department of neurology  
  neurology  
 
 
 

Our Multidisciplinary MS Team




Claire Riley, MD
Director, Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Care & Research Center



Dr. Claire Riley earned an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and a medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She completed an internship in internal medicine and her residency in neurology at Columbia University Medical Center. In addition, she completed a two-year clinical fellowship in the Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Care & Research Center at Columbia University in 2010. Dr. Riley is board certified in neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Dr. Riley returned to Columbia University as Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Care & Research Center in January 2012. She was previously an attending neurologist and assistant professor in the Yale MS Center in New Haven, CT. Dr. Riley regularly teaches medical students, residents and fellows in the MS clinic. She is also an investigator in clinical trials related to multiple sclerosis.

Columbia University's Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Care & Research Center is a premier treatment and research facility for individuals living with multiple sclerosis. Our center remains dedicated to providing the most advanced diagnostic and therapeutic care available to our patients.

For appointments please call: 646-426-3876 (646-42-NEURO)



Wendy S. Vargas, MD,

is an Assistant Professor in Neurology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and an Attending Neurologist at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Columbia University Medical Center. She is board-certified in Neurology with Special Qualification in Child Neurology. Dr. Vargas is one of a handful of pediatric neurologists with subspecialty training in multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system. She is the program leader for the Pediatric MS and Neuroimmunology Program at the Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Vargas received her Bachelor of Science at Cornell University before obtaining her MD from the State University of New York Downstate College of Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency training at the Children's Hospital in Boston. Following her residency, Dr. Vargas completed a Pediatric Neurology Fellowship at the New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. She went on to complete an additional Fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis and other Demyelinating Diseases at the Weill Cornell Multiple Sclerosis Center, working with adults and children with MS and other demyelinating diseases.

Her clinical interests include pediatric and adult multiple sclerosis, acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis, pediatric neuromyelitis optica, clinically isolated syndromes such as childhood optic neuritis and transverse myelitis, and other autoimmune diseases of the nervous system.

Dr. Vargas' research focuses on novel MRI techniques and cognitive dysfunction in both childhood and early adult multiple sclerosis.



James Kirkland Roberts, MD,

is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology. He received his medical degree from Cornell University and completed internal medicine and neurology residencies at Columbia University. Dr. Roberts has a particular interest in dizziness, vertigo, and balance. He is involved in clinical research, including evaluating novel therapies in patients with multiple sclerosis. Dr. Roberts also has subspecialty training in vascular neurology.




Peter Kim, MD, PhD,

is an Associate Clinical Professor of Clinical Neurology. After earning his medical degree from the State University of New York at Syracuse, Dr. Kim completed an internal medicine internship at the University of Rochester and then a neurology residency and research fellowship at Columbia University. Dr. Kim's interests include clinical trials to evaluate new therapies for multiple sclerosis.





Alexander G. Khandji, MD,

is Clinical Professor of Radiology, Vice-Chair for Clinical Affairs in the department, and Associate Director of the Radiology Service at Columbia-Presbyterian. He was Chief Resident during his residency here and later completed training in Neuroradiology at the Neurological Institute. He is an expert in the MRI findings in MS and other diseases that are sometimes mistaken as MS.





Joel Stein, MD,

obtained his undergraduate degree from Columbia University, and his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He then completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, followed by a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He was a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital until 2008, when he was appointed the Simon Baruch Professor and Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine at Columbia, and as Physiatrist-in-Chief at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Stein's primary area of clinical practice is neurological rehabilitation, and he has a particular interest in spasticity management. The spasticity management service, under Dr. Stein's direction, provides comprehensive, state-of-the-art treatment for spasticity affecting individuals with MS and other disorders, including botulinum toxin (Botox®) injections, phenol injections, and intrathecal baclofen pump placement and management.



Anis Dizdarevic, MD,

is an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Management. He received his medical degree from Harvard University and then completed an anesthesiology residency and interventional pain management fellowship at Brigham and Women's Hospital. He is an expert in pain management and has a particular interest in intrathecal Baclofen pump therapy for muscle spasticity.




Victoria M. Leavitt, PhD,

is a clinical neuropsychologist who earned a Bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a PhD from the City University of New York. She completed her clinical internship at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Hospital, and a clinical research fellowship at Kessler Foundation Research Center in West Orange, NJ, where she served as Chief Postdoctoral Fellow and was awarded the prize for best research from a graduating fellow. Dr. Leavitt has been awarded research grants from the NIH and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). Her research focuses on identifying candidate neural biomarkers of memory impairment in multiple sclerosis, and evaluating modifiable lifestyle factors that protect against cognitive decline in MS. She recently accepted a four-year term to serve as a NMSS grant reviewer. In addition to her research, Dr. Leavitt has worked with MS patients clinically to provide neuropsychological evaluations and cognitive remediation. Dr. Leavitt is a member of the American Academy of Neurology, the International Neuropsychological Society, and the American Psychological Association.



Kerry Raivel, PT, MS, MS EE, ATP,

is a graduate of both the Columbia University Master's of Physical Therapy Program and the Columbia University Master's of Science in Engineering Program. Kerry has over 9 years of experience as a therapist and is certified as an Assistive Technology Practitioner. He is the coordinator of the Seating and Mobility Program at Columbia University Medical Center, which evaluates patients who are in need of a variety of assistive devices to improve function and safety. He is an expert in helping patients maximize their level of functioning and improve their quality of life.



Kimberly L. Cooper, MD,

is the Co- Director of Voiding Dysfunction, Neurourology and Urodynamics at Columbia University Medical Center- New York Presbyterian Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Clinical Urology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. After completing her urology residency at Columbia University Medical Center, Dr. Cooper completed a fellowship in female urology, voiding dysfunction, neurourology and urodynamics at Columbia. Her clinical and research interests are in male and female incontinence, vaginal prolapse, voiding dysfunction, neurology, and urodynamics.



Matthew Rutman, MD,

is the Co- Director of Voiding Dysfunction, Neurourology and Urodynamics at Columbia University Medical Center- New York Presbyterian Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Clinical Urology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

He graduated with honors from Emory University and Chicago Medical School. After completing his residency at William Beaumont Hospital, Dr. Rutman completed a fellowship in female urology, voiding dysfunction, neurourology and urodynamics at the UCLA Medical Center. His clinical and research interests include male and female incontinence, vaginal prolapse, and voiding dysfunction.
(http://www.columbiaurology.org/about/physicians/matthew-rutman.html)



Andrea (Tina) Philhower, RN,

is the MS Nurse Coordinator for our Clinical Care and Research Center. She collaborates with patients, their families, and the multidisciplinary teams to coordinate, integrate, and facilitate outpatient services and care. In addition, she is actively involved in assisting with our clinical trials and research. MS care, education, research, and advocacy are actively promoted and enhanced through her membership with the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses. She has provided nursing care for the Neurological and MS patient population since 1991 when she started her career at University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. She applied her skills and knowledge within the Neurologic and MS specialties there until she joined our team in 2012.




Sharonna Bloom, LCSW,

is the Licensed Clinical Social Worker for the Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Care and Research Center at Columbia University Medical Center. She earned her undergraduate degree at Yeshiva University and graduate degree from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Sharonna works with patients, families affecting by Multiple Sclerosis to help ease the burden of diagnosis. Together with the multidisplinary team Sharonna helps to help provide compassionate care to people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Sharonna recruits, coordinates and facilitates the monthly support group for patients diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.




Gaby Tosto, BS,

is the Study Coordinator for the Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Care and Research Center at Columbia University Medical Center. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree at William Paterson University of New Jersey in Biology and Psychology. Upon graduating, she began working as a Research Assistant at the Kessler Foundation. There Gaby investigated cognitive impairment in MS via neuropsychological and neuroimaging techniques before joining the MS team at Columbia. Her research interests include neuroimaging outcomes as a predictor of physical disability and the psychosocial impact of multiple sclerosis on patients.

As the MS study coordinator, Gaby serves as the liaison between study sponsors, the Institutional Review Board (IRB), and research patients. If you are interested in participating in research, please contact her at 212-342-4649 or gmt2115@cumc.columbia.edu.











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Last updated: November 24, 2014 |
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