David Putrino

Director of Rehabilitation Innovation, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai
David Putrino
  • A physical therapist with a PhD in neuroscience, David develops innovative technology solutions for better healthcare accessibility
  • Featured in media outlets including ABC, Sport’s Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, the BBC, TIME magazine, TEDx, Wired, and The Los Angeles Times
  • A survivor of a childhood brain injury, David draws from first-hand experience on the importance of never giving up

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When he was 18 months old, David Putrino experienced a seizure that left him in a coma for three days. When he woke up, doctors told his parents that he would never recover full use of the left side of his body, but they refused to give up. He made a full recovery and has made it his life’s work to help people in similar situations ever since.

David trained and worked as a physical therapist in Australia, before completing his PhD in the neurophysiology of motor control and moving to the United States to study computational neuroscience at Harvard Medical School and MIT. From there, moved to New York to develop ‘bleeding-edge’ brain computer interface technology at NYU funded by the Department of Defense. He has served as a faculty member at Weill-Cornell Medicine and Burke Medical Research Institute working to develop innovative rehabilitation solutions for people recovering from stroke, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury.

He is currently the Director of Innovation and an Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation and Human Performance at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai. Here, he runs a space called the Abilities Research Center, which is a hybrid research lab and clinic that develops and rapidly deploys innovative technologies that help people across every level of human performance realize their full potential. From exoskeletal robotics to brain stimulation technologies, David strives to find the right technology to help every single person who comes to the Abilities Research Center. He has pioneered the use of many technologies in the field and the clinic including various uses of motion capture, virtual and augmented reality, wearable technology, and implantable technology. In addition to his clinical and basic science research, he leads or consults on high-performance research with partners at Red Bull High Performance, the NBA, MLB, and the English Premier League. He is also the “Chief Mad Scientist” of Not Impossible Labs, a group that rapidly develops disruptive technological solutions for high-impact humanitarian problems.

David’s research is widely cited in the scientific community, and his work has been featured on the ABC, Sport’s IllustratedThe Wall Street Journal, the BBC, TIME magazine, TEDx, Wired, and The Los Angeles Times to name just a few. He is also the author of the book, Hacking Health: How to make money and save lives in the HealthTech world, which is available from Amazon and Springer-Nature.

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Speaker Video

We Don’t Treat Patients, We Train Superheroes | David Putrino | TEDx

David Putrino on Long-COVID

How To Be An Innovator.

Innovation is one of the most prominent topics in today’s business world. Everyone wants to know what it is, how to get it, and how to use it, but as a concept, innovation is often elusive. Many innovations look like an accident or a fluke, but the reality is that if you really understand how to innovate, it is as repeatable as any other process.

In this talk, David Putrino discusses some examples of disruptive innovation that he has led in the healthcare and sports performance world—from developing a 3D-printed prosthetics clinic in South Sudan, to the foundation of a nation-wide health monitoring program for older adults that has prevented thousands of hospitalizations. He walks the audience through his process of innovation and teaches people how to identify their own opportunities for innovation.

The Future of Medicine.

As the Founder and Director of the Abilities Research Center, David Putrino has been at the center of nearly every health technology trend you can think of—from robotics and wearable technology, to virtual reality and artificial intelligence (AI). However, living at the nexus of technology and healthcare is not always as glamorous as it seems, and in his book, Hacking Health: How to make money and save lives in the HealthTech world, Dr Putrino explains why almost 98% of health technology companies are doomed to fail before they even touch a patient.

In this talk, David will walk you through the proof, pain, and potential surrounding bringing new technologies into healthcare. He will explain how his team routinely navigates the regulatory environment surrounding new technologies in order to bring the latest innovations to his patients as quickly, and responsibly, as humanly possible.

Exploring The Limits of Human Performance.

For as long as medicine has been a profession, our doctors have only been there for us when we felt like something was wrong with our bodies, but that is about to change. What if we told you that you could be better: stronger, happier, fitter, and more energetic?

This is the premise of a new initiative being led by David Putrino at Mount Sinai called Performance360—it is all about helping you take your human performance to the absolute limit.

In this talk, Dr Putrino will highlight the work he has done with his high-performance partners in the world of athletic performance. He will describe the process he uses to create models of human performance that guide the training patterns of some of the best athletes in the world and explain how you can implement similar models into your own life so that you, too, can explore your own limits of human performance.

Never Give Up.

A survivor of brain injury as a young child, David Putrino knows firsthand the importance of never giving up. Now that he works in a hospital, his daily inspiration comes from his patients who are often fighting to recover what was lost after a sudden life challenge.

In this talk, Dr Putrino will share some of the stories that embody the strength of the human spirit: some of his most memorable patients and friends fighting back against all odds. He will discuss the importance of communication and correct messaging in healthcare, how doctors often get it wrong, and how to strongly and effectively advocate for yourself and your family in a tough situation. Most of all, he will detail how maintaining a positive mindset, through all the hurdles that might possibly pop up, can make all the difference in recovery and in life—helping you to achieve the impossible.

Resilience, Grit, & Performance Under Pressure.

One of the strongest predictors of success in high performance environments is mental preparedness and the ability to perform under pressure. This fact is often overlooked as people favor an excessive focus on skill-based training which often leads to failure of an individual or a team when the pressure is on.

In this talk, David Putrino will share insights from over a decade of working in high performance sports and special forces operators. He will explain the scientific concepts of resilience, grit, and perseverance—some of the cornerstones of performance under pressure. He will detail his process for preparing high performance athletes and soldiers for the high-pressure environments that they need to face, and how his team evaluates and adapts team dynamics within an organization in order to ensure optimal team performance when it counts. Finally, he will walk you through how to take steps in your own life to boost your mental strength and help you achieve optimal performance every day.   

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