Spinal Cord Injury Weekly Virtual Groups

Our support groups are now virtual! See below for further information.

Meditation Group

Meditation establishes a secure connection between our internal and external worlds. It awakens the body and benefits all aspects of the conscious and subconscious layers of the mind that can enhance empathy, improve cognition, is a natural stress stabilizer and promotes emotional health and well-being.
Join us Mondays from 12:00 – 1:00 PM on Zoom for our Well-being Meditation Group Meeting ID# 378 445 0461
For more information contact Woody Wood at richard.wood1@mountsinai.org

Sitness! SCI Exercise Class

Sitness Live Group Exercise: Join us every Tuesday at 2 PM EDT for Sitness class, led by world class trainer Alex Bunt. Created by the Spinal Cord Injury Transitions Group of Mount Sinai and powered by Social Creatures and Mount Sinai Performance 360, Sitness is a fully seated workout that requires no equipment to get your heart pumping and muscles burning. Register for this event at the link below or join us on Zoom using meeting ID #994 2451 7273. **Please note: our Sitness sessions are recorded and archived on our YouTube Channel (subscribe below). If you do not wish to be recorded, simply turn off your camera during class. REGISTER HERE

Sitness Classes are now also on Thursday! Every first Thursday of the month join us Sitness Boxing from 1-2 PM ET.

Now on YouTube
Our Sitness class videos are archived on YouTube, so that we can revisit them and keep the momentum going between our weekly live group exercise classes. Subscribe using the link below to keep up-to-date with all of our latest video content. SUBSCRIBE


SCI Transitions Support Group

Our Weekly SCI Transitions Support Group Are Now Virtual! Every Wednesday at 12 PM, Noon Moderated by Angela Riccobono, Ph.D.

In order to maintain patient confidentiality, this group is open BY INVITATION ONLY. To request admission, please contact: Angela Riccobono, Ph.D. at angela.riccobono@mountsinai.org or Woody Wood at richard.wood1@mountsinai.org

Family Support Group

The SCI Family and Friends Support group is a weekly support group conducted on the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit at Mount Sinai. It is co-led by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the Outreach Peer Coordinator. Family and friends from both the inpatient and outpatient community are invited to attend. This is an open group, meaning there is no fixed start or stop date for participants. The focus of the group is to provide support and education to individuals whose loved one has a spinal cord injury.

Join us every Wednesday between 3:00 – 4:00 PM, Zoom ID 961-1257-6963. Contact Jim Cesario at jamescesario@gmail.com or Ruth Karasik at ruth.karasik@mountsinai.org if you have any questions.

Women On Wheels

Our Women On Wheels group are now virtual! Every 2nd and last Wednesday of every month 2:30 PM.

Please email Womenonwheelsnyc@gmail.com to RSVP and receive the code for the Zoom session.

Virtual Zumba Zoom

Virtual Zumba Zoom led by Recreational Therapy!

All abilities welcome and the motivation to move through seated fitness is encouraged.

Please contact Clarisse Quirt at clarisse.quirt@mountsinai.org for zoom link and further information on schedule updates or any questions.


SCI Peer Support Group

This group is for individuals with SCI to come together and share their experiences with each other so that we all can live a more fulfilling life with a spinal cord injury. Every Friday from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm conducted by Woody and Jim.  Zoom Meeting ID # 378 445 0461 For any questions please contact Woody Wood at Richard.wood1@mountsinsi.org or Jim Cesario at James.Cesario@mountsinai.org.

Adaptive Boxing Class

IT’S TIME YOU TRIED OUT A BOXING SESSION with TITLE. Every Friday from 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM. This will challenge you mentally and physically. You will learn the skill, build your strength and belong to a community. This isn’t your ordinary and average workout but the great thing is YOU TAKE YOUR OWN PACE!
Boxing has been used to train individuals of all ages and abilities. It is well documented to help individuals with Parkinson’s. There are many neurological and physical benefits to this specific type of training. No experience necessary. All abilities welcome. Little to no additional equipment necessary. Can be done in the comfort of your own home.
We offer trainer led, 45-minute workouts including warm-up, stretching, boxing and cardiovascular exercises. Perfect for all abilities and no experience necessary. These sessions challenge participants both physically and mentally giving them the opportunity to improve their overall mental and physical health. The style of the session is trainer with a motivational approach vs “bootcamp” style. The positive reinforcement encourages everyone to try to the best of their ability and just keep active. To register please contact please Woody Wood at Richard.wood1@mountsinsi.org

Overcoming Obstacles Interview Series

Farzana Ali

14 years ago Farzana Ali was a full time student planning her future vacations with her sister when she and her family were hit by a drunk driver and she sustained a spinal cord injury. Her sister and aunt did not survive the accident. And just like that, she lost her best friend, her sister, without even having a chance to say goodbye. Farzana was transferred to Mount Sinai Rehab and completed her inpatient rehabilitation. Although Farzana had many challenging obstacles ahead, she did not let her limitations define her. Farzana dream was to become a doctor, she completed medical degree and is now completing her doctoral degree in biomedical engineering and plans to pursue a career in diagnostic radiology. This past month we were fortunate to reconnect with Farzana and talk about her life post-injury.

What do you most remember about your time at Mount Sinai Rehab?

During the most painful time of my life, I was blessed to be at Mount Sinai for acute rehab, where I found my new family. Everyone I met at the hospital treated me with kindness, and encouraged me to do my best in rehab and daily activities. We always had fun events run and organized by Jim and Angela. My most memorable time was the Valentine’s Day, when I woke up surprised by a teddy bear from my therapists, Kate and Liron. Then, Beth helped me make a pink heart with a pipe cleaner for Dr. Stein. He was very appreciative of my craft, and that made me really happy!

Following rehab, how were you able to transition back into the community?

I was eager to return home to my family. But I was transferred to a nursing home in Queens, due to lack of insurance coverage for necessary home services. Jim and other Mount Sinai personnel helped me obtain ramps to make our apartment more accessible. The hardest part of my transition to community was learning the proper way to take care of my healthcare needs. I had to go through many trials and errors and unforeseen circumstances to gradually develop a care plan that works best for me. My best memories of this time were the phone calls and emails I received from my family members and friends from Mount Sinai. I was going through many health complications and adjustment difficulties at that time. But knowing that so many people cared about me, made that tough transition more bearable.

How did you become interested in Medicine?

From my childhood, I admired doctors for the amount of work they put in to take care of patients. As I studied biology in school, I became more fascinated by the human body. I wanted to pursue a career in medicine to learn about current understanding of diseases and advance that through research. But mostly, I loved the aspect of being able to connect with so many people through service.

What are you passionate about now?

I am very passionate about teaching, because it not only enhances my own understanding, but also allows me to pass on the knowledge that was bestowed upon me by my predecessors. It is a privilege to be able to connect with future physicians and scientists, and look at medical problems through their diverse perspectives. I have volunteered to teach since my undergraduate career, and continually seek out opportunities for teaching during my medical school training. I love sharing my enthusiasm with the students, and getting inspired by their intellect and curiosity.

What type of Advocacy work are you involved in?

I am focused on systems advocacy, with a particular interest in access to higher education for individuals with disabilities and access to healthcare for undeserved communities. As a member of the Philanthropy and Community Engagement Committee at the University at Buffalo, I have performed presentations and led educational workshops on disability law and accommodation at the doctoral level studies in medicine and science. I am a past participant of the Empower SCI rehab camp, that I joined after receiving grants from the United Spinal NYC. I have subsequently used their online fundraising platform to raise awareness about the importance of spinal cord injury rehab. In addition, I have conducted educational presentations and workshops on disability rights and disability justice movements during their summer programs. I am equally passionate about health equity, and facilitated discussion on health disparities during the Annual Igniting Hope Conference. I presented ideas to the broader audience on establishing equity and justice in provision of healthcare to the black community.

What advice would you give to others who are recently injured or transitioning back into the community?

I would like to tell individuals who are recently injured or transitioning back into the community to stay focused on their primary goal, whether it is going back to school, getting a job, improving physical strength, or working on relationships. Stay in touch with those who care about you and reach out to those who are knowledgeable about the resources you need to reach your destiny. There may be many obstacles on your way, such as difficulties with housing, transportation, homecare, etc. In time, all these problems will get better or resolved. But the maturity and strength you gain from these experiences will help you become successful and happy! I had to go through many struggles when I moved from Long Island to Buffalo. But if I had not taken that difficult step, I would have missed out on the most fun and fulfilling four years of my life.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I am truly grateful to the Mount Sinai SCI team for letting me share my story and for their continual support throughout the years. To my readers, thank you for taking the time to patiently read this far. Let us continue to be kind to each other, and show the world that no negative circumstance can keep us from being our best self!

Overcoming Obstacles Interview Series

Meet Nyree Stevens

Nyree Stevens is a 29 year old Bronx born artist who uses a mouth stick to create art. Ten years ago she was a victim of gun violence sustaining a high level spinal cord injury. Nyree underwent inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation at the Spinal Cord Program at Mount Sinai Hospital. She has stayed an active member of our Life Challenge Program and Women on Wheels support group. She will be participating in her first Art Showcase at the RAW New York City PREMIERE at the Mellrose Ballroom tonight, January 29th at 7pm. For More information on her upcoming show visit:  https://rawartists.com/sittinprettii-
What do you most remember most about your time in rehabilitation at Mount Sinai?
I remember learning how to drive wheelchairs with different joysticks around obstacles, I was determined to drive with my hand which has become more difficult over time but I still haven’t given up. I met many wonderful people. The first time I went outside with one of my therapists was a bittersweet moment as I was seeing people from a different eye level. This was a bit much for me at the time. I remember everyone saying I was so calm and always smiling instead of being angry all the time. I guess I was happy to still be alive so I couldn’t be that mad.
What were the biggest obstacles you faced when transitioning back into the community? 
After leaving the inpatient rehabilitation unit I was ready to get back into the world even though I was still in denial about my injury and how it affected me and I was determined to get back to life as it was before. The hardest part of it all was I had to adjust the a lot of things such as transfers, showers at home, getting dressed which takes like 25 minutes instead of 5 minutes and depending on someone for everything. This definitely humbled me. It’s like a private life didn’t exist anymore. It was hard to overcome, but I’m used to it now.  In the beginning it was very overwhelming.

Were you always interested in painting? What are your other passions?

In middle school I use to draw, but I would say I’m even better now. It’s a bit challenging but that’s the best part for me. Painting gave me a type of independence back which is a great feeling.  My self-therapy also distracts some of my nerve pain which is definitely a good thing, I would say I’m better now than I ever was. Right now I’m most passionate about my art work and advocacy for people with disabilities I would love to become an advocate for people with disabilities because some people take advantage of people who have disabilities which I hate to see. Also I’m most passionate in still becoming a model.

What advice would you give to others who are recently injured or transitioning back into the community after Rehab?

Over the ten years of being injured I can say I’ve really enjoyed some moments such as, skydiving, skiing, water skiing, paragliding etc. I don’t think I would have done these things if I was walking but being that my fear was getting shot and I overcame that. And it allowed me to jump out of a plane which was pretty insane. As I always tell newly injured people, you were given a second chance at life so live it the best way you can. We are chosen for a reason, so always stay humbled. And remember there’s always someone in a worst situation then you. And never keep your depression silence reach out to someone for help.