Jeffrey C. Berliner, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and a board-certified physiatrist with a sub-specialty in SCI medicine, focuses on caring for Craig patients recovering from spinal cord injuries. Early in his medical school training, Dr. Berliner met his first spinal cord injury (SCI) patient when he was on a rotation. “I enjoyed our conversation and his spirit,” he says. “Working with SCI patients provides me with purpose and meaning in life. There is something special about being with someone when they are at their most vulnerable. I love being invited into their life and helping them through this challenging time.”
Dr. Berliner’s clinical and research interests include current concepts in neuro-recovery, disparities in outcomes and care in rehabilitation as well as prevention of secondary complications related to SCI. “It is absolutely critical to get the right patient to the right rehab center because it makes all the difference in that patient’s outcome,” he says.
Before coming to Craig, Dr. Berliner was aware of the reputation of the hospital for providing kind, patient-centered care and producing incredible outcomes. He received a call from Dr. Mark Johansen that there was a position open for an SCI physician. It was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up, especially since he and his wife had family in Denver. “Craig offers an amazing atmosphere where SCI and brain injury patients get back to living again; the focus is not only on neuro-recovery but on helping patients return to a life of meaning and possibility. Our collective team is unparalleled,” Dr. Berliner says. “I can honestly say that I’ve never had a bad day at work. It could be a long day but never a bad day. I love what I do.”
At Craig, Dr. Berliner is also able to utilize his expertise in physiatry, a branch of medicine that aims to enhance and restore functional ability and quality of life to those with physical impairments or disabilities. Physiatrists treat a wide variety of medical conditions including brain injury, SCI, stroke, amputation, palliative care, pediatrics, pain and pain management, sports medicine, and Rheumatological Disorders (to name a few). “I believe that Craig provides for rehabilitation from the inception of injury throughout the continuum of life. I have treated patients who were injured in their teens and have now graduated from college, have children, and are working to advocate for disability rights. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Throughout his career, Dr. Berliner has noticed that people often see an SCI patient as someone in a wheelchair, missing the whole person. He’s traveled to Washington, D.C., to fight for patients’ rights. “Advocacy is incredibly important. If you are quiet, your voice will never be heard. I pushed for durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs, bathroom equipment and Adaptive Technology to be covered by insurance to help people return to a life of inclusivity.”
His advocacy work led to his co-founding of Colorado RSVP Clinic in Englewood with a group of rehabilitation professionals in 2015. The clinic aims to support uninsured individuals with disabilities in the Colorado community who lack access to rehabilitation services. He volunteers his time and skills to provide care to these patients. “RSVP is dedicated to providing outstanding rehabilitative care that maximizes independence, wellness and community participation for uninsured people with catastrophic injuries,” he says.
When not at Craig, Dr. Berliner can be found playing soccer in a men’s league, enjoying time with his wife and twins, reading or working at the RSVP Clinic.
Jeffrey C. Berliner, DO, joined the medical staff at Craig Hospital after working as Clinical Director of Spinal Cord Injury Medicine at TIRR Memorial Hermann. His primary focus is on caring for patients recovering from spinal cord injuries, and his clinical and research include current concepts in neurorecovery, treatment of paraplegic and tetraplegic patients, and prevention of secondary complications related to spinal cord injury. Learn more about Dr. Berliner here.