James Fowler Physical Therapy is excited to celebrate 20 years of healing and strengthening NYC. We couldn’t have come all this way without the fantastic collaboration we have with physicians around the city! This year we will spotlight key specialists we work with to bring a combined effort of specialty care and rehab solutions, unique to each patient.
Our first spotlight is Dr. Lisa Bartoli, who will share why the mindset matters when collaborating on the rehabilitation of patients. James Fowler also joins us in this conversation!
The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
James: I just wanted to say, with over 20 years of a completely collaborative relationship, I really want to bring to light how we’ve worked together.
James Fowler Office: Dr. Bartoli, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Dr. Bartoli: I’m a physiatrist. I specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation with an emphasis on musculoskeletal and sports medicine and basically conservative spine care. As an osteopath, I also do some osteopathic manipulations on my patients, and I think that my osteopathic background really influences a lot on how I see and treat patients because we’re taught to see global and not just the physical person that’s in front of us, but what else is going on around them?
James Fowler Office: You both have been working for many years together. Tell us about how you met and how you knew James was someone you could collaborate with.
Dr. Bartoli: Well, I met James when I was with Dr. Gatlin up at Beth Israel North in 2000. I would go to the PT gym, so I got to know a lot of the physical therapists back there and learned more from them. Prior to going to med school, I was an athletic trainer and worked in a physical therapy clinic, so it was kind of my second home anyway. I was familiar with being in there and with the other therapists. And James especially. You got to see, how they work. And we were lucky. I mean, we had some of the best therapists in one group in that setting, and from that group, several good therapists went off and started on their own.
James was one of them. He went off and started his own practice and, we were happy for you and happy for our patients because it really created a great environment for us to keep referring to you.
James Fowler Office: What do you think makes this relationship unique, particularly how does it impact patient care? Could you walk us through that a little bit?
We both see things very similarly. The musculoskeletal system is basically vectors and forces and how they interact. That’s what I always tell my patients. Knee pain is not just pain at the knee, it’s what’s happening up at the hip or down at the foot and we get into the layering of problems. So you may have sprained your ankle five years ago, but that ankle sprain is now impacting your knee pain. And James sees that the same way that I see it. Usually, the patients that I try and get him to see directly are the patients that have more of a complicated picture or “layers of an onion.”
As we deal with this problem, we sometimes unmask another deficit or issue and he sees that. When I have a patient that needs the global picture looked at, I think of James.
James: One of the greatest things working with Lisa is how quickly we can get to this point. It’s not this drawn-out, “try this or let’s try that.” We have developed a pattern of understanding where the root causes could be coming from.
Most things start centrally and then work peripherally. And, the mechanics represent that. So what we try, as Lisa was saying, is to unpeel the onion to be able to see the more central part. But after you do it enough times, we work very quickly together. I think that is what makes the relationship very special. It’s the trust in each other that we have.
Dr. Bartoli: Yeah. Patients want to see results or at least see that there’s a path that they’re moving on. It can get frustrating when a patient has one problem go away and another problem appears or have stressors placed somewhere else. Now they’re feeling like, oh, I’m falling apart. But we look at it like, good; we just found more of what we need to address to ultimately fix the whole picture and the patient as a whole.
So how is this approach beneficial for the patient overall? Read on for part two of this interview.
For more information on Dr. Bartoli’s practice, please visit Dr. Bartoli’s Website.
About Dr. Lisa Bartoli
Lisa M. Bartoli, D.O. is a physician in private practice specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Prior to opening her current practice, she was an Attending Physician at the world-renowned Mt Sinai Beth Israel Center for Health and Healing. She currently has Volunteer Physician status with the Department of Orthopedics at Mt Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.
Her practice is focused on outpatient integrative sports medicine, musculoskeletal medicine, non-operative spine pain, Osteopathic manual medicine, and medical acupuncture.
About James Fowler
With over 20 years of experience in Sports Medicine and Movement Science, James Fowler, P.T., ACSM, CEAS has been owner of James Fowler P.T. since 2001. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Physical Education. In 1994, after coming to New York, he earned a degree in Physical Therapy from the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University. He is certified in Active Release Techniques and has advanced training and hands-on experience in Spinal Manipulation and Myofascial Release Techniques. He is a certified Exercise Specialist by the American College of Sports Medicine and is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association.
Before opening his practice, James spent seven years at Beth Israel Medical Center, specializing in orthopedics and sports medicine. While at Beth Israel, he coordinated the Motion Analysis Laboratory, developed an evaluative tool for the analysis of running, golfing, and throwing, and was featured on the CBS Morning News Program describing “Motion Analysis for Golfers.” James was also the official physical therapist for the New York Knicks and New York Liberty Basketball teams, providing rehabilitation and movement analysis for performance enhancement. While at Berkeley, he was a Division I Middle Distance Runner and moved in the role of Assistant Coach under Erv Hunt, the future 96 Olympic Track and Field coach, making James especially attuned to the needs of athletes.
In addition to his dedication to his private practice, James developed an innovative program for children, KIDSMOVE, to teach sports in a positive environment. James also developed “The James Approach”, a movement re-education program for high level amateur and professional golfers to improve swing efficiency and body awareness.