Find a Physician


Burke Rehabilitation Hospital Announces 2017 Burke Award Dinner & Honorees

Released June 1, 2017

White Plains, NY Burke Rehabilitation Hospital has announced that it will host its 2017 Burke Award Dinner on Thursday, June 8, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Brae Burn Country Club at 39 Brae Burn Drive, Purchase, NY.  

The Burke Award dinner is Burke’s signature event and largest fundraiser of the year, drawing hundreds of community and business leaders from the greater New York City area and beyond. The Burke Award is the highest honor bestowed by Burke Rehabilitation Hospital’s administration and board of trustees. It is awarded to individuals or groups who contributed to the field of rehabilitation through personal achievements, scientific discovery or establishment of programs and initiatives that improve quality of life for individuals with disabilities.

Burke also announced the 2017 Burke Award honorees will be:

  • Barbara Rubin Kessler, a stroke survivor and national aphasia advocate
  • Steven Kessler, a global finance and securities attorney, senior compliance officer, and national patient advocate
  • Michael James Reding, M.D., former director of the Stroke Rehabilitation Program at Burke and current volunteer clinical researcher at Burke and the Burke Medical Research Institute.

John Berman, co-anchor of “CNN Newsroom,” will serve as MC for the evening, which includes a cocktail reception, dinner, award ceremony, and auction.

“It is a privilege to honor these inspiring individuals, who exemplify the Burke mission and our unparalleled commitment to helping patients recover from life-changing illness, injury, or surgery,” says Jeffrey Menkes, president and CEO of Burke Rehabilitation Hospital. “Each of these honorees has demonstrated great compassion and dedication to advancing the field of rehabilitation and enabling people to reclaim their lives.”

Barbara Rubin Kessler, a Scarsdale resident and school librarian, experienced a severe ischemic stroke that left her unable to walk or talk and paralyzed on her right side. After rehabilitation at Burke, Barbara was able to regain function but was diagnosed with aphasia, a communication disorder that results from damage to the parts of the brain that contain language. Today, she is active as a national advocate for brain trauma and stroke patients with aphasia and other challenges and is on the board of the National Aphasia Association.

Her husband, Steven Kessler, was an international finance and securities lawyer and senior compliance officer for more than 30 years, participating in regulatory initiatives with the U.S. Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York Stock Exchange. In addition to being Barbara’s caregiver, he works with her on advocacy for brain trauma, stroke and aphasia patients, and their families. He is also committed to improving medical care for returning U.S. war veterans.

Michael James Reding, M.D., a Yorktown Heights resident, is a neurorehabilitation consultant and former director of the Burke Stroke Rehabilitation Program. Dr. Reding was the medical director of the Stroke Rehabilitation Program at Burke from 1980 until 2013, when he assumed emeritus status. He was also one of the founders of Burke’s Neurorehabiliation Fellowship Program. He is currently a full-time volunteer clinical researcher at Burke and the Burke Medical Research Institute.

This year’s event sponsors are Steven & Barbara Kessler, The Bristal Assisted Living, Montefiore, White Plains Hospital, Country Bank, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, Drs. Karen & Paul Pechman, PepsiCo EnAble, Sound Communications, Christopher & Valerie Allen, Bioness, Richard & Marion Celiberti, Cuddy & Feder LLP, McCarthy Associates, PKF O’Connor Davies, Summit Strategies, and VNS Westchester. (The list of sponsors may include additions.)


For tickets to the Burke Award Dinner and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Colleen Borrelli at (914) 597-2847 or


About Burke Rehabilitation Hospital

Burke Rehabilitation Hospital is a private, not-for-profit, acute rehabilitation hospital. Founded in 1915, it is the only hospital in Westchester County dedicated solely to adult rehabilitation medicine. Burke offers both inpatient and outpatient programs for those who have experienced a disabling illness, traumatic injury or joint replacement surgery. Burke’s world-renowned doctors and therapists provide state-of-the-art treatment while its clinical researchers explore the frontiers of neurological and rehabilitation medicine. All share the Burke mission to ensure that every patient makes the fullest possible recovery from illness or injury regardless of their ability to pay. For additional information on Burke Rehabilitation Center, please visit


About Montefiore Health System

Montefiore Health System is one of New York’s premier academic health systems and is a recognized leader in providing exceptional quality and personalized, accountable care to approximately three million people in communities across the Bronx, Westchester and the Hudson Valley. It is comprised of 10 hospitals, including the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and close to 200 outpatient care sites. The advanced clinical and translational research at its medical school, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, directly informs patient care and improves outcomes. From the Montefiore-Einstein Centers of Excellence in cancer, cardiology and vascular care, pediatrics, and transplantation, to its preeminent school-based health program, Montefiore is a fully integrated healthcare delivery system providing coordinated, comprehensive care to patients and their families. For more information, please visit Follow us on Twitter and view us on Facebook and YouTube.

Subscribe to Burke's Newsletter

Keep up with the latest news about Burke by signing up for our newsletter. 

Burke Rehab Hospital Fact Sheets

Latest Tweet