Eileen Andreassi, MA, CTRS recently joined the Burke family as its new Director of Recreational Therapy and Adaptive Sports. We sat down with her to discuss her new role and her goals for the future.
What was it that made you want to come work for Burke?
I grew up in Rockland County so I’ve known about Burke and its reputation for excellent care my whole life. When I moved back to New York from Michigan, I met all the Recreational Therapists working here and was impressed with their clinical knowledge and programs. Joanne Auerbach learned of my adaptive sports experience and quickly recruited me to volunteer at the Wheelchair Games. I knew then this was a very special place and that I’d love working here. I jumped right on it when the opportunity opened up and I’m thrilled to be here.
What are some of your first impressions since getting started?
The positivity, enthusiasm and dedication of all staff at all levels is phenomenal. So many people have taken the time to drop by and welcome me and that says a lot about the hospital as a whole. I am very impressed by the commitment top administrators are extending to all staff and departments. I’ve never worked at a job where the CEO and Vice Presidents made it a priority to greet new staff during orientation and tell them a bit about the hospital and their role. The seamless teamwork and communication are particularly refreshing.
What are some of your short term/long term goals?
I am so lucky to have inherited an already very strong department with amazing, dynamic and creative recreational therapists. My immediate short term goal has been to get to know the Therapeutic Recreation (TR) & hospital staff and begin to learn the many current Burke programs and functions. I’m familiarizing myself with all the departments and moving pieces to learn how TR fits into the mission and vision of the organization. As a short-term goal I hope to add a few more adaptive sports clinics to our current schedule as well as the long term goal of developing new opportunities for our continuum of care. In the long-term, the TR department is hoping to work together with residents and other clinicians to develop and conduct objective, outcome-based research on the effects of adaptive sports and certain TR modalities on the patient recovery process.
What’s one (or two) things about the Adaptive Sports program and Recreational Therapy you wish more people knew?
The TR profession is still in its infancy compared to all our colleagues but it has developed significantly in the last 20 years. Many more colleges and universities have placed the TR program into their health education departments and the focus is much more clinical rather than diversional. Here at Burke we see patients individually and also lead a lot of therapeutic groups to help patients achieve their goals such as Re-Creation Group, Humor Group and Relaxation group. We also co-lead a Get Ahead group with speech therapy. Co-treating with our colleagues is awesome and referrals for TR groups and individual treatment are always welcomed.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’d like to thank all the current and future volunteers who help us run the Adaptive Sports program. We can’t do it alone and the future growth of the Adaptive Sports program is dependent upon the continued kind volunteerism of our colleagues in all departments.
We need help with many tasks so you do not need to be a therapist or expert in a specific activity to be part of the team!