Medical Advisory Committee
Push to Walk’s Medical Advisory Committee was formed in 2019 and consists of medical professionals in areas related to paralysis (Neurology, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physiatry, Podiatry, Wound Care, etc.). The Committee assists the Board of Trustees in the oversight of matters relating to the medical field as they pertain to the mission, vision, goals and operation of Push to Walk. All members serve in a volunteer capacity and are not paid for their service.
Further information regarding authority, responsibilities and procedures can be obtained by emailing Cynthia Templeton.
If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact Cynthia for details.
Medical Advisory Committee Members
Anthony J Aceti – Push to Walk Board Chair
Tony has more than forty years of experience as a certified public accountant, serving clients with a focus in the Alternative Investment, health care and Not-For-Profit areas. Tony previously served as president of the Hudson County Chapter of the New Jersey CPA society and was a trustee of the State NJCPA. In addition, he was a trustee and officer to the United Way of North Essex, Chairman of the Board of Barnabas Hospice, and President of the Montville Educational Foundation. He retired from KPMG in 2016. Tony and his wife, Susan, have two children, Lauren and Brian, and two grandchildren.
Elizabeth Dominick, PT, DPT, NCS
Dr. Elizabeth Dominick is a Board-Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist with over 17 years of experience as a physical therapist working with adults post status neurological/spinal cord injuries in both in-patient and out-patient settings. As a program director for a rehabilitation hospital, Liz also has experience in program development, implementation and budgeting. She would like to assist Push to Walk in supporting the growth of individuals after neurologic injury outside of the formal rehabilitation setting. She looks forward to providing expertise and knowledge from the medical point of view to the Medical Advisory Committee. She hopes that her extensive clinical experience, research, publications, teaching experience, professional mentoring, volunteer commitments, presentations, awards, affiliations and continuing education pursuits will combine to assist Push to Walk in achieving their mission.
Stephen Kanter, PT, DPT, ATC
Dr. Stephen Kanter is a licensed physical therapist in New York and New Jersey. He is the Director of Rehabilitation Services at the International Multiple Sclerosis Management Practice (IMSMP). He is a nationally recognized expert in rehabilitation for people with MS and has worked to develop the AthCare MS Rehabilitation Professionals Network to promote education and clinical collaboration to improve the care provided to people with MS and their families. In 2015, Dr. Kanter was inducted into the National MS Society Healthcare Professionals Volunteer Hall of Fame. As a homecare clinician and accessible design specialist, Dr. Kanter works primarily with patients with balance, gait, and endurance impairments as well as providing accessible design consultation services for individual homes, offices and commercial spaces. Along with his clinical work, Dr. Kanter is a professor of Biomedical Ethics at Seton Hall University. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University at Albany, SUNY, and his Masters of Science and Doctorate Degrees in Physical Therapy at Rutgers University – School of Health Professions (formerly UMDNJ). Prior to earning his doctorate, Dr. Kanter worked on the sports medicine staffs of several professional sports teams including time with the New York Football Giants (NFL). Dr. Kanter is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association and the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Rehabilitation Professionals.
Vivian Kiggins – Push to Walk Executive Director
Vivian joined Push to Walk in April 2018 and brings experience both as an Executive Director as well as a grant writer/development associate for a number of organizations. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University and numerous years of experience working in the nonprofit sector. Vivian works closely with the other members of the management team in the daily operations of Push to Walk. Her responsibilities encompass a range of administrative and development duties, as well as strengthening and cultivating relationships with past, present, and future clients and their families. She will continue to promote the mission and vision of Push to Walk in Bergen County, as well as throughout the state.
Michael Kowalski, DPM – Chair of Medical Advisory Committee
Dr. Michael F. Kowalski is a foot and ankle surgeon in Wayne, NJ with over 32 years of experience. He graduated from New York College of Podiatric Medicine in 1987. He is licensed to practice by the state board in New Jersey. His specialties include podiatric surgery and wound care. His connection with the Templeton Family started long before Push to Walk was ever formed, meeting the family through the local ski racing team and association in New Jersey. After Darren’s injury, Mike took both a personal and professional interest in assisting the organization and is very excited to Chair the Medical Advisory Committee. He hopes his medical expertise can assist Push to Walk and grow the network of medical professionals who want to partner with the organization.
Laura Kucsan Lubkin, MS, OTR/L – Pediatric Occupational Therapist II
Laura was introduced to Push to Walk by the Templeton Family while still a student, and hoped that she could be involved with the organization in the future. With 10 years’ experience in the clinical setting, she is now excited to be a part of the Medical Advisory Committee. Her training and areas of expertise are in the activities of daily living (grooming, dressing, feeding and bathing) and instrumental activities (driving and community mobility, home establishment and management, care of others/pet, and meal preparation). She hopes to bring her ability to address these specific areas will help Push to Walk’s clients regain and maintain their independence. Laura has been involved as a volunteer with Stomp the Monster and Miles for Music events.
Catherine Mazzola, MD – Push to Walk Board Trustee
Dr. Catherine Mazzola is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons and the American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery. She completed her Pediatric Neurosurgical Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh in 2002 and did her neurosurgery residency at New Jersey Medical School. Her special interests include hydrocephalus, traumatic brain injury and concussion, pediatric brain and spine tumors, craniofacial surgery, plagiocephaly, torticollis, Chiari malformation, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, spine deformity, epilepsy surgery and the management of movement disorders such as dystonia and spasticity. Dr. Mazzola is the founder of the Craniofacial Center at Goryeb Children’s Hospital, the Pediatric Brain and Spine Tumor Center (now called GNOP) and the Spasticity and Gait Disorder Center of Goryeb Children’s Hospital. She has been the Director of the Division of Pediatric Neurological Surgery since 2005. Dr. Catherine Mazzola has gone on neurosurgical missionary trips to Kenya and plans to go on future mission trips to other parts of the world for pediatric neurosurgery outreach. She is also involved in mentorship, training and education of pre-medical undergraduates, medical school students, and residents. Dr. Mazzola grew up in Queens, NY and currently lives with her husband and five children in northern New Jersey.
Paul is a former board trustee and Board Chair. He stayed involved with Push to Walk in various volunteer roles and now returns (Dec ’22) for a second round as a trustee. He retired in 2018 from Plymouth Rock Assurance after a long career in the personal lines property and casualty insurance industry. Paul is a Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), has an undergraduate degree from Seton Hall University, and an MBA from Monmouth University. He spent many years coaching youth sports, has participated in the Seton Hall Career Center mentoring program and enjoys almost any kind of outdoor activity.
Tommy Sutor – PhD Candidate in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Florida; Former Exercise Trainer and Program Director at Push to Walk
Tommy’s experience as a trainer and Program Director and continued interest in assisting Push to Walk now includes participation in the Medical Advisory Committee. He believes that providing intensive exercise to those with paralysis is the best way currently available for people to improve their health, function and overall quality of life. He hopes to advise the committee and staff on best methods, assist with interpreting research, and explain how to apply techniques and principles explored in scientific research into the clients’ workouts. Tommy is a member of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Spinal Cord Injury Fitness and Wellness Task Force and is a Student Member of the Society for Neuroscience.
Cynthia Templeton – Push to Walk Founder & Community Partnerships Coordinator
Cynthia, an experienced entrepreneur and administrator, founded Push to Walk in January 2007 with her son Darren, who sustained a C5 Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) in July 2004. Since the opening until her recent retirement from the daily operation of Push to Walk, including finances, development, and marketing, she continues to stay involved and maintain regular contact with clients and family members, assist with building collaborative partnerships and work on special projects to build the Push to Walk brand in the community. In addition to her involvement in the Committee, Cynthia is working on forming a new Association of specialized gyms around the US and Canada, and is also part of Dr. Wise Young’s Clinical Trials Core Committee in SCI research.
Kristina Bilanova, PT, DPT, MRT – Medical Advisory Committee
Kristina earned a BS in Kinesiology and Business Administration from California State University of Northridge and went on to obtain her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from New York Medical College in Westchester, NY. She is licensed to practice by the state board in NJ and NY. Kristina enjoys working with patients of varying diagnoses and focuses on quality over quantity of movement. She believes in a patient centered approach in which each patient feels empowered to achieve their unique goals to live more fully. Her goal is to help patients overcome physical and mental barriers, to achieve maximal function and to return to the things they love. Kristina believes communication between patient and therapist is crucial for a successful outcome. She has extensive clinical experience in orthopedics, rehabilitation, gait and balance training, post-operative care, and neuro-rehabilitation and is also trained in restoration of muscle balance and alignment. Kristina is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association. Kristina is a clinic director of an outpatient rehabilitation practice. She hopes to advise the committee and staff on operations, administration, standardization, process improvement and business development to help Push to Walk continue to grow within the community.