Services at the Academic Health Care Center in Old Westbury

Adele Smithers Parkinson's Disease Treatment Center

The Adele Smithers Parkinson's Disease Treatment Center was formed in 1997 to provide quality care to individuals with Parkinson’s disease. The guiding concept has always been to provide comprehensive care to help people improve and maintain quality of life while living with Parkinson’s disease.

The following services have helped thousands of people and their families live life to the fullest:

  • Osteopathic manipulation
  • Physical Therapy
  • Speech Pathology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • The Wellness Program
  • Clinical Psychology

Additionally, biomechanical evaluations and exercise tolerance tests are used to provide objective information to guide treatment as well as a solid baseline on which to judge progress.


Osteopathic Manual Medicine

Osteopathic Medicine is a complete system of medical care with a philosophy that combines the needs of the patient with current practices of medicine, surgery and obstetrics. Treating the body as a unit, it emphasizes the interrelationships between structure and function with a particular appreciation for the body's ability to heal itself.

In the US, Osteopathic Medicine is currently practiced by nearly 60,000 D.O.'s (doctor of osteopathic medicine). DO's who are educated in one of the nation’s colleges of osteopathic medicine have the same unlimited scope of medical practice as MD.s (medical doctors).

One of the major differences between DO’s and MD’s is that DO’s receive additional education in the art and science of medical diagnosis and treatment using osteopathic manual medicine (OMM) skills.

Osteopathic manual medicine diagnoses and treats the body’s structural problems associated with many different conditions. Not only neck and back pain benefit from OMM, but the entire body, be it due to orthopedic, neurological or other conditions, where the goal is to reverse or slow down progression of the disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a prime example, since OMM can alleviate various symptoms associated with the body’s tight muscles and stiffness, and therefore helps mobility and overall function.

As the only Osteopathic Medical School on Long Island, we are at the forefront of providing comprehensive osteopathic care with the goal to reduce pain, improve function and maximize health.


Family Medicine

Osteopathic Family practitioners are board certified in Family Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment. Family Medicine is medical care provided by a primary care physician who takes on the responsibilities for the health care of all members in a family. Through this approach to medical care, physicians are able to establish a lasting relationship with patients based on genuine care and concern for the well-being of a family. In addition, this model of care helps a physician and patient view his or her environment’s impact on his or her health.

In caring for the patient as a whole the family physician stresses health care maintenance and patient education, diagnoses illnesses, undertakes treatment, and institutes follow-up care. Should a patient’s ailment go beyond the scope of Family Medicine training, Family Physicians are able to give referrals to various specialists for further diagnostic work-up while still caring for the patient on a regular basis.

The Family Medicine physicians provide the following services:

  • Family-oriented care to patients ages 5 and up
  • Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment
  • Gynecological Care
  • Preventative Care
  • Well-being, employment, and sports physicals
  • Adult / Geriatric Care


Internal Medicine

Doctors of internal medicine focus on adult medicine and have had special study and training focusing on the prevention and treatment of adult diseases. At least three of their seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate training are dedicated to learning how to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases that affect adults. They are specially trained to solve puzzling complicated diagnostic problems and can handle severe chronic illnesses and situations where several different illnesses may strike at the same time.

As faculty members of the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, our board-certified physicians provide quality comprehensive primary care that includes but not limited to:

  • broad range of health problems both acute and chronic
  • preventive health care
  • patient education
  • medical consultation


Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

A Physiatrist is a medical doctor (D.O. or M.D.) who has received specialized training in the area of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. This is a medical specialty that concentrates on the overall FUNCTIONING of the patient rather than concentrating on one organ system alone.
The goal of physiatric treatment is to reverse or improve problems with pain, mobility, activities of daily living, as well as congenital (present at birth) or acquired disabilities such as accidents, trauma, or acute and chronic disease. A Physiatrist manages a variety of medical rehabilitation issues of people suffering from strokes, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries and other severely disabling conditions such as polio, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and ALS. Also, the Physiatrist is well educated in taking care of individuals with work-related or overuse injuries, sports or performance injuries (e.g. dancers, musicians, etc.), amputations, or acute or chronic pain.
A Physiatrist is well trained to perform the appropriate medical tests – for instance EMGs and nerve conduction studies to evaluate patients with problems of their muscles and nerves. In addition to utilizing traditional medical treatments, including medications and state-of-the art injections to joints and the spine, physiatrists trained in osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) may use this form of direct hands-on treatment to the patient in the office visit. Thus, the Physiatrist may treat the patient directly and obtain immediate feedback about the treatment response.

Physiatrists work closely in a team-like approach with other rehabilitation professionals such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, rehabilitation nurses, psychologists, and social workers to provide high-quality comprehensive care to patients suffering from pain or dis-abilities. Thus, the goal of the Physiatrist is to help the patient “go from dis-ability to ABILITY,” reducing pain and suffering through state-of the art medical and complementary approaches.



Physicians at The Academic Health Care Center have the ability to have an x-ray taken immediately at our center. Additionally, there is a radiologist on staff to assist the ordering physician in making the most accurate diagnosis.


Clinical Psychology

The Academic Health Care Center provides services by a psychologist licensed NY State. We care for those individuals dealing with both medical and non medical issues. The most common difficulty that is seen is for individuals suffering from stress and having difficulty coping. Some causes may be due to life transitions such as graduation, early, middle or late marriage, recent medical diagnoses, illness or death of a loved one. Each individual is assessed and given concrete and specific strategies regarding how to think differently, emote differently and behave differently. It is a unique and different approach to continuing with one’s life.

The following are a partial list of some of the reasons an individual might partake of the psychological services provided by the clinic.

  • Stress and Disease
  • Coping Skills
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Habit Control
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Sexual or Intimacy Difficulties
  • Somatization
  • Eating Difficulties
  • Gender Identity
  • Chronic Illness
  • Parenting
  • Physical Well – Being
  • Communication Skills
  • Substance Abuses
  • Obesity

Patients are always treated with respect, encouragement and given tools to make differences in their lives.



Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote healing and to improve the functioning of the body. This is done by inserting fine needles into acupuncture points and applying heat or gentle electrical stimulation to the points.

The classical Chinese explanation of acupuncture is that energy channels move through the body bringing nourishment to body tissues. When these channels, called meridians, become obstructed it can create imbalances in the body which may lead to disease. By needling acupuncture points we can relieve these obstructions, and aid the body in it’s healing process.

Recent scientific research has shown that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body's own internal regulating system.

Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.


Wellness Program

The Wellness Program at the AHCC is designed to allow patients to maintain and improve strength and fitness. In many instances, this is after a course of physical, occupational or speech therapy.

The goal of the Wellness Program is to provide a safe and comfortable environment for individuals to improve cardiovascular fitness and strength. In order to participate in this program, you need to be able to walk and move safely from machine to machine.

Some patients participate with the assistance of a spouse, caregiver or aide. An exercise physiologist monitors your workout program and changes it regularly to help keep you stimulated and performing the correct exercise to help you meet your goals.


Speech Pathology

The Speech Pathology department at the AHCC assists people with neurological disorders (such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, dementia, and head injury), to regain speech and language skills or learn compensatory strategies to improve communication abilities to a functional level. Communication disorders include a broad range of conditions, which affect a person’s ability to speak, understand speech, to hear, to use language, or read and write effectively. The professionals who are educated to assess speech and language development and to treat speech and language disorders are called speech-language pathologists (sometimes informally referred to as speech therapists). The speech-language pathologist can also help people with swallowing disorders.

Developing speech and swallowing problems can affect personal relationships, the ability to lead an independent life, and most importantly, a person’s well being. Individuals may end up unable to relate to others, become depressed, isolated, and embarrassed at how they sound or look. It is at this time that a complete evaluation should be arranged with a certified speech-language pathologist.

The majority of patients that are treated at our Center are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or Parkinsonism. Doctor prescriptions are needed prior to scheduling an evaluation. A therapy plan is tailored to the patient’s needs and can include traditional as well as newly researched treatment strategies. For the individual with P.D., who exhibits soft speech that is difficult to hear, the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment is a relatively new, innovative, and well documented program.

Feel free to contact the clinician at (516) 686-3911 to discuss any questions or concerns you may have re: your loved ones emerging or current communication and/or swallowing difficulties.


Physical Therapy

Physical therapists are experts in the restoration of function. Through patient education, therapeutic techniques and exercise it is our goal to help patients improve their mobility and overall quality of life. Physical therapists are extensively trained in the areas of anatomy and physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, neurological and orthopedic pathology, manual therapy, electro therapy and exercise. Based on the most current research findings, our therapists perform a comprehensive evaluation and design treatment interventions to best fit the needs and goals of our patients.

Our physical therapists are experts in the evaluation and treatment of neurological and orthopedic diagnoses, as well as diagnoses with multiple co morbidities. Some of the more common conditions we treat include:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Post-surgical orthopedics including total joint replacements
  • ACL repair
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Musculoskeletal injuries

Based on a comprehensive evaluation the therapist and patient will plan an individualized treatment program that will assist you in reaching your functional mobility goals. This plan will include patient and family/caregiver education, home exercise instruction and functional mobility training.

Our center offers individualized attention, maintaining the same physical therapist throughout your rehabilitation. We maintain contact with your referring physician to keep them updated on your progress.

The physical therapy department at the AHCC is actively engaged in research to help improve rehabilitation for those with Parkinson’s disease and other diagnoses.


Genetic Counseling

Genetic counseling is the process of helping people understand and adapt to the possible medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic factors that contribute to medical conditions.
This process integrates the following:

·Interpretation of family and medical histories to assess the chance of recurrence or occurrence.

·Education on inheritance, testing, management, prevention, resources and research.

·Counseling to help promote informed choices and adaptation to the risk or condition.

We provide a broad range of services including testing, diagnosis, treatment and counseling for children and adults with a personal or family history of cancer, birth defects, developmental disabilities or other genetic conditions. Prenatal and preconception counseling is also available.


Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists (OTs) help people improve their ability to perform tasks in their daily living and working environments. They work with individuals who have conditions that are mentally, physically, developmentally, or emotionally disabling. They also help them to develop, recover, or maintain daily living and work skills.

Occupational therapists help clients not only to improve their basic motor functions and reasoning abilities, but also to compensate for permanent loss of function. Their goal is to help clients have independent, productive, and satisfying lives.
Occupational therapists assist clients in performing activities of all types, ranging from using a computer to caring for daily needs such as dressing, cooking, and eating. Physical exercises may be used to increase strength and dexterity, while other activities may be chosen to improve visual acuity and the ability to discern patterns.

For example, a client with short-term memory loss might be encouraged to make lists to aid recall, and a person with coordination problems might be assigned exercises to improve hand-eye coordination. Occupational therapists also use computer programs to help clients improve decision-making, abstract-reasoning, problem-solving, and perceptual skills, as well as memory, sequencing, and coordination—all of which are important for independent living.

Therapists instruct those with permanent disabilities, such as spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, or muscular dystrophy, in the use of adaptive equipment, including wheelchairs, orthotics, and aids for eating and dressing. They also design or make special equipment needed at home or at work. Therapists develop computer-aided adaptive equipment and teach clients with severe limitations how to use that equipment in order to communicate better and control various aspects of their environment.


Tai Chi

We offerTai Chi classes with a focus on individuals with Parkinson's disease.  The class instructor is experienced in teaching Tai Chi to a wide range of individuals and is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11  - 11:45 a.m.


NYIT Center for Sports Medicine

We are pleased to announce the development of a new NYIT Center Sports Medicine. The dedicated staffing of the center includes a physician director, a neurologist, an exercise physiologist, physical therapists and other clinicians as needed. The mission of the NYIT Center for Sports Medicine is to prevent injury and optimize performance, as well as to provide wellness guidance and support. Our goal is to provide care to athletes of all levels whether they are training for a marathon or attempting to run their first 5k. Our services include, but are not limited to, the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries. Our plan is to provide high quality, personalized care that always meets and exceeds expectations.

With 1.5 to 4 million sports related concussions occurring annually in the United States and increasing public awareness about this condition and its potential consequences, the SMC will have a strong focus on concussions. A concussion protocol has been developed by our neurology and physical therapy team that utilizes objective measures of balance, vision and cognition to aide in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.  The SMC will also conduct research on innovative concussion treatments such as the use of Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy.

To promote wellness, the center will use a new state-of-the art body composition machine (iDXA) and a metabolic testing cart (Quark CPET) with an attached treadmill.  The iDXA machine will be used to determine bone density and fracture risk, lean muscle mass, and adipose and visceral fat percentages. The metabolic testing cart will be used to measure VO2 max or the maximal rate of oxygen consumption. This is used as a measure of aerobic fitness which is an important component of endurance capacity. These tools will provide improved patient care as well as support research.


Neurology Services

Board certified neurologist who manages the scope of neurological disorders and is fellowship trained in movement disorders. Specifically we manage Parkinson's disease including interrogation for Deep brain stimulation. Botox is administered for disorders that range from different forms of dystonia, abnormal movements, spasticity, migraines, excessive sweating and excessive salivation. We also manage concussion treatment and work with the athletic directors to determine return to play and return to learn.

Contact Us

Academic Health Care Center
Northern Boulevard, P.O. Box 8000, Old Westbury, NY 11568
516.686.1300 | Email | Map

Family Health Care Center
Courthouse Plaza, 267 Carleton Ave., Central Islip, NY
631.348.3254 | Email | Map