Sara Cuccurullo, M.D.
Chair, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Dr. Sara Cuccurullo received her medical degree from SUNY Downstate in 1987 and completed her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ)/JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. She was board certified in 1992.
Dr. Cuccurullo joined the staff at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in 1991 and has served as the Residency Program Director since 1998. She is dedicated to resident education and has taught the Board Review Course for PM&R residents since 1991. She has received the Teacher of the Year Award six times and the Rutgers/RWJ Volunteer Faculty Award. In addition she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from SUNY Downstate in 2012. She also received the Edward J. Ill Award and the Middlesex County Award for excellence in teaching in 2016. She also initiated and currently oversees the Resident Education Fund which supports the JFK/RWJ PM&R Residents.
Dr. Cuccurullo published the first edition of The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Board Review Textbook (Demos Publishing) in 2004, and the second edition in 2009, and the third edition in 2014. She is Editor in Chief of the textbook. This textbook reviews board related topics in an attempt to help residents prepare for the PM&R Boards. All royalties of this textbook are donated directly to the JFK Johnson PM&R Resident Education fund. She has authored over 31 book chapters and has also authored and 20 articles and over 70 abstracts regarding resident education, resident competencies and clinical consult related issues. She is an invited editor for The American Journal of PM&R.
Dr. Cuccurullo heads the PM&R Residency Competency Committee at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute and, with other members of the competency committee, has developed a competency model that has been presented nationally at the AAP (Association of Academic Physiatrists) and the AAPM&R (American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) meetings. She has published seven peer reviewed papers on this model. Dr. Cuccurullo is actively involved with the RWJ medical students and runs a course for third year students addressing LCME (Liaison Committee for Medical Education) requirements: cancer, pain and end-of-life issues. She has presented this course at the National AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) Meeting in Washington, DC. She is also the Associate Dean of Academic Affiliate Hospitals, a Medical Student Advisor and sits on the GME (Graduate Medical Education) Committee at Rutgers RWJ Medical School. In addition she is on the curriculum development committee for the Joining Forces Initiative Program, a program focused on teaching students about the medical care of our veterans.
Dr. Cuccurullo also cares for patients on the JFK Medical Center Consult Service, where she has assisted in developing the Total Joint Protocols and Stroke Protocols used in the acute care hospital. She is the Past President of the National Residency and Fellowship Program Directors Council for the AAP. She is on the Board of Directors of the National Association for Academic Physiatrists (AAP). She is the Co-Chair of the Women in Academic Physiatry Task Force of the AAP. She is Vice President of the Chairman’s Council of the AAP, in addition to being on the Advisory Board for the RFPD Council. She was a member of the Program Committee of the AAP for over 14 years and has been a Course Program Director and lecturer for multiple separate three day courses over this time. She also peer reviews abstracts to be presented at the AAP National Meetings. In addition she is a mentor in the National Program for Academic Leadership (PAL).
Dr. Cuccurullo was appointed Chairperson of the Department of PM&R for Rutgers RWJ Medical School and the Medical Director and VP for the JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in February 2014. As Chairperson of the Department of PM&R she oversees all faculty, Residents and Fellows in the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rutgers- RWJ Medical School and is on the Rutgers RWJ Executive Council and the Chair Council. As the Medical Director of the JFK-Johnson Rehabilitation Institute she oversees all Clinical Services and medical issues related to care of patients in the JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. Clinically she cares for patients on the JFK Medical Center Consult Service. During her time as Medical Director she has been involved in program development, including the development of a Comprehensive Aftercare Program for the continued care of the rehabilitation patients discharged from the JFK-Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. Dr. Cuccurullo also developed and implemented the JFK Johnson Comprehensive Stroke Recovery Program. With this initiative she is the Co-Principle Investigator of two IRB Proposals researching the benefits of a comprehensive rehabilitation program to treat stroke patients including cardiovascular conditioning sessions during their recovery. Efforts in this research are focused on decreasing mortality, readmissions and incidence of new strokes in addition to improving Functional Outcomes. This research is being done in conjunction with the Rutgers- RWJ Cardiovascular Institute, the Rutgers-RWJ Department of Neurology, and the JFK Neuroscience Institute. Other Program Development includes expansion and development of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, Sports Program, Cancer Program implementation of a comprehensive Concussion Clinic and the Multidisciplinary Pain Program.
In January 2018 Dr. Cuccurullo was appointed the Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of the Department of PM&R at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall and is on the Chair Council. She is committed to patient care, education, scholarly activity and the academic and clinical advancement of the faculty, resident, fellows and medical students of the department of PM&R at the JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute.