Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Residency Program | JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute   

Welcome Message from the Program Director


As Residency Program Director for more than 20 years and as Chair of the DepartmenSara Cuccurullo, M.D.t, 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 close to 40 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!


Sara Cuccurullo, M.D.
Clinical Professor and Chairman, Residency Program Director,
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Hackensack Meridan School of Medicine
Medical Director and VP, JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute

Contact Us:

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

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

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

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, Botulinum toxin 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 Botulinum toxin 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 on the local, regional and national levels, especially at including 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 work on the consult service at 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.

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