Sue Ann Sisto, a professor of physical therapy, is the first physical therapist to be named a fellow of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM), which recognizes individuals who make significant contributions to the field of medical rehabilitation and to ACRM.
Sisto is the director of research in the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences and of Stony Brook University’s Rehabilitation Research and Movement Performance (RRAMP) laboratory. She is an expert on spinal cord injury and instructs electrotherapy and physical therapy in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Graduate Program. Sisto has been a member of ACRM since 1998, has served on numerous committees and is currently ACRM president-elect.
As an ACRM member, she created the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) networking group in 2001, which led to the development of the Special Interest Group (SIG) in 2009. The group of interdisciplinary professionals work to improve the educational and networking opportunities for ACRM membership in SCI medicine, rehabilitation and research, and to advance clinical practice to improve the lives of people with SCI.
“I am honored to receive this designation,” said Sisto. “ACRM is the world’s leading interdisciplinary rehabilitation research organization, and I believe our research at Stony Brook will contribute greatly to understanding spinal cord injury and advancing treatments for these devastating injuries.”
As a national leader in her field, Sisto is also the co-director of the NeuroRecovery Network, funded by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control.
Sisto received her PT degree from St. Louis University. She began her clinical practice at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation while pursuing her master’s degree in physical therapy at New York University, graduating with a specialization in pathokinesiology. Sisto received the Mary E. Switzer pre-doctoral fellowship from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) in 1991-92. She then received a NIDRR doctoral training scholarship to pursue her doctoral studies at New York University in 1997 with a specialization in pathokinesiology, biomechanics and motor control.
She completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the New Jersey NIH Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Cooperative Research Center from 1996-97. After that, she assumed the directorship position of the Human Performance and Movement Analysis Laboratory at the Kessler Foundation. Sisto developed this laboratory over the next 10 years, after which she came to Stony Brook in 2007 to establish the RRAMP laboratory.
Sisto has made significant contributions to the body of literature in rehabilitation medicine. Her publications span broad areas of rehabilitation measurement and intervention outcomes, including gait in SCI, TBI, and stroke; activity and cardiopulmonary limitations in CFS; constraint-induced movement therapy; mental imagery; body weight supported walking; wheelchair propulsion; chemodenervation interventions for spasticity and gait; metabolic analysis of exercise in stroke and SCI; and instrument reliability.
Sisto also serves on the American Physical Therapy Association’s Neurology Section, Spinal Cord Injury SIG, American Spinal Injury Association’s Journal Committee, Shriners Hospital for Children’s Rehabilitation Advisory Committee, and ACRM’s communication and executive finance committees.
Sisto is also the associate editor for the Journal of Spinal Cord Injury Medicine. She authored a textbook on SCI rehabilitation, which was published in 2009.