Physical Therapist Dedicated to Assisting Patients and Families in Aftermath of Life-Changing Injuries
Lauren Greenfeld, PT, DPT, NCS, devotes herself to patient care and staff education in Shepherd Center’s Acquired Brain Injury Program.
Growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., Lauren Greenfeld, PT, DPT, NCS, physical therapy manager in Shepherd Center’s inpatient Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Program, figured she’d combine her two loves – sports and science, specifically anatomy – and become a sports trainer for the New York Knicks. But as she was pursuing her physical therapy degree, she did a clinical rotation in neurological trauma. Her focus changed from wanting to help elite athletes to aiding those who had experienced a life-changing injury. Recently, she was part of a group that was instrumental in starting a physical therapy neurologic residency program at Shepherd Center.
As a physical therapy manager, what does your job entail?
I supervise 12 physical therapists and nine program technicians. The job involves coordinating schedules, planning education, mentoring, hiring and developing new programs that ensure we are providing a high quality of care to our patients and resources for our staff.
What do you like best about your job?
I like the challenge of figuring out what is best for the patient. No two patients are the same. As a physical therapist, you have to look at everyone individually and assess his or her goals. With a brain injury, we have to view it from a global standpoint, looking at all areas – physical, cognitive, visual, emotional. This challenges you to make sure you are incorporating all areas of treatment.
What is the most rewarding aspect?
Dealing with a brain injury is probably the worst thing the patients and their families have ever gone through. It’s a privilege that they look to us to help them. I enjoy collaborating with therapists to help them have that impact on the patients. We always try everything we can and we always have hope. A few patients have come in who couldn’t lift their heads off the bed, but left walking, dressing and doing their daily activities by themselves. Just to be able to see that progress and be a part of it is so rewarding.
What keeps you coming to work every day?
The dedication and commitment of the staff here. It’s an amazing group of people. They are so selfless with their time in wanting to help the patient. They go above and beyond every day to find every available treatment option and resource that the patients and families need. It inspires me to want to support them and be selfless in the giving of my time.
Explain the neurological PT residency program at Shepherd Center.
In the 13-month program, licensed therapists who are interested in going into the neurological field get exposure to patient care in a wide variety of areas: multiple sclerosis, brain injury, stroke and spinal cord injury. The program exposes them to this field and the different patient populations, which a lot of rehab facilities don’t have. It also bridges the gap between the academic, clinical and research environments. To me, this is just another example of how Shepherd Center gives back to community. By sharing our patient care and our expert staff, we are improving the knowledge and skills of physical therapists out there, which creates more opportunities for our patients to have expert care.
Experience: Lauren joined the staff at Shepherd Center in 2003 as a physical therapist in the ABI Unit and became a manager in 2008.
Education: Bachelor of Science, Duke University; Master of Physical Therapy, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Emory University School of Medicine
- Lauren loves to travel and takes two trips to Europe every year, always spending Christmas in Paris (her favorite city).
- She is a huge sports fan. The Duke Blue Devils, New York Giants and New York Yankees are her favorite teams.
- She enjoys dining out, swimming and playing tennis.
Interviewed by Sara Baxter
Photos by Jane M. Sanders
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 935 inpatients, 541 day program patients and more than 7,300 outpatients each year.