Dr. Joel Giffin, PT, DPT, CHT
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
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.
Jade Giffin, MA, LCAT, ATR-BC
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!
Dr. Stephen Chao, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
Clinical Director Flex UWS
Director of Research and Education
Dr. Stephen Chao, PT, DPT, OCS, 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. Stephen holds the prestigious board certification of Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy (OCS). He has patient care experience 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. As the Director of Research and Education at Flex, Stephen is recognized as the CCCE (Clinical Coordinator of Clinical Education); Lead for Research; and Head of New Hire Mentorship. 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
Clinical Director Flex Midtown West
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. Chris Carmichael, PT, DPT, SFMA
Dr. Chris Carmichael, PT, DPT, SFMA obtained his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Drexel University and has furthered his education with extensive study in SFMA, the Mckenzie spine method and Kettlebell training in the clinical setting along with treatment of endurance athletes. Chris is also skilled in instrument assisted soft tissue mobilizations (IASTM).
As a physical therapist with years of experience practicing in an outpatient orthopedic setting, Chris believes that physical therapists are movement experts and uses his knowledge and clinical skills to improve the movement of others. He has a passion for spines, sports, screens, and working with endurance athletes. He is known for his custom-tailored treatments and exercise prescriptions for patients. With expertise in mechanical diagnosis and therapy (MDT) and selective functional movement (SFMA) he integrates multiple approaches to improve outcomes. In his free time Chris is a husband and father to 2 kids, loves rock climbing, running, lifting heavy weights and being in nature. He is originally from Oklahoma, but now calls NYC home.
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.
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.
Zane Lynch graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre and a Minor in Gender Studies. He began his ballet training as a child, and is thrilled to live in the dance capital of the world. After spending the past three years as an Executive Assistant, Zane is excited to bring his experience to an office that allows others to regain movement in their lives. He received his Hot HIIT certification from Bikram NYC, and can be found teaching the method when he isn’t at Flex.