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2022 Healthcare Hero: Dr. Jerrold L. Kaplan

Winner Category: Physician Employer: Gaylord Specialty Healthcare  Title: Medical Director, Outpatient and Workers’ Compensation Services; Medical Director, COVID Rehabilitation and Recovery Program; Medical Director, Concussion Program Return to honoree page
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A physiatrist for 30 years, Dr. Jerrold Kaplan specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions that have resulted in a patient’s loss of function. He leads Gaylord’s outpatient COVID recovery program and advocates for injured workers as director of Gaylord’s outpatient workers’ compensation programs. His singular goal: “to help people enjoy life again.”

What have been your significant contributions to your organization in the past year?

I served on the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation collaborative to develop national guidelines for long-COVID patients. Gaylord’s interdisciplinary COVID rehabilitation and recovery program is among 40 nationally recognized centers.

I presented at national and local conferences on topics from long-COVID to complex illnesses and injuries, and led the development of Gaylord’s expanded programs offering injured workers individualized, progressive rehabilitation regimens.

Being a part of the team that established Connecticut’s first physiatry residency program was an honor. This year, we selected the inaugural 2022 class of four from more than 400 applications and received more than 500 applications for our 2023 class.

Tell us about a challenge in your job that you were able to overcome.

Knowing that COVID restrictions would interrupt vital medical and therapy visits for Gaylord’s outpatients, I worked with an internal team to swiftly develop and launch successful telemedicine and tele-therapy programs in just five days, allowing outpatient programs to seamlessly — and safely — continue for our most fragile and debilitated patients.

How has COVID-19 changed the way you do your job?

Early in the pandemic, I identified that many people were experiencing lingering symptoms of what is now known as long-COVID. My team and I developed one of the nation’s first outpatient COVID recovery and rehabilitation programs that has treated hundreds of individuals hoping to regain their lives — and function.

Personal side:

City of residence: Chester

Favorite way to relax: Spending time in outdoors hiking, kayaking, and observing wildlife.

Hobbies: Camping and traveling all around the world — from the Amazon to Alaska — to view wildlife in its natural habitat. Next on my travel list: Australia and New Zealand.

Favorite movie: “Lord of the Rings” trilogy

Currently reading: “Wheel of Time,” series by Robert Jordan

Favorite cause: I gravitate toward causes that support people with disabilities and those that address environmental issues, land preservation and wildlife conservation.

Fun fact: I have been a Boy Scout leader for more than 20 years for Troop 610 in Hamden. In addition to weekly meetings and monthly campouts, I spend a week each summer at Boy Scout Camp Sequassen in New Hartford sleeping in a tent, taking polar bear swims at 6:30 a.m. and even sometimes rolling up my sleeves to help wash dishes for 300-plus campers!

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