Ranked “#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in Amea” by U.S. News & World Report for the 18th Consecutive Year - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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RIC in the News

Published on July 11, 2008

RIC Ranked “#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by U.S. News & World Report for 18th Consecutive Year

Patients’ Stories of Restored Abilities are feature of RIC’s “What A Difference ONE Can Make” Campaign

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), the leading physical medicine and rehabilitation hospital in the country, today announced it has been ranked the “#1 rehabilitation hospital in America” for the 18th consecutive year. The rankings are based on a survey of board-certified physiatrists (physicians who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation) as reported in the July 28th“Best Hospitals” issue of U.S. News & World Report

RIC’s “What A Difference ONE Can Make” campaign celebrates the commitment of RIC patients, employees and community supporters, who, through their individual contributions, make meaningful differences in the world each and every day. It’s this dedicated passion that helps make RIC #1.

“This designation of excellence by U.S. News & World Report year over year is a testament to the remarkable passion and investment of RIC’s patients, employees and community supporters,” said Joanne Smith, M.D., president and CEO of RIC. “The combined efforts and impact of all of these individuals and RIC as ONE unit can best be understood through our patients and their stories of restored function and ability to thrive, achieve, flourish, fulfill, prevail, express, advance and succeed to make their own unique differences in the world.”

RIC Stories of Restored Abilities

The following eight, poignant patient stories describe how RIC’s world-class rehabilitation care helped return these individuals to the life passions and the ability to make important differences in their families, jobs and communities.


Mina Fuller, 53, Thrives in the face of cancer

After removing a cancerous tumor in her brain and undergoing cancer treatments, Mina Fuller experienced a brain injury that left her physically impaired and cognitively disoriented. While undergoing cancer rehabilitation at RIC, Mina’s vestibular therapist and functional fitness specialist helped improve her balance, strength and ability to walk. American Cancer Society data indicates more than one million people are diagnosed with new cancer each year. Thanks to advances in treatment options, new technologies and early detection, the cancer survival rates continue to increase, driving the need for cancer rehabilitation care. Mina’s improvements at RIC allowed her to participate in the American Brain Tumor Association Annual 5K Walk in April, 2008. Now Mina is home and working on her next goal of returning to work with the Chicago Police Department. Mina not only survived cancer, but she is now thriving. “My life changed the day I walked into RIC,” says Fuller. “They gave me back my quality of life. They gave me back the old Mina.”

Scott Chan, 17, is Advancing despite an unexpected neurological injury

Scott Chan was a healthy teen looking forward to another year at Chicago ’s prestigious Notre Dame High School when he experienced an unusual brain aneurysm which caused a stroke. After brain surgery, Scott came to RIC as an inpatient where he relearned how to talk, walk and eat. He then moved on to RIC’s Day Rehabilitation facility where he received an aggressive schedule of therapies while returning home each evening. Now Scott sees therapists at RIC on an outpatient basis to fine-tune the physical and cognitive gains he has made. RIC’s ability to treat complex conditions like Scott’s through a complete continuum of care including Inpatient, Day Rehabilitation and Outpatient care, allows patients to transition and grow. Because of innovative technology like the LOKOMAT®, Scott is now able to walk again and is looking forward to returning to Notre Dame Academy in the fall for his junior year of high school. "Going back to school means a lot," says Scott. "I'll be able to start taking regular classes again and graduate from the school where I started. That has always been my goal."   

Greta Neimanas, 20, is Achieving her athletic goals thanks to quality care and support programs

Greta Neimanas came to RIC as a young girl, to work on maximizing the function of her left arm, which was misshapen since birth. After being fit with a prosthesis at age six, Greta became a member of RIC’s Caring for Kids program where she participated in various sports and recreation programs that taught her how to enjoy all that life has to offer. RIC worked with Greta as she matured by updating her prostheses and providing her with support and guidance to try new activities. Today, Greta is living in Colorado Springs, CO, training for the 2008 Summer Paralympic Games in Beijing where she will compete in cycling. “Today I am doing what I love everyday because RIC gave me the confidence to try new things, set goals and to follow my dreams,” she says. “RIC has been a constant in my life and as corny and cliché as it might sound, it has really changed my life.”

Paul Moran, 42, continues to Succeed in Paralympic sports 

As a four-time Paralympic athlete, Paul Moran, 41, is no stranger to achieving his goals. Paul first came to RIC in 1985 after he was struck by a trolley and had his leg and two fingers amputated. As a patient at RIC, Paul learned that rehabilitation was based on goal-setting. RIC helped Paul achieve independence and introduced him to adaptive sports. Since that time, Paul has competed four different U.S. Paralympic games for sit-volleyball and will return for a fifth time at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing this fall to compete in wheelchair tennis. Paul also teaches tennis at the Winnetka Park District A.C. Nielsen Tennis Center (Illinois ). He has learned how to succeed on and off the court. “It was through RIC that I discovered sports again and I think that was the greatest therapy of all for me. It changed my life profoundly,” he said.

Jorge Alfaro, 39, is living with a spinal cord injury and Prevails over work, fatherhood and life

When Jorge Alfaro learned he had a spinal cord injury after being shot at 15 years of age, he recalls feeling scared and discouraged about his future. While in rehabilitation at RIC, Jorge learned he was wrong.  RIC taught Jorge that life in a wheelchair is simply a new stage in his life and he can prevail over his injury to achieve all that he dreamed of before his accident. Jorge was introduced to adaptive sports and has played on RIC’s softball and basketball teams for more than 10 years. He gained confidence and independence which, through RIC’s Fertility Clinic, allowed Jorge to get married and conceive a son. Today, Jorge is a medical supply sales person, an athlete, a dad, a peer mentor and as he puts it a “regular guy” living a happy and fulfilling life. “They (RIC) helped me gain my independence back,” says Alfaro. “They assured and comforted me that everything was going to be OK. They introduced me to my new life and it is a life that I really love.”

Gayle Parseghian, 55, is Flourishing as she manages her back pain

After pulling her back out while moving furniture, Gayle Parseghian experienced excruciating chronic back pain that prevented her from her active lifestyle teaching dance and affected her social relationships. Desperate to relieve the pain, Gayle tried countless treatment methods such as acupuncture, massage, medication and physical therapy, but nothing worked. Gayle read about RIC’s pain “boot camp” in a magazine and decided to give RIC’s six-week program a try.  It’s estimated that one out of three Americans lives with chronic pain conditions, requiring an interdisciplinary approach to educate on how to manage the pain and regain abilities. Through RIC’s Center for Pain Management, Gayle learned several tools to manage her pain and is now flourishing. She has returned to dancing, skiing and other activities she enjoys with her husband and family. “The chronic pain program took this physically and emotionally beaten up person and helped her regain control of her life. It’s like a new beginning,” she said.          

Amanda Kitts, 40, can Fulfill her role in children’s lives thanks to cutting-edge research

Three years ago, Amanda Kitts was involved in a car accident that resulted in the amputation of her left arm. After extensive research, Amanda came to RIC’s Center for Bionic Medicine and regained function in her arm through the use of a myoelectric prosthesis. With her bionic arm, Amanda, a mother and day care center owner, has enjoyed returning to an active lifestyle where she can work with children and spend time with her son. “They (RIC) showed me I had a purpose in life and helped me discover many abilities. If it hadn’t been for them I don’t think I would have come out of the bottom I was in.”

Jordie Krimstein, 76, continues to Express himself through art even after his stroke

When Jordie Krimstein had a stroke, it took a toll on his love for painting. He lost function on the left side of his body, affecting his arm and his ability to paint. After being transferred to RIC for inpatient rehabilitation, Jordie became a patient in the Prime of Life Stroke Rehabilitation Program which customized a treatment plan to help him achieve his goals. An innovative stroke treatment called Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy helped him regain arm mobility and function and allowed him to go back to painting. Jordie came home and returned with a new appreciation for his art. He is working on developing several pieces for an upcoming show in a Chicago art gallery. “RIC made my whole experience seem like a piece of cake,” he adds. “The people there made it warm and friendly. There is a feeling of pride you sense throughout the staff. There is no question the people make the place.”

About The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) is making a difference in the world for people with disabilities.  RIC provides world-class care to patients from around the globe for a range of conditions from acute brain and spinal cord injury to chronic arthritis, pain and sports injuries. RIC, founded in 1954, has been designated the “#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991 and attributes its leading standard of care in part to its innovative research and discovery, particularly in the areas of bionic medicine, robotics, neural regeneration, pain care and better outcomes. RIC operates its 165-bed, flagship hospital in downtown Chicago, as well as a network of 30 sites of care located throughout the city and surrounding suburbs that provide additional inpatient care, day rehabilitation and outpatient services. RIC also maintains strategic alliances with leading healthcare providers throughout the state of Illinois and Indiana.