Support Groups

Rusk & Rusk-Affiliated Patient, Caregiver and Family Support Groups and External Resources

In addition to our many targeted therapeutic programs, Rusk also sponsors or is affiliated with a number of groups that meet on a regular basis for the purpose of bringing together patients and/or caregivers of people who are dealing with similar issues. These groups are an opportunity to share information and emotional support, socialize, and practice specific skills. We also encourage our patients to connect with outside organizations that can provide additional information and resources related to their condition or disability.

Following is a list of Rusk-related programs, as well as links to selected outside groups.

NYU Langone Amputee Support Program

Launched in 2008 by amputees and physicians, NYU Langone’s amputee support program is known as LEAP! – Learning and Encouragement for Amputees with and without Prosthetics. LEAP! is designed to create a place where amputees, their families and friends, physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers can learn, teach, support each other, and interact. To learn more about this program or our monthly meetings, please visit the Amputee Support Program webpage or call 646.501.7783.

Achilles Midtown East

Rusk's chapter of Achilles International is called Achilles Midtown East.The mission of Achilles International is "to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics in order to promote personal achievement, enhance self-esteem, and lower barriers to living a fulfilling life." The Achilles Midtown East chapter meets in the Rusk lobby at The Ambulatory Care Center, 240 East 38th Street in Manhattan every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. and practices on the running path near the FDR Drive. Anyone is welcome to join, whether or not they are undergoing therapy at Rusk. Our members include athletes who run, walk, and use hand-crank cycles, wheelchairs, and power wheelchairs, and who have medical backgrounds ranging from limb loss to brain and spinal cord injury. Members participate according to their ability and progress at their own pace.

Those interested in joining our practices are asked to first join Achilles International (membership is free). For more information about the organization, visit the Achilles International website. If you have any questions, please contact Katie Gatta at (212) 263-6059.

NYU Parkinson’s Disease Caregiver Support Group

The Parkinson’s Disease Caregiver Support Group provides a forum where loved ones of people with Parkinson’s Disease can come together to support each other, discuss shared experiences, receive psychological education on issues like stress management and changes in social roles when a disease like Parkinson’s strikes, and learn about other community resources that can help ease their burden as caregivers. The group, led by Renee Gross, MSW, LCSW, meets on the first Thursday of every month from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. in the Social Work Trailer Conference Room on the ground floor of Rusk at The Ambulatory Care Center, 240 East 38th Street in Manhattan. For more information, please contact Ms. Gross at (212) 263-1114 or at, or call Rusk’s main office at (212) 263-5018.

NYU Communication Community Group for People with Parkinson’s Disease

The Speech-Language Pathology Department’s outpatient Communication Community Group for people with Parkinson’s meets every Friday from 11:00 a.m. to noon in Room 305RR of Rusk at The Ambulatory Care Center, 240 East 38th Street in Manhattan. Call (212) 263-6025 or 6027 for information or an appointment. The group is free, and is designed to give people with Parkinson’s an opportunity to practice the speech and voice techniques they’ve learned in formal speech therapy. At the same time, it is a place to socialize and share experiences with other Parkinson’s Disease patients who are confronting communication challenges.

CRISP Support Group for MS Patients and Other Socially Isolated Patients

Our CRISP (Community Reintegration for Socially Isolated Patients) program meets two to three times each month to enjoy outings in the Tri-State area. Previous excursions have included trips to Broadway shows, baseball games, highlights tours of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, theatrical performances, comedy shows, and many more exciting events. For more information, please contact J. Tamar Kalina at (212) 598-6585 or at

NYU Mended Hearts Program

To enhance their re-integration into the community, Rusk’s cardiac rehabilitation patients are encouraged to participate in a cardiovascular disease support group. One very effective program, the Mended Heart Association, has been active in our center since 1997. The Mended Hearts Program at NYU Langone Medical Center, has three services:

  • A bimonthly health education program that includes lectures and discussions about healthy lifestyles, conducted by leading physicians, health professionals, and notable people from the community.
  • A visiting hospital program, accredited by the national Mended Hearts organization, that sponsors training for people who have had cardiac events and want to make themselves available to others who are experiencing the same concerns during hospitalization and recovery.
  • A peer-support group program that offers cardiac rehabilitation patients and their families an opportunity to share information and experiences.

The NYU Chapter of Mended Hearts was established in 1997 by a cohort of graduates from the Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation Program with the support of the national Mended Hearts organization, the NYC Affiliate of the American Heart Association, and NYU Langone Medical Center. Its work is connected with local community groups, as well as with the more than 260 chapters of Mended Hearts, Inc. throughout the U.S. and Canada. The NYU Chapter’s visiting hospital program has averaged more than 400 bedside patient visits per year over the past five years. This program is just one example of Rusk’s patient- and family-centered approach to assisting patients achieve cardiac health.

NYU Langone/Rusk Stroke Support Groups

Rusk sponsors several support groups for people who have had strokes. These groups can be valuable sources of emotional support and information, and also help stroke patients re-integrate into their community by encouraging social interaction.

The Young Stroke Survivors Group

This group is an open forum for younger people who have had a stroke and their family members and caregivers to discuss topics relevant to young stroke survivors. The group gathers monthly for discussions, information sessions, guest speakers, and fellowship. There is no age requirement, though most attendees range in age from 19 to their early 60s, with an average age in the mid-40s. The group’s primary aim is to address any and all concerns relating to the ongoing challenges of coping in the community. The agenda is open, and includes discussions related to relationships, self image, employment, dating, aftercare, and current research studies, among other topics. Guest speakers are often invited, as well. Past speakers have included a physician who returned to practice following a stroke, a nutritionist, and a research physician. An annual holiday party is always scheduled to celebrate not only the season, but another year of survivorship. Meetings take place on the second Tuesday of every month from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Room RR 111-112 of the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at The Ambulatory Care Center, 240 East 38th Street in Manhattan. For more information about the group, contact Dina Pagnotta at (212) 404-3793 or, or Pamela Singer at (212) 263-8070 x74823 or

Rusk's Aphasia Community Group Program

This program is overseen by the Speech-Language Pathology Department and is part of our Communication Community Group Program. This program, which is offered free of charge, is designed to provide an opportunity for socialization and group interaction to persons with aphasia, or loss of speech-a condition that may occur following a stroke or other brain illness-at the conclusion of their outpatient speech program. Former Rusk outpatients have priority for entry into the program; if there is sufficient space, persons with aphasia who have not attended the Rusk outpatient program will be accepted as well. The Aphasia Community Group meetings are led by volunteers or graduate student externs, and are not considered an official part of Rusk’s speech-language pathology treatment. To join a group, contact the program coordinator at (212) 263-6025 for a referral form. For further information about the Aphasia Community Group, please contact Karen Riedel, PhD, CCC-SLP Director of the Speech-Language Pathology Department at (212) 263-6027 or at

The Family & Friends of Individuals with Acquired Brain Injury (FIABI) Group

This program which is offered free of charge, is designed to assist family members and friends of individuals with acquired neurological conditions learn more about the frequent physical, mental, and emotional changes associated with brain injury or illness. The semi-structured discussions led by a group of rehabilitation specialists offer empowering insights on how to handle specific challenges such as communicating with your loved one on difficult issues. Further the group offers an opportunity for caregivers to socialize and discover resources available to them. Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., at the NYU Langone Ambulatory Care Center, 240 East 38th St, 17th floor. To register, please contact us via phone or e-mail:

Kristine Kingsley, Psy.D., ABPP
212 263-6177

Links to Outside Resources

Additional Resources for Patients with Brain Injuries

Additional MS Resources

A major strength of Rusk’s Multiple Sclerosis rehabilitation program is our highly collaborative relationship and affiliation with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society through the society’s New York City chapter. We strongly encourage all of our patients and families to register with the MS Society in order to get up-to-date information on clinical management, research, advocacy, and education related to MS.

Additional Vocational and Educational Resources for Children and Adults

Additional Resources for Children and Adults with Speech-Language Impairment