Rusk Institute Internship Program

The Howard A. Rusk
Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine
Internship Program

The Rusk Institute at NYU Medical Center is one of the world's leading center's for rehabilitation medicine. It has a long history of providing comprehensive and innovative treatment services to both children and adults with a wide range of physical disabilites.
Among the unique features of the Rusk Institute is the Glass Garden built in 1958 with a generous gift from Mrs. Enid A. Haupt. The Glass Garden provides a refreshing oasis of beauty in the heart of New York City, while contributing to the clinical, educational and research functions of NYU Medical Center.
The Glass Garden's Horticultural Therapy Internship has no formal application requirements and offers no stipend or housing. The hours or days can be flexable, however, the internship will not extend beyond 500 hours on site. The staff will assist with locating other placements and learning experiences within the New York City areato help student fulfill additional AHTA or University requirements.

The Specifics


To understand the functional implication of various disabilities and how to effect rehabilitation through horticultural activities in a clinical setting.

Learning Goals

Under stand the components involved in the following disabling conditions:
- Right and Left Cerebral Vascular Accident
- Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
- Guillian Barre Syndrom
- Cerebral Palsy
- Closed Head Trauma
- Tumors - Brain and Spinal Cord
- Amputations - Above and Below Knee, Arm
- Hip Fractures and Replacement
- Parkinson Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Spinal Bifida
Understand how these disabilities affect an individual's function in the following areas:
- Mobility
- Perceptual Ability
- Cognitive Skills
- Emotional Status
- Physical Ability
- Speech/Writing/Reading
- Social Interaction
Understand what treatment goals might be appropriate for individuals with those disabilities
Understand typical treatment precautions
Develop clinical observation skills
Develop progress note writing skills
Develop group dynamic skills
Increase and develop horticultural activity skills for effectively leading horticultural therapy groups with persons with disabilities
Increase horticultural experiences and skills in greenhouse and garden mangement
Increase understanding of designing for accessibility
Increase understanding of rehabilitation services

Skills Needed to Meet Learning Goals

Basic horticulture knowledge and experience
Ability to adapt horticultural activities to meet individual needs
Ability to break down horticultural activities into indivual step; i.e. task analysis
Communication skills
Patience and caring and flexibility
Research and writing

Program Outline

Each week the students will present a one page written summary on a specific disability - to include functional information, precautions, treatment goals, and bibliography.
Student will discuss material with supervisor to assess knowledge and understanding of effect of each disability
Student will discuss patients to be seen each day and co-plan horticultural activities fot the therapy sessions. Activities should be based on individual treatment goals.
Student willwork hands-on with horticultural therapy groups to implement patient goals, both as an assistant and leader.
Student and supervisor will assess day's activities and student's participation.
Student will write patient notes based on observations made during sessions. Supervisor and student will review.
Student will participate in daily operations of the greenhouse and gardens, including maintence, supervision of vocational trainees, and so forth.
Student will present an in-service to the OT department/HT volunteers or appropriate audience.


The supervisor and student will jointly discuss, critique, and evaluate written and clinical work on an on-going basis. Specific details needed for successful completion of internship will be decided on contractual basis at onset of internship.