Dana Kotler is a board-certified physiatrist and sports medicine physician. She is an attending physician at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, and on faculty as a Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School. She holds a B.A. in Biology (Hon.) and Dance Performance from Oberlin College, a comprehensive certification in the Pilates Method from Power Pilates, and an M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She completed a preliminary year in Internal Medicine at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, and a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago/Northwestern University. She completed her Sports Medicine fellowship at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital/Harvard Medical School in 2014. She is also a CrossFit Level 1 trainer. Her current interests are in injury prevention and anatomy education for dancers and athletes, cycling medicine and biomechanics, as well as the role of the core training and the Pilates Method in the treatment of back disorders. She has been a guest lecturer and presenter in the Theater and Dance Department at Oberlin College, and national meetings including the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Association of Academic Physiatrists, the American College of Sports Medicine, the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science, Medicine of Cycling (USA) and Science & Cycling (Caen, France), and the Medicine Africa Cycling Congress (Cape Town, South Africa).
Her work as a dancer, Pilates instructor, and physician gave her the foundation for further study of the human body and its capacity for movement. Early in her career she danced professionally in New York, performing, choreographing, and collaborating with opera directors, musicians, and composers. With composer Bob Lukomski she created If my complaints could passions move, a modern dance duet set to both live and electronic vocal arrangements of songs by John Dowland and Henry Purcell. Her adaptation of Monteverdi’s opera Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda was part of the “Great Music for a Great City” series at the Graduate Center of CUNY. Since 2005, she has created several movement-based short films on health and science topics, including Action Potential: in Action, MOVEMENT:disordered, and home / bound. Her short film PxDx (Physical Diagnosis) was named Best Short Film: Experimental at the 2007 New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. She collaborated with performance art team Torino:Margolis and programmer/sound designer Lee Azzarello, creating Action Potential, a performance piece using electromyography to generate the sound score for a structured improvisation, which premiered at the Piksel Festival for Electronic Art in Bergen, Norway. Her short film, #bikewinter, premiered at the Bicycle Film Festival in NY in June 2013.
She is a former instructor for Power Pilates in NY as well as former owner/director of Happy Now Flat Belly, in Williamsburg Brooklyn. As a physician she continues to lecture and write on the relevance of the Pilates Method to current evidence on core strength training. She taught the sold-out workshop "Hard Core: Pilates for Physiatrists" at the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation annual conference 3 years in a row. She has also given invited lectures on the topic of core strength and Pilates for the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, and for the Department of Theater and Dance at Oberlin College. She authored the recent publication "Core Training in Low Back Disorders: Role of the Pilates Method," published in 2017 in Current Sports Medicine Reports.
She created the innovative Spaulding Cycling Medicine Program with physical therapist Greg Robidoux, which uses a collaborative evaluation approach to diagnose and manage medical problems in cyclists. She also published the review article Prevention, Evaluation, and Rehabilitation of Cycling-Related Injury for Current Sports Medicine Reports in 2016. She has presented at the Medicine of Cycling and Science and Cycling and Medicine Africa Cycling conferences, as well as locally at grand rounds at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital Sports Medicine. She has also lectured in the community, with injury prevention talks at bike shops including Belmont Wheelworks and Steve the Bike Guy. The Cycling Clinic, started in 2015, has now seen over 60 patients, with a wide variety of diagnoses including knee and spine disorders, pelvic pain, cervical myelopathy, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain injury.