Division Lead for the First Comprehensive Pediatric Rehabilitation Program at MUSC Aims to Consolidate and Coordinate Care for People with Disabilities
Having dedicated his career to helping children and adults with disabilities maximize their health, independence, and joy in life, Scott Benjamin, M.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics and newly named division lead for the MUSC Pediatric Rehabilitation Program, is eager to fulfill a life-long dream. "I've always wanted the opportunity to grow a comprehensive pediatric rehab program," says Benjamin. "In most places other than major cities, care for kids with chronic, long-term disabilities ends up being piece-meal. I want to pull it together in a more coordinated, focused effort, so they have a medical home where we can manage all of the different aspects of their care in a one-stop shop." Although the task of coordinating care for complex patients with a wide range of medical needs can be daunting, Benjamin also believes it is important to take a playful approach to help put his patients at ease during visits that can sometimes be scary and uncomfortable. "I try to keep our interactions fun. I like to joke around with them. It's a fun population to work with," he says.
Benjamin comes to MUSC from three years in private practice in Vermont and fourteen years at University of Vermont Medical Center, before which he worked at Children’s National Medical Center, in Washington, DC. He trained in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Sinai and Johns Hopkins, both in Baltimore, and completed his Fellowship training in Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, a nonprofit partner with The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
With Benjamin on board, MUSC will offer the only fellowship-trained Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine service in the Lowcountry. Although the program will be located under the Department of Pediatrics at the recently opened Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital, Benjamin will see pediatric patients but also will work to see adult patients with special needs of pediatric origin. "The department supports us following kids as they transition into adulthood as well as including adults with special needs. We welcome adults with disabilities who may not have gotten the type of specialized care they needed. I want to invite anyone with special needs who can benefit from ongoing rehab medicine care into this new, specialized, comprehensive program."
Benjamin's initial goal is to establish a specific MUSC outpatient rehabilitation center to bring physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), speech-language pathology (SLP), aquatics, orthotic and prosthetic services, and perhaps even special educational services all under one roof. Eventually, he would also like to see an inpatient pediatric rehabilitation unit established to meet the more acute rehab needs of the pediatric special needs population.
The MUSC Pediatric Rehabilitation Program will see patients across the spectrum of congenital and acquired disabilities ranging from cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and muscular dystrophy to stroke, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury. The program will coordinate with pediatric neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics and other specialists who work with these children. The goal is to create a single point of care for patients who need rehabilitation medicine services, so they can call one phone number for access to coordinated healthcare from a team that has the broad range of expertise they need.
If you would like to make an appointment with Dr. Benjamin or refer a patient, please call 843-876-0444.
Progressnotes Spring 2021