Hackensack Meridian Health recently announced that Dr. Talya Fleming, medical director of the Stroke Recovery Program and Aftercare Program at Hackensack Meridian JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison, was awarded the Public Service, Health Equity and Advocacy Award from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Fleming received the top honor during AAPM&R’s Annual Assembly in New Orleans for significantly enhancing the quality of life for individuals in vulnerable populations at risk for disabilities.
Fleming was honored with the distinguished public service award for her work developing robust treatment programs and for her passion for advocating for individuals with stroke, long COVID, the rehabilitation continuum of care and disparities within health care. She has dedicated much of her work to advocating for health care policies and practices to improve access to care for individuals with disabilities and under-resourced communities.
Committee members selected Fleming for the highest distinction and recognition because she exemplifies the values of the AAPM&R and demonstrates the combination of clinical care and advocacy that creates bold leaders within physiatry.
“I’m honored and proud to receive this award, but with the understanding and recognition that there is still so much work to be done,” Fleming said. “My commitment to being a voice for the underserved remains steadfast, and I’m thankful for the support of my colleagues at Hackensack Meridian Health in supporting my advocacy efforts. This award serves as a powerful reminder of our shared responsibility to promote policies and practices that create positive, impactful change in the lives of our patients and our communities.”
Previous award recipients include former first lady Michelle Obama (2012); Cheri A. Blauwet (2017), doctor and paralympic wheelchair racer; Peter Frates (2015), co-founder of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge; and dozens of other world-renowned doctors and researchers.
Fleming holds dual board certification in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation as well as Brain Injury Medicine and she serves as the medical director of the Stroke Recovery Program, Post-COVID Rehabilitation Program and Aftercare Programs at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. She’s also an associate professor of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Fleming has presented research both nationally and internationally in areas including stroke rehabilitation, cardiac rehabilitation, brain injury medicine, post-acute care rehabilitation and transitions of care. She is also a leader within the AAPM&R, serving on several executive committees, clinical committees and scholarly journal accomplishments.
“Dr. Talya Fleming is an exemplary leader within our community and the Hackensack Meridian Health network,” Dr. Sara Cuccurullo, vice president and medical director for JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute and physician-in-chief, Rehabilitation Care Transformation Service, for Hackensack Meridian Health, said. “Her innovative approach to clinical research and her commitment to advocacy have set a standard of excellence that is inspirational. She is incredibly deserving of this award and it further attests to her important contributions to the field of rehabilitation medicine and her dedication to improving the lives of those we serve.”