“As a federally designated Model System of Care for both spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury, we are committed to provide the best and the most comprehensive care for our patients from the onset of the disability and throughout their lives, or for as long as the disability may last.”
Kristjan T. Ragnarsson, MD
Lucy G. Moses Professor and Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
Kristjan T. Ragnarsson, MD, is an internationally recognized physician who has spent his career improving the lives of people with disabilities through clinical care, research, and education. A large part of his research relates to spinal cord injury (SCI) and addresses a wide range of clinical problems, including autonomic dysfunction, fractures, therapeutic use of functional electrical stimulation, and diagnosis and management of pain and cardiovascular disorders.
Since Dr. Ragnarsson became the head of Mount Sinai's Department of Rehabilitation Medicine in 1986, he has been responsible for the notable growth of the department's clinical and academic programs. With 100 adult rehabilitation beds, about 2,000 admissions annually, and extensive outpatient services, the department consistently receives high ranking as one of the best rehabilitation facilities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
Dr. Ragnarsson works closely with physicians in various disciplines throughout Mount Sinai and shares their strong commitment to patient care. As Principal Investigator for the Mount Sinai SCI Model System of Care, he has contributed to the SCI National Database and participated in numerous research studies that have led to the development of new rehabilitation technology and better care. He has published more than 140 articles and book chapters and made numerous presentations nationally and internationally.
His leadership roles have included President of the Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Board (1995-1997) and Chair of the Board of Governors of the Mount Sinai Faculty Practice Associates (1997-2003). He has served in leadership capacity for numerous national organizations, including the American Spinal Injury Association (1993-1995), and he is the current President of the Association of Academic Physiatrists.
Additionally, Dr. Ragnarsson has served on the Board of the American Paraplegia Society, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Scientific Merit Review Board, Scientific Merit Review Panel of the New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Injury Research, and Chairman of the National Institute of Health Consensus Conference on “Rehabilitation of Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury”. He has been a member of the Editorial Boards for the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine and for Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation.
Dr. Ragnarsson has earned numerous honors for leadership in his field. Among the honors are the American Spinal Injury Association's 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award, the 1993 Distinguished Service Award and 2007 Gold Key Award of Merit from the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, and the 2004 Distinguished Member Award and 2006 Distinguished Public Service Award from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Dr. Ragnarsson graduated from the University of Iceland School of Medicine in 1969 and completed a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation and a clinical research fellowship in spinal cord injury at New York University Medical Center, where he became a full-time faculty member in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine in 1976. He was involved with the New York SCI Model System of Care at its inception in 1973 and served as its principal investigator from 1981 to 1986, when he was appointed Professor and Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Mount Sinai.