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                             Faculty         
  • Puneet Aggarwal, MD
  • David Agner, MD, FACP
  • Bobby Alexander, MD
  • Richard Bach, MD
  • William Bockenek, MD
  • Leon Chandler, MD
  • Kelly Crawford, MD
  • Sima Desai, MD
  • Dukjin Im, MD
  • Michael Kennelly, MD
  • Jessie Lieberman, MD
  • LaTanya Lofton-Hogue, MD
  • Timothy Miler, MD
  • Charles Mitchell, DO
  •            

  • Vu Nguyen, MD 
  • Chandee Payne, DO
  • Shanti Pinto, MD
  • Terrence Pugh, MD
  • Vishwa Raj, MD
  • Sonya Rissmiller, MD
  • Nicole Rup, MD
  • Matthew Shall, MD
  • Siddarth Thakur, MD
  • J. George Thomas, MD
  • Douglas Thommen, MD
  • Tobias Tsai, MD
  • Julian Willoughby, MD
  • Paul Withers, MD
  • PAs/NPs:

  • Amber Jackson, NP
  • Laurel Socha, NP
  • Sara Sonnekalb, PA-C
  • Shawn Van Wallandael, PA-C
  • Jeffrey Wiggins, PA-C
  •  

    Research:
  • Mark Hirsch, PhD
  • Mark Newman, PhD
  •            

    Aggarwal

    Puneet K. Aggarwal, MD
    Medical Director, Sports Medicine & Injury Care

    Dr. Aggarwal is a graduate of the Medical College of Virginia. He completed his residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine. Later, he completed an Interventional Spine fellowship at Medical College of Virginia Hospital and the Sheltering Arms Spine and Sport Center. He is board-certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Sports Medicine and Pain Medicine.

    Dr.Aggarwal is an active member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, North American Spine Society, and Spine Intervention Society. His primary interests are in interventional spine care, musculoskeletal and sports medicine.

    During his spare time, Dr. Aggarwal enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, running, and swimming.


    Agner

    David Agner, MD
    Faculty Physician

    Dr. Agner is board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Agner completed his undergraduate degree in Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was a member of Rho Chi, the Pharmaceutical Honor Society. Dr. Agner received his medical degree at East Carolina University and his internship in Internal Medicine at Mount Carmel Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio.  His residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation was obtained at The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio.

     Alexander  

    James R. Alexander, MD
    Faculty Physician

    Dr. Alexander is an Orthopaedic Physiatrist in OrthoCarolina specializing in spine and pain medicine.

    Dr. Alexander received his medical degree from UNC Chapel Hill in 2000 and his internship in Internal Medicine at Carolinas Medical Center in 2001. He completed his Residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Carolinas Rehabilitation in 2004. After residency, Dr. Alexander went directly to his fellowship in Interventional Physiatry in Spine and Pain Medicine at Orthopaedic Specialists of the Carolinas from 2004 to 2005.

    Bach

    Richard Bach, MD
    Faculty Physician

    Dr. Bach was enrolled in a seven year BA/MD program and received his undergraduate degree in Medical Science from Boston University and his medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, NJ. He completed his internship in an Internal Medicine at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, NJ and his residency at the Kessler Institute of Rehabilitation which is affiliated with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey/New Jersey Medical School. Dr. Bach is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

    His special interests include musculoskeletal and stroke rehabilitation. He is married with two children and enjoys hiking and golfing. 

    Bockenek

    William L. Bockenek, MD
    Chair, Department of PM&R, Carolinas Medical Center
    Chief Medical Director, Carolinas Rehabilitation
    Director, Post Polio Program

    Dr. Bockenek is the Chairman of the Dept. of PM&R at Carolinas Medical Center and Chief Medical Officer of Carolinas Rehabilitation. He graduated medical school at the University of South Florida and completed his PMR residency at Rutgers NJ Medical School and the Kessler Institute of Rehabilitation.

    He is a Full Professor at Carolinas Medical Center and an adjunct Professor at UNC Chapel Hill. He is certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Spinal Cord Injury Medicine by the ABPMR, as well as Electrodiagnostic Medicine by the ABEM. He is also certified by the Certifying Commission in Medical Management as a Certified Physician Executive (CPE).
    When the first PM&R residents arrived at CR/CMC in 1992, he was the residency program director and remained in that role for 15 years, prior to handing the baton to Dr. Nguyen in 2006. One of the proudest achievements of his career was being a recipient of the Parker J. Palmer Courage to Teach Award (sponsored by the ACGME) in 2004.

    He is a former member and vice-chair of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, where he was chair of the Spinal Cord Injury Medicine committee and MOC committee, for many years. He was also a member and Chair of the Residency Review Committee for PMR within the ACGME and following his term on the RRC, chaired the committee that developed the initial ACGME PMR Milestones for the Next Accreditation System. He is also previously served on the Board of the American Paraplegia Society, the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals, and the American Spinal Injury Association. He is the currently the director of the Program for Academic Leadership within the Association of Academic Physiatrists.

    Dr. Bockenek enjoys hiking, bicycling, kayaking, and spending time with his family and friends in the NC mountains.

    Leon Chandler, MD
    Faculty Physician

    Dr. Chandler completed his undergraduate studies at The Johns Hopkins University with a BA in Public Health / Natural Sciences. He is a graduate of the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate College of Medicine. He completed his internship in internal medicine at Staten Island University Hospital and his residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Temple University Hospital. Dr. Chandler is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation as well as subspecialty board certified in Brain Injury Medicine. He has been an exam question writer for The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ABPMR) written examination as well as an oral boards examiner for the ABPMR.

    Dr. Chandler is an active member of the Association of Academic Physiatrists (AAP) and has been a member of its Education Committee and Global Academic Physiatry Task Force. He has been a workshop moderator and course director at the AAP annual meeting. He is also a member of the International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine and its World Health Organization Liaison Work Group for Capacity Building of the Rehabilitation Workforce in Low Resource Countries. Dr. Chandler is also a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Brain Injury Association of North Carolina.

    Dr. Chandler’s main clinical interests are concussion, stroke and general physiatry. His other clinical interests include obesity management and wellness in the rehabilitation patient population. Dr. Chandler has attained additional certifications in acupuncture, obesity medicine and independent medical examinations. His areas of educational focus are on teaching quality improvement (QI) methodology as QI curriculum director for the Carolinas Medical Center Department of PM&R Residency Program; and as the rotation director for the inpatient PM&R consult service at CMC. His proudest moment at Atrium Health was receiving a departmental teaching award from the residency program.

    Dr. Chandler enjoys taking walks with his wife and 3 children. He is a “semi-retired” ITF Taekwondo black belt and enjoys rooting for his favorite teams including Manchester United, the Lakers, Mets and NY Giants.

    Crawford

    Kelly Crawford, MD
    Medical Director, Brain Injury Program
    Fellowship Director, Brain Injury Medicine

    Dr. Crawford received her undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Exercise and Sports Science, Kinesiology and subsequent Masters Degree in Pharmacology from Tulane University. She received her medical degree from The Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University. She completed her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Cincinnati where she served as Chief Resident. Following her residency, she completed her fellowship training in Brain Injury Medicine (including traumatic brain injury and concussion management) at the University of Pittsburgh.

    Dr. Crawford is board certified in the specialty of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Brain Injury Medicine. She is an active member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the Association of Academic Physiatrists, and the North American Brain Injury Society. Her clinical interests include spasticity, concussion, and neurorehabilitation.

    Dr. Crawford is a football enthusiast and enjoys cheering for the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Cincinnati Bengals. She also enjoys movies and spending time with her family and friends.

    Desai 

    Sima Desai, MD
    Faculty Physician

    Dr. Sima Desai received her undergraduate degree from Emory University in Atlanta, GA, subsequently received her masters degree in Pharmacology from Tulane University and her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine.

    She completed an Internal Medicine internship at Flushing Medical Center in Flushing, NY and residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Tufts Medical Center where she served as Associate Chief Resident. Following residency, she completed a fellowship in Brain Injury Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Dr. Desai is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the Association of Academic Physiatrists, and the North American Brain Injury Society. Her clinical interests include traumatic brain injury, stroke, neurorehabilitation, and spasticity.

    During her spare time, Dr. Desai enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, baking, and trying new food in Charlotte.       

    Mark A. Hirsch, PhD, FACRM
    Senior Scientist
    Director, Parkinson Disease and Movement Disorders Lab
    Director, Department of PM&R Residency Research Education Program

    Dr. Hirsch is a movement scientist. He was awarded a PhD from Florida State University (at age 29) and completed an NIH T32 post-doctoral fellowship in neurorehabilitation research at Johns Hopkins Hospital, in the Department of PM&R. He completed advanced training in Parkinson disease in the Department of Neurology at Dusseldorf University, Germany. His current research interests are in gait and balance and in exercise-induced neuroplasticity, mostly in Parkinson disease. Dr. Hirsch conducted pioneering research on patient/provider/scientist collaboration. His contributions to the field of exercise and Parkinson diseases have changed the clinical rehabilitative management of patients with PD.

    Dr. Hirsch was appointed Fellow of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. He provides leadership on a variety of ACRM committees including the Neurodegenerative Diseases group and the ACRM Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. He enjoys spending time with his wife, two boys, and salsa dancing.

    Im

    Dukjin Im, MD
    Faculty Physician, Pediatric Rehabilitation at Levine Children’s Hospital

    Dr. Im received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from John Hopkins University  He obtained his medical degree, residency, and fellowship at University of Michigan (UM) located in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he also became board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine.

    Dr. Im is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine and the Association of Academic Physiatrists  He has special interests in spasticity management and disability issues where he spent 15 years doing summer camps for children with special needs.

    In his spare time, Dr. Im enjoys spending time with his wife and three children.

    Jackson

    Amber Jackson, NP

    Amber completed her bachelor degree in nursing in 2010 at Marquette University Wisconsin. In 2018 she earned her Masters of Science in Nursing major in Adult Acute Care at the same university. Immediately after completing her nursing degree, Amber joined Aurora Medical Center Grafton, WI and worked as a registered nurse at the Medical/Surgical Cardiac and Neurology step-down unit. Amber joined Atrium Health in 2019 and currently works with Traumatic Brain Injury patients. Amber is ACNP board certified with certifications in cardiovascular and pain management nursing.

    In her spare time, Amber and her husband, Patrick enjoy the warmer climate and exploring the city with their new golden doodle, George.

    Kennelly_Michael

    Michael J. Kennelly, MD, FACS
    Medical Director, Charlotte Continence Center
    Director, Urology Services

    Dr. Michael J. Kennelly is fellowship trained and board-certified urologist with subspecialty certification in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. Academically, he is a Professor in the Department of Urology at Carolinas Medical Center and at the University of North Carolina Medical School – Charlotte Campus and actively involved in the training of fellows and residents. Administratively, he is Medical Director of the Charlotte Continence Center at Carolinas Medical Center, Director of Urology at Carolinas Rehabilitation Hospital, and Co-Director of the Women’s Center for Pelvic Health.

    His interests are in the medical and surgical treatment of urinary incontinence and other types of voiding dysfunction, neuromodulation, prolapse repair, complex redo female urologic surgery, neurourology and fistula repair. He participates in numerous clinical trials and regularly serves as organizer, invited lecturer and visiting professor at local, national, and international events.

    Dr. Kennelly has authored or coauthored several journal articles, book chapters, and educational videos in the areas of urinary incontinence and neurourology and has lectured extensively on these topics. A Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, he is also a member of 10 professional organizations and holds several leadership positions. He is a Board of Director of the Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogenital Reconstruction and Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals. He is the current President of the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals, Past President of the American Paraplegic Society, Past President of the American Spinal Injury Association, in addition to recent Past Chairman of the Bladder Health Committee for the AUA Urology Care Foundation.

    Jesse Lieberman, MD, MSPH
    Faculty Physician

    Dr. Lieberman received his undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University and his medical degree from Wake Forest University. He completed his internship in Internal Medicine at The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and his residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Carolinas Rehabilitation.  Following his residency, he completed a fellowship in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Masters of Science in Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

    Dr. Lieberman is board certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and board eligible in spinal cord injury medicine. He is a member of the American Heart Association, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the American Spinal Injury Association and the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals. His clinical interests include spinal cord injury medicine, research of cardiovascular disease, and prevention and detection in individuals with spinal cord injury. 

    Dr. Lieberman enjoys reading with his twins and spending time with his family.

    Lofton

    LaTanya D. Lofton-Hogue, MD
    Program Director, Spinal Cord Injury Program

    Dr. Lofton-Hogue is a graduate of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. She completed her residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She was a clinical fellow in Spinal Cord Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.  Dr. Lofton-Hogue is board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

    Associations in which Dr. Lofton-Hogue is active include the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the Association of Academic Physiatrists, the American Medical Association, the Texas Medical Association and the Arkansas Medical Society. Her clinical interests include spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, amputee rehabilitation and neuromuscular disease.  Dr. Lofton-Hogue enjoys cooking, reading, playing the piano and playing the saxophone.

    Miller

    Timothy B. Miller, MD
    Faculty Physician

    Dr. Miller received his undergraduate and medical degree from Louisiana State University. He completed his internship in Internal Medicine at Earl K. Long Medical Center and his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at New York University’s Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine. Following residency, he became the medical director of an inpatient rehabilitation center in Louisiana.

    Dr. Miller is board certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. His clinical interests include stroke rehabilitation and electrodiagnostic medicine.

    Dr. Miller is married with two daughters and one son. He enjoys playing basketball, traveling and watching Louisiana State University football.
            

    Dr. Mitchell

    Charles Mitchell, DO
    Faculty Physician

    Dr. Mitchell graduated with honors from the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medical School in 2014. During medical school he was inducted into Sigma Sigma Phi (the honorary Osteopathic service fraternity), earned an MBA from the Lincoln Memorial University, and taught for an additional year as an OMM/Anatomy Teaching Fellow at his medical school. He later graduated from the University of Cincinnati's PM&R residency program in 2018. During residency he was awarded the Arnold P. Gold Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award and participated in several research projects, including a retrospective pediatric cancer rehabilitation chart review and a prospective robotic intervention for post-stroke hemi-neglect.

    Dr. Mitchell's career interests are in cancer rehabilitation, transitional care for pediatric to adult cancer survivorship, and medical technologies for rehab medicine.

    In his free time, he enjoys biking nature trails, exploring local food fairs and festivals, and travelling to National Parks.

    Newman

    Mark A Newman, PhD, MPH
    Assistant Professor and Research Scientist

    Dr. Newman received his BS and MS degrees from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and his MPH and PhD degrees from the University of Pittsburgh.  His main research interests are examining how injury and illness impact physical function. In the past, he has worked on multi-center clinical trials focusing on falls prevention and ways to attenuate mobility disability in older adults.  Currently, he is focused on developing rehabilitative interventions that use available technology to assess each individual’s functional abilities, allowing for a more accurate characterization of the patient population.  As injury and illness affect each person differently, a goal of his research is to find more effective ways to tailor rehabilitation plans to meet the specific needs of each individual. 

    He is a member of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine.

    In his spare time, Dr. Newman enjoys spending time with family and friends, running, resistance training and watching sports.

    Nguyen

    Vu Q.C. Nguyen, MD
    Vice-Chair of Academics
    Director, PM&R Residency Program
    Director, Research
    Medical Director, Specialty Clinics

    Dr. Nguyen graduated from Michigan State University and completed an internship in Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics. He served as a physician in the United States Air Force, functioning as an Emergency Medicine physician and Interim Medical Director, and later practicing Family Medicine. After leaving the Air Force, he returned to residency training at Carolinas Rehabilitation where he served as Chief Resident and subsequently joined the faculty of Carolinas Rehabilitation.

    Dr. Nguyen is board certified in the specialty of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. He subspecializes in Stroke Rehabilitation. Currently, he is a member of the Board of Directors on the American Board of PM&R, the United States National Association Representative to the Assembly of Delegates in the International Society of PRM, and a member of the Parkinson Disease Working Group with the World Health Organization. He was previously a member of the Board of Trustees of the Association of Academic Physiatrists where he Chaired the Education Committee and the GME Committee. He is a former President of the Residency and Fellowship Directors Council and has served as the PM&R Representative to the Organization of Program Directors Association. In 2017, similar to Dr. Bockenek in 2004, Dr. Nguyen was awarded the Parker J. Palmer Courage to Teach Award by the ACGME recognizing his excellence and dedication as a teacher.

    His research interests involve spastic hypertonia, neuromodulation of hemiplegic shoulder pain, pedagogy and the education of medical learners.

    Dr. Nguyen is married to another physician and they have 6 children - 3 humans and 3 felines. Their current interests include traveling, hiking, camping, and going to the beach.

     Payne

    Chandee Payne, DO
    Faculty Physician

    Dr. Payne received her undergraduate degree in Athletic Training/Sports Medicine from Lenoir Rhyne University and her osteopathic medical degree from VCOM Virginia Tech. She completed her residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Carolinas Rehabilitation in Charlotte NC.

    Dr. Payne is a member of the American Medical Association, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Association for Academic Physiatrists. Her special interests include musculoskeletal and neurologic rehabilitation, lymphedema, prosthetics and orthotics.

    During her spare time, Dr. Payne enjoys cycling and weight training. She also enjoys traveling, hiking, and scuba diving with her husband Steve.      

     

    Shanti Pinto, MD
    Assistant Professor, Brain Injury Medicine
    Director, TBI Model Systems

    Dr. Pinto completed her medical education at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School as part of the Physician Scientist Training Program. She completed residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) in 2016, where she received the Excellence in Brain Injury Medicine award. Dr. Pinto then completed fellowship in Brain Injury Medicine at UPMC in 2017. She has presented at numerous national conferences and received the Best Paper Award for current fellows at the Association of Academic Physiatrists Annual Meeting in 2017 for her presentation entitled “Cost-Efficacy Analysis of Routine Venous Doppler Ultrasound for Diagnosis of Deep Venous Thrombosis at Admission to Inpatient Rehabilitation” and in 2020 for faculty physicians for the presentation “Mild Traumatic Brain Injury is Associated with Increased Dual Task Cost During Ambulation.” She is principal investigator of the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems follow-up site at Carolinas Rehabilitation. Her research interests include functional mobility following TBI, and she received the Richard S. Materson ERF New Investigator Research Grant Application from the Foundation for PM&R to validate the Electronically Augmented Timed Up and Go Test (EATUG) in adults with TBI. 

    She serves on the program committee of the Association of Academic Physiatrists (AAP). She is an active member of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM), participating in the Disorders of Consciousness, Chronic Brain Injury, and Prognosis task forces of the Brain Injury Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group (BI-ISIG) and the Rehabilitation Treatment Specification Networking Group.

    During her spare time, Dr. Pinto enjoys teaching her dog new tricks, running on the trails at the US National Whitewater Center, traveling, and trying new food in Charlotte.                    

    Terrence Pugh, MD
    Assistant Professor
    Vice-Chief, Section of Rehabilitation, Dept of Supportive Oncology, The Levine Cancer Institute
    Director, Oncology Rehabilitation - Carolinas Rehabilitation
    Director, Medical Student Clerkship
    Associate Director, Cancer Rehabilitation Fellowship

    Dr. Pugh received his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and his medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine at UAB Hospital in Birmingham. He completed an Internal Medicine internship at the UAB-Montgomery Internal Medicine Residency Program. He completed his residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Carolinas Rehabilitation where he served as Chief Resident and joined the faculty at Carolinas Rehabilitation focusing on Cancer Rehabilitation.

    Dr. Pugh is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the Association for Academic Physiatrists and the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine.
    During his spare time, Dr. Pugh enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching and participating in all types of sports, traveling, music and movies.

    Vishwa Raj, MD
    Professor
    Chief, Section of Rehabilitation, Dept. of Supportive Care, The Levine Cancer Institute
    Medical Director, Cancer Rehabilitation
    Vice-Chair for Clinical Operations, Dept. of PM&R, Carolinas Medical Center
    Director, Cancer Rehabilitation Fellowship

    Dr. Raj received his undergraduate degree in biophysical chemistry from Princeton University and his medical degree from the Rutgers University-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He completed his internship in internal medicine at Abington Memorial Hospital in Abington, Pennsylvania, and his residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

    Dr. Raj is currently the Medical Director at Carolinas Rehabilitation and Vice-Chair of Clinical Operations for the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. He is also the Chief of Oncology Rehabilitation for the Levine Cancer Institute. Dr. Raj provides cancer rehabilitation services on both an inpatient and outpatient basis, with specific emphasis on lymphedema management, hematological malignancy, and neurological tumor rehabilitation. Dr. Raj is active in many regional and national initiatives regarding the rehabilitation of oncology patients, and participates in research activities relating to functional improvement for individuals suffering from cancer. His program was the first ever accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for cancer rehabilitation. He is also very involved in national initiatives relating to health care reform, patient accessibility, and utilization for inpatient rehabilitation in the United States.

    Sonya G. Rissmiller, MD
    Faculty Physician

    Dr. Rissmiller graduated from the Medical College of Virginia and completed her residency training at Carolinas Medical Center. Her special interests include musculoskeletal, orthopaedic, amputee rehabilitation, management of fibromyalgia and myofascial pain, and exercise prescription for the elderly.

    Dr. Rissmiller is married with two children, two cats and two dogs.

    She enjoys weightlifting, fitness activities, Dr. Phil and chocolate.

    Rup

    Nicole Rup, MD
    Director, Carolinas Rehabilitation-Northeast

    Dr. Rup received her undergraduate degree in Human Physiology from Boston University, summa cum laude and her medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. She completed her internship in Internal Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL and her residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC).

    Dr. Rup is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Association of Academic Physiatrist.

    Her special interests include Neuro-Rehabilitation and Stroke Rehabilitation.Dr. Rup is married with two children and enjoys running & baking.

    Matthew B. Shall, MD
    Director, Carolinas Rehabilitation, Mount Holly
    Associate Residency Program Director

    Medical Director, Stroke Program

    Dr. Shall earned his undergraduate degree from Miami University and his Doctorate of Medicine from the Medical University of Ohio. He completed his internship in Internal Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School before completing his residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Carolinas Rehabilitation where he served as Chief Resident. Following his residency, Dr. Shall joined a private practice in Seattle, Washington, before returning home to become Medical Director of Carolinas Rehabilitation, Mount Holly. Dr. Shall is board certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Association of Academic Physiatrists.

    In addition to numerous volunteer activities, Dr. Shall enjoys spending time with his wife and three beautiful children, riding bikes, golfing, traveling, watching movies and rooting for The Ohio State University.

              
    Socha

    Laurel Socha, NP

    Laurel has been a part of the Levine Children’s team since 2006. She received her Masters of Science of Nursing at Vanderbilt University in 2011 and transitioned into the role of pediatric rehab NP at Carolinas Rehabilitation in 2012. Laurel is an active member of the Pediatric Advance Practice Provider Council and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP), as well as a member of the practice specialty organizations, The American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM) and American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPMR).

    Laurel is married with four children and enjoys all kinds of adventures together.

    Sonnekalb

    Sara Sonnekalb, PA-C

    Ms. Sonnekalb has been practicing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation since 2016, with a focus on stroke recovery, amputees and general debility. She completed her master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies in 2016 at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, NC. Prior to this, Sara earned bachelor degrees in Athletic Training [Physical Education], as well as Health Sciences from SUNY Brockport in 2003, graduating with Cum Laude honors. She earned a Master’s degree in Developmental Kinesiology, concentrating in Exercise Physiology, from Bowling Green State University in 2005. She has 10 years of experience working in Sports Medicine with athletic teams, including 4 years as Head Athletic Trainer at Nation Ford High School in Fort Mill, SC. She was also an instructor at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC where she taught First Aid & CPR, Rehabilitation Techniques and Therapeutic Exercise.

    Ms. Sonnekalb’s professional interests include nutrition, sports medicine, and community health/wellness. In her spare time, she enjoys tennis, biking, live music and trying new restaurants.

     Thakur

    Siddarth Thakur, MD
    Faculty Physician

    Dr. Siddarth Thakur obtained his undergraduate degree from Tulane University, and subsequently received a Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He received his medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine. He completed a transitional year internship at Wayne State University School of Medicine, and residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine.

    Dr. Thakur completed a fellowship in Pain Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. During his spare time, he enjoys playing tennis, eating Indian cuisine, and spending time with family and friends.

    Thomas

    J. George Thomas, MD
    Medical Director, Carolinas Rehabilitation-Pineville

    Dr. Thomas received his medical degree from Trivandrum Medical College in Kerala, India. He completed his internship in Internal Medicine at St. Francis Hospital and his residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at University of Missouri School of Medicine. Following residency, he completed a fellowship in spinal cord injury medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine/Jackson Memorial Hospital. He completed a fellowship in spinal cord injury medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine/Jackson Memorial Hospital. Subsequently, he became an attending physician on the inpatient rehabilitation unit and teaching faculty for the PM&R residency program at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics and has won several teaching awards from graduating residents.

    Dr. Thomas is board certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and received a subspecialty certification in spinal cord injury, burns rehabilitation and wound care. He is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the American Paraplegia Society. His clinical interests include the use of neuropharmacology in cerebral injuries, spinal cord injury and burns rehabilitation and wound care. 

    Dr. Thomas is married with two daughters and enjoys photography, traveling and playing soccer.

    Thommen

    Douglas M. Thommen, MD
    Faculty Physician

    Dr. Thommen received his undergraduate degree from The University of Richmond, Virginia in Biology & Chemistry. He received his medical doctorate from The University of Medicine & Dentistry, New Jersey, where he also completed his Internal Medicine Internship. He then finished his Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation residency program in 2008 at the JFK-Johnson Rehabilitation Institute, in New Jersey, where he was Chief Resident.

    Dr. Thommen is board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and he is a member of the American Academy of PM&R and the Association of Academic Physiatrists. His clinical interests include prosthetics & orthotics, amputation medicine, gait analysis, stroke rehabilitation and spasticity management with botulinum toxin.

    Dr. Thommen is married with a son and two daughters. He enjoys running, hiking, boating, rock climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding, reading, puzzles, legos and playing guitar.

    Tsai

    Tobias Tsai, MD
    Medical Director
    Pediatric Rehabilitation at Levine Children’s Hospital

    Dr. Tsai received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University. He completed his internship at University of Rochester and his residency at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

    Dr. Tsai is nationally recognized as a leader in Pediatric Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, providing comprehensive services for children of all ages who have experienced a debilitating illness or injury. His clinical interests include cerebral palsy and brain injury. Dr. Tsai has presented at national and international medical conferences and is a member of many pediatric and rehabilitation medical organizations.

    Dr. Tsai is married and has a son and daughter and enjoys spending time with family and friends.            

    VanWallandael

    Shawn Van Wallendael, PA-C

    Shawn completed his undergraduate degree in chemistry from University of Rochester, NY and his masters and doctorate degree in chemistry at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. He completed his degree in Physician Assistant with academic distinction at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.  He has been a member of Carolinas Rehabilitation for more than 20 years where he started as CNA in 1994 and transitioned to Physician Assistant in 2000.  He has assisted the physicians in stroke, pediatric, orthopedic, oncology and spinal cord rehabilitation.

    Those from the Salisbury area may recognize him from his numerous stage appearances with Piedmont Players and the St. Thomas Players. Besides amateur theater, Shawn’s other interests include chess/games and spelunking.            

    Wiggins

    Jeffrey M. Wiggins, PA-C

    Mr. Wiggins received his undergraduate degree in biology from Georgia Southern University and earned his masters degree to become a Physician Assistant at South University in Savannah. Prior to PA school, he worked as a physical therapist assistant for almost seven years.

    He has been on staff at Carolinas Rehabilitation since June 2004. A member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the National Stroke Association, Jeff is certified through the National Commission of Physician Assistants.

    He enjoys spending time with his family, watching sporting events, traveling, listening to live jazz and the outdoors.            

    Willoughby 

    Julian Willoughby, MD
    Faculty Physician

    Dr. Willoughby completed his Doctorate of Medicine and master’s degree in public health at UNC Chapel Hill.  He completed an internship in Internal Medicine at Wake Forest University and his residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Carolinas Rehabilitation where he served as Chief Resident. After completing a fellowship in Sports Medicine at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago / Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois he returned to Carolinas Rehab and joined the Sports Medicine and Injury Care (SMIC) Team.

    Dr. Willoughby has lived in North Carolina all his life and enjoys time with wife and newly born son. 

    Withers

    Paul Withers, MD
    Faculty Physician

    Dr. Withers received his undergraduate degree in biological sciences and Master of Arts in teaching from the University of Indianapolis and his medical degree from Indiana University. He completed his residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation from Wayne State University in Taylor, Michigan.

    Dr. Withers is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Association for Academic Physiatrists.  His areas of interests include musculoskeletal and neurologic rehabilitation.

    During his spare time, Dr. Withers enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter traveling and hiking. When at home, he also enjoys board games, Frisbee, and playing with his pet tortoise, Sonic.

     

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