of the Cornell University Women’s Swim Team. In her free time, she enjoys studying the impact of nutrition on health and continues to pursue her athletic interests as an active yogi and runner. It is Heather’s passion to empower others to reach their own wellness goals.
Madison Baughman, MS, OTR/L, CHT
Madison Baughman, MS, OTR/L, CHT is a Certified Hand Therapist at Flex Physical Therapy. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from NOVA Southeastern University. Great passion and commitment contributed to Madison’s pursuit of the field of Occupational Therapy, and her work as a healing professional, after post undergraduate exploration in the fashion industry in NYC and abroad. While pursuing her graduate studies, Madison gained experience in outpatient orthopedics, hand therapy, and acute care. She continued to obtain valuable skills working in Washington DC with the military population at Walter Reed doing orthopedic and neurological rehabilitation, as well as outpatient therapy for children with physical and sensory challenges.
Madison also provides therapy in inpatient and outpatient rehab at Stamford Hospital where she identified and honed her area of expertise as a premier hand specialist. She 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. Madison has proudly and diligently completed the 4,000 hours of direct client contact and passed the extensive board exam required to obtain the prestigious Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) title. When she is not working or studying, Madison enjoys traveling, weightlifting, staying active and spending time with family and friends.
Henry Goldberg, MA, OTR, CHT
Henry Goldberg, MA, OTR, CHT is a certified hand therapist at Flex Physical Therapy. He has held this prestigious title since 1991, when the first certification exam was offered. He initially graduated with a BS in Occupational Therapy from Columbia University, and later completed his MA degree in Advanced OT from New York University. Henry practiced hand therapy at Lenox Hill Hospital for 16 years where he became the Supervisor of Hand Therapy treating pre and post surgical upper extremity injuries. He next served as Clinical Specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital for over 11 years treating a broad cross section of acute and chronic outpatient orthopedic, spinal cord, stroke, and brain injury diagnoses.
Henry values treating patients on a 1-1 basis and fostering their regaining function. He brings an incredible wealth of knowledge and expertise in his field. When he is not treating patients at Flex, Henry loves travel, enjoying his cats, and taking photos. He is a long time resident of Manhattan.
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!
Paulette Augustin, Office Administrator
Paulette brings a diverse range of skills and experiences to Flex PT. She is an expert in client 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.
Bruno Vida, Office Administrator
Bruno comes to Flex PT with various skills and applicable experiences at a boutique fitness studio, bustling salon, and as a luxury brand ambassador. He was born and raised in Cuiaba, Brazil, and is a professionally trained actor and singer with a BFA from Rider University. Bruno combines his enthusiasm for fitness and health with expert customer service skills to support patients in their wellness journey at Flex. When not working, you can find Bruno at the gym, in nature and adventuring around the city discovering new hidden gems.