Gisela Boxleitner, Integrative Medicine
The Integrative Medicine (IM) Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital helps to complement cancer treatment and to address the serious physical and emotional symptoms often experienced by patients before, during, and aftertherapy treatment. As the only full-time licensed massage therapist, Gisela Boxleitner is also the coordinator of the IM Program, and provides direct patient care. In her role as coordinator, Gisela collaborates daily with the IM team to assure the best service delivery to all patients. Gisela also participates in several programs, committees, and activities outside of the IM Program.
In 1999, after operating her own massage business for twenty years, Gisela started as the first massage therapist on staff at YNHH. In 2011, she began working full time and took on more responsibilities as coordinator of the program, such as starting an internship for massage therapy, coordinating volunteers, organizing various classes (Qigong, Tia Chi), and establishing the Smilow Wellness Workshops. However, her main focus and passion remains caring for patients.
"Smilow is unique in the fact that these services are offered for free. We are a small team, but we all work together to make sure patients are offered these vital services. As an inner city hospital, we work with patients that may have never been exposed to our services. To be able to offer that to someone when they are going through the most stressful time of their life, is a real blessing," said Gisela.
Dr. Gary Soffer, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, sees patients who have been referred for a consultation in Integrative Medicine. He commented, "Gisela's steadfast commitment to Integrative Medicine at Smilow has been paramount to its success. She is devoted to bringing services like massage, Tai Chi, meditation, and yoga to all of our patients in spite of their resources. Her work has allowed patients to add a depth and sense of meaning to what can otherwise be a harrowing experience."
Linda Penn, BSN, RN, Manager for Integrative Medicine and the Boutique at Smilow, commented, "Gisela's seemingly endless energy, commitment to sharing her skills, and passion to give patients the best possible care make her an obvious choice to receive this recognition. Gisela's compassionate care makes a difference at Smilow every day!"