• Complementary Integrative Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Complementary Integrative Rehabilitation Medicine



    What is Complementary, Integrative Medicine?

    According to the NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), if a non-mainstream therapeutic practice is used together with conventional medicine, the practice is considered “complementary.”  A complementary health approach might involve the use of natural products such as herbs, vitamins, minerals and probiotics, and/or mind and body practices such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture, chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, as well as many other therapies to restore or maintain health and wellness.

    Conversely, when a non-mainstream therapeutic practice is used in place of rather than alongside conventional medicine, then this practice is referred to as “alternative” medicine.

    “Integrative” health care involves bringing conventional and complementary treatment approaches together in a coordinated, collaborative way to promote the relief of symptoms, healthy behavior, comprehensive disease management and recovery.



    Some of the more popular complementary health approaches fall into one of two subgroups:

    • Natural Products, e.g., herbs, vitamins and minerals, dietary supplements
    • Mind and Body Practices, e.g., yoga, meditation, biofeedback, acupuncture, massage therapy, tai chi, qi gong, healing touch, hypnotherapy, and movement therapies and chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation.

    Approaches that are harder to fit into a category include traditional Chinese medicine, ayurvedic medicine, homeopathy, and naturopathy.


    ABOUT the ACRM Complementary, Integrative, Rehabilitation Medicine Networking Group

    Consistent with the NCCIH, the ACRM Complementary, Integrative, Rehabilitation Medicine Networking Group (CIRMNG) works to:

    1. Define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative health interventions and their roles in improving health and health care
    2. Generate scientific evidence that will inform decision-making by the public, by health care professionals, and by health policymakers regarding the use and integration of complementary and integrative health approaches
    3. Follow and promote best practices at every stage of the research, education, and/or treatment phase of the rehabilitation process.

    The ACRM Complementary, Integrative, Rehabilitation Medicine Networking Group provides an education and leadership platform to support collaboration among ACRM members, and existing groups in the use of cutting-edge complementary, integrative rehabilitation research and the translation of evidence into practice related to a wide variety of medical conditions that affect the physical function, cognitive wellbeing, and quality of life of individuals with disabilities and chronic health conditions such as cancer, traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury (SCI), stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, as well psychiatric conditions (e.g., depression).


    2018 Call for Proposals

    ACRM Annual Conference Call for Proposal

    The Program Committee invites proposals focused on research evidence and its translation into clinical practice for presentation at the ACRM 2018 Annual Conference in Dallas.

    See Guidelines & Submit >>


    2017 CIRMNG Poster Award Recipients

    Gloria Vergara-DiazExcellence in Complementary, Integrative Rehabilitation Medicine Poster Award

    Dual Task Assessment of the Impact of Tai Chi on Postural Control in Parkinson’s Disease
    Gloria Vergara-Diaz



    CIRMNG Mission

    This Group strives to develop channels of communication and collaborations between researchers, clinicians, educators, and consumers to improve the care of the aforementioned individuals by positively impacting their health, function, and quality of life by influencing health policy and reimbursement in order to provide premier quality rehabilitation services.


    Member Benefits

    • Participate and lead the field in cutting-edge education and research related to complementary, integrative, rehabilitation medicine
    • Continuing education opportunities
    • Opportunity to plan educational courses related to CIRMG for the ACRM Annual Conference
    • Task force participation and development
    • Collaborative research opportunities


    News & Publications

    The CIRMNG plans to develop the following publications. Please contact the appropriate task force chair(s) to learn about opportunities to participate.

    • Newsletter
    • IE Pages
    • Evidence reports
    • White papers
    • Practice Manuals


    Get Involved! Join a CIRMNG Task Force

    Shilpa Krishnan


    Chair:  Shilpa Krishnan, PT, PhD
    Department of Occupational Therapy
    University of Texas Medical Branch – Galveston
    Phone:  +1.409.772.9462


    Co-Chair:  Sonya Kim, PhD, CRC, BCB
    Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
    New York University School of Medicine
    Phone:  +

    Carmen Capo-LugoCo-Chair: Carmen Capo-Lugo, PhD
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Northwestern University

    Reza EhsanianCo-Chair: Reza Ehsanian, MD, PhD
    Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

    Brian TheodoreCo-Chair: Brian Theodore, PhD
    Research Scientist II
    Kaiser Permanente

    Sonya Kim


    Co-Chair:  Sonya Kim, PhD, CRC, BCB
    Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
    New York University School of Medicine
    Phone:  +

    Carmen Capo-LugoCo-Chair: Carmen Capo-Lugo, PhD
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Northwestern University




    HOW TO JOIN the ACRM Complementary, Integrative, Rehabilitation Medicine Networking Group

    ACRM Members

    One of the primary benefits of ACRM membership is the opportunity to participate in ACRM Interdisciplinary Special Interest Groups (ISIG), Networking Groups, and new groups like the CIRMNG. There is no additional fee to participate. Learn about all ACRM community groups here.

    Login Now to Join

    • Click the JOIN NOW button
    • Click "My Information" in the left navigation pane
    • Click "Edit/View Information" in the horizontal navigation and update your member profile by scrolling to the bottom of the page and selecting the groups in which you would like to participate.
    • Save your changes by scrolling down to the bottom-right "Save" button
    • Contact the CIRMNG Chair, Sonya Kim or Chair-Elect,  Patricia Heyn to learn about ways to get involved.

    JOIN NOW 250x50



    Nonmembers are welcome and encouraged to participate in any ACRM networking group or new group, like the CIRMNG, free of charge on an introductory basis for up to two years.

    Login Now to Join

    • Click the JOIN NOW button
    • Complete a "Nonmember/Visitors Form"
    • Click "Create Account" at the bottom-right of page
    • Contact the CIRMG chair, Sonya Kim or Chair-Elect,  Patricia Heyn to learn about current opportunities to participate.


    Executive Committee


    Sonya KimChair & Program Committee Liaison: Sonya Kim, PhD, CRC, BCB
    Research Scientist, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Clinical Instructor, Department of Neurology & Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
    New York University School of Medicine

    Sonya Kim, PhD, is a research scientist at the NYU School of Medicine where she has a joint appointment as a clinical instructor in the Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine departments.  Dr. Kim is an early career clinical psychologist, a certified rehabilitation counselor and has board certification in biofeedback.  As the pioneering force behind the use of heart rate variability biofeedback to improve emotional regulation for individuals with severe and chronic brain injury, Dr. Kim’s major research interests include cognitive deficits in multiple sclerosis, chronic TBI, and exploring mechanisms and interventions that help rehabilitate functioning post-brain injury.

    Her research seeks to demonstrate that the pursuit of health requires a multidimensional approach that can better allow for and respond to the individual complexities inherent in a patient’s care. Dr. Kim has examined the ways in which patients’ perspectives and beliefs, as well as those of their families, can play an important role in shaping clinical treatment.  She has served as PI in a grant-funded study to develop a post-traumatic growth scale in partners of individuals with multiple sclerosis, and has published and presented on the importance of lived experience as a framework for clinical care and research.  Dr. Kim’s work focuses on finding effective ways to hear and respond to patients’ stories in order to design treatment interventions that respond more directly to patients’ unique needs and strengths.

    Nicole SassonCo-Chair: Nicole Sasson, MD
    Chief, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Service Veterans Affairs-New York Harbor Health Care System
    Clinical Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, Rusk Institute

    Nicole Sasson is a Clinical Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University School of Medicine/Rusk Institute. She has been involved in the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for more than twenty five years. She has brought her innovative, integrative approach to treating patients using a combination of western and eastern techniques. Her interests in Eastern Medicine culminated in her performing her clinical training hours in acupuncture education at the West China Medical University in Chengdu, Sicuan Province, China.

    Dr. Sasson started her academic career as an attending in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Bellevue Hospital Center/NYUMC. During her tenure there, she was responsible for the development of the first PM&R Acupuncture Clinic in our country. She continues to serve her patients and obtained additional certifications in Acupuncture, Spinal Cord Injury Medicine and Pain Management. She has been involved in the care of this patient population in inpatient and outpatient arenas. Major diagnoses treated include: all musculoskeletal complaints-back, neck, knee, headaches, pain syndromes, tendonitis, temporo-mandibular pain syndrome, myalgias; anxiety, dysmenorrhea, fertility, perimenopausal symptoms, immune enhancement, neuropathy, atypical pain syndromes, meneire’s disease, post-herpetic neuralgia, fibromyalgia, phantom limb pain.

    In 2004 she was appointed Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Veteran Affairs, at New York Harbor Healthcare System (NYHHS). This involves supervision of 3 campuses (acute care and subacute care/inpatient and outpatient services) where 32 residents and additional fellows and other specialty residents from New York University rotate annually. Her charge has been to increase education and staff awareness of the needs of these veterans and make sure that the returning soldiers from Operation Iraqi Freedom /Operation Enduring Freedom receive the best care available.

    Marianne MorteraCo-Chair: Marianne H. Mortera, PhD, OTR/L
    Independent Consultant, Therapeutic Resources and New York City Department of Education
    Occupational Therapist

    Marianne H. Mortera, PhD, OTR/L, received her MA and PhD in Occupational Therapy degrees from New York University. She is an independent health care provider in the New York City DOE schools providing OT services to children with developmental disabilities, autism, attention deficit disorder, physical disabilities and emotional disorders. She currently has a WOC appointment with the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, NY to investigate the determinants of return to productivity with OEF/OIF Veterans who have sustained TBI and PTSD. She has developed and initially tested the Mortera Cognitive Screening Measure and the Cognitive Screen for Grooming.

    As an occupational therapy faculty member in entry-level and postprofessional programs for over 27 years, she has taught courses in neuroscience, neurorehabilitation, physical disabilities, cognition and cognitive rehabilitation, medical conditions, the development of clinical practice guidelines, theory, research methods and proposal writing, and applied scientific inquiry at New York University, Long Island University, Columbia University, Mercy College, and A. T. Still University. She has also presented extensively on neuroscience underlying occupational therapy intervention, cognitive assessment in individuals with acquired brain injury, and the development and testing of the Structured Functional Cognitive Assessment method.

    Ariana VoraCo-Chair: Ariana Vora, MD
    Staff Physiatrist
    Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

    Dr. Ariana Vora has been serving on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation since 2005. She completed her medical degree at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and her residency at Harvard Medical School, where she served as Chief Resident. Dr. Vora is board-certified in Integrative and Holistic Medicine, Sports Medicine, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She has extensive training and experience in Ayurveda and regenerative medicine. She is active locally, nationally and internationally in integrative medicine leadership and scholarship, and she is the recipient of national awards in the field of humanistic medicine.

    Her clinical and research interests include integrative medicine, regenerative medicine, and musculoskeletal rehabilitation. Her clinical practice includes integrative health consultation, lifestyle modification, non-operative orthopedic assessments and procedures, fitness and biomechanical evaluations, and regenerative techniques, with the goal of patient-centered optimization of health, function and quality of life.

    Patricia HeynChair-Elect Communications Officer: Patricia C. Heyn, PhD, FGSA, FACRM
    Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
    School of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

    Dr. Heyn has distinctive knowledge on how to synthesize and evaluate the quality of the evidence to provide guidance on current physical medicine issues to improve research and methodology, and in conducting health services and implementation research to promote the best evidence-based practices in rehabilitation medicine. Her work on the effects of exercise training for individuals with dementia is highly cited and well-recognized in the rehabilitation field.

    Dr. Heyn has several ACRM leadership and mentorship roles as well as in many other national organizations such as the NIH/NIDKK Network of Minority Health Research Investigators (NMRI) and the Gerontological Society of America. Her investigations include the associations between exercise, mobility, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular risk factors, and cognitive function. She has been involved in several international academic programs and her research was featured in La Nación, Argentina's leading newspaper and is frequently cited in various media such as HealingWell.com, WIKIBOOKS, ABC 7 News and the Alzheimer’s Association.

    Allan TysonConsumer Representative: Allan Tyson, MA

    Allan Tyson received a BA in Psychology and an MA in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of South Florida. As a graduate of the Brain Injury Day Treatment Program (BIDTP) at Rusk Rehabilitation, he is a peer counselor for the trainees currently attending the BIDTP and a guide for the Achilles running group where he helps individuals with disabilities participate  in the Achilles International signature race,  “Hope and Possibility,” and in the NYC Marathon.

    Allan’s personal and professional efforts are directed at helping others to overcome obstacles and achieve promising life outcomes. An ambitious goal-setter, Allan motivates and encourages people to see beyond where they are, accept coaching from others  on where they would like to be, in order to help them prepare for achieving their personal goals. Tenacious and curious by nature, Allan is a firm believer in the importance of enriching life through continued physical and mental stimulation and growth. His interests range from photography to technology and his curiosity and tenacity have helped him to face and work through the many challenges caused by his TBI. In life and in work, Allan continues to set and achieve goals that, after his injury, many thought would not be possible; he delights in encouraging others to do the same.

    Pallavi SoodSecretary: Pallavi Sood, BPT, MSPO, PhD student
    Research Assistant
    Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (CINDRR), VA

    Pallavi Sood is a third year doctoral student in Rehabilitation Science at UF and a Research Assistant at CINDRR, NF/SGVHS. Ms. Sood received her bachelor's degree in Physical Therapy from Kurukshetra University, India, before moving to the US to pursue a master's of science degree in Prosthetics and Orthotics at University of Pittsburgh. She completed her year-long prosthetics residency at Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics, Peoria, IL and worked as a board eligible prosthetist before moving to Florida to pursue her PhD. She has a graduate certification in Gerontology, Aging and Geriatric Practice, and Introduction to Clinical/ Transitional Research.

    Ms. Sood's research interests include clinical outcomes and methodology in the field of rehabilitation sciences, assistive technology, and falls outcomes among older adults. Ms. Sood is currently working on a project called the Veteran Initiated Electronic Care Coordination (VIECC) that trains Veterans to electronically transfer their health care information to their non-VA providers. She is currently assisting the principal investigator with data collection, data entry and analysis for a gait and balance related project at VA, Gainesville, FL.

    Shilpa KrishnanEarly Career Networking Group Liaison: Shilpa Krishnan, PT, PhD
    Research Scientist
    Department of Occupational therapy, University of Texas Medical Branch – Galveston

    Dr. Krishnan is Research Scientist primarily working on the Patient Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) for Elderly study at the University of Texas Medical Branch. She is a licensed physical therapist currently with active license in the states of New York and Texas. She received a Bachelors in Physical Therapy from Dr. D.Y. Patil University, India; before she moved to Pittsburgh to obtain her Masters in Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Pittsburgh. She completed her PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh, Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology. She further completed her NIDILRR post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Ken Ottenbacher from the University of Texas Medical Branch.

    Her research focuses on PCOR methods, comparing effectiveness of rehabilitation and functional outcomes following stroke across various settings, management of caregiver burden following neurological conditions, prevention and early detection of secondary complications following spinal cord injury such as pressure ulcers, pneumonia, urinary tract infections etc.


    Xiaolei HuInternational Networking Group Liaison: Xiaolei Hu, MD, PhD
    Physiatrist, Neuroscientist
    Department of NeuroRehabilitation, NUS
    University Hospital of Northern Sweden

    Xiaolei Hu, MD, PhD is a physician and a neuroscientist in acquired brain injury (particularly stroke) care and rehabilitation. She is working as a resident with a research position at the Department of NeuroRehabilitation, University Hospital of Northern Sweden. Dr. Hu serves the Swedish Society of Rehabilitation Medicine as a member of the board. She is active in local, national and international organizations dealing with acquired brain injury and neurodisability. Dr. Hu was a physician in China before she moved to Sweden as a guest researcher in the neuroscience field in 1995. Thereafter, she started her doctoral study on exploring pathphysiological mechanism after stroke in stroke models, with focusing on how to rescue dying neurons in the penumbra area after stroke.

    After she finished her doctoral study in 2003, Dr. Hu moved her research direction into the rehabilitation field during her postdoc period. She proved that the stroke rats living in an enriched environment could improve not only motor but also cognitive recovery through neuroplasticity. Dr. Hu then renewed her medical education and became a physician in Sweden. Her main areas of clinical and research interest include implementation of evidence-based motor and cognitive rehabilitations into the clinical praxis in acquired brain injury care and rehabilitation. Dr. Hu is a busy practicing clinician involving both early discharge and community-based neurorehabilitation, neuromedical assessment and management of persons with acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury and neurodisability. Meanwhile, Dr. Hu is teaching in the medical program and supervising several medical students at Umeå University.


    Family Liaison Officer: Open Position
    Please contact CIRMG Chair, Sonya Kim, PhD, CRC, BCB or Chair-Elect,  Patricia C. Heyn, PhD, FGSA, FACRM to inquire about serving in this role.