Sakina Valika, P.T., D.P.T.

Director of Clinical Education and Research & Physical Therapist

Sakina graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy in 1999. Following graduation, she worked at Advocate Christ Hospital Medical Center as a practicing clinical physical therapist. The majority of her practice at that time centered on individuals with a variety of neurological conditions. She worked in both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. In 2001, she joined the Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis and began a sub specialization in treating individuals with traumatic spinal cord injuries.

Her postgraduate training includes a clinical doctorate in physical therapy with a focus on neuro-rehabilitation obtained in 2007 from Rosalind Franklin University and several intermediate and advanced courses in locomotor training, FES cycling, whole body vibration and aquatic rehabilitation. She is certified in gait training individuals with quadriplegia and paraplegia with the ReWalk exoskeleton. Sakina is also a Certified Clinical Instructor Affiliate (CCCE/CI) through the American Physical Therapy Association. She is an educator for the Wayne State University Physical Therapy doctoral program in Detroit, Michigan, as well as other universities and colleges that have Physical Therapy Assistant programs in Illinois. Sakina’s clinical expertise lies in Advanced Locomotor Training for individuals with spinal cord injuries and in using a concomitant of novel approaches to maximize neuromuscular recovery in individuals suffering from paralysis. She has presented seminars in Activity Based Rehabilitation because of her unique expertise in this area.

Sakina joined NextSteps in January of 2010 when she accepted the position of Facility Supervisor for a state-of-the-art outpatient rehabilitation and wellness center that specializes in the treatment of individuals with spinal cord injuries and other neurological disabilities. Currently, she is the Clinical Director of NextSteps and directs a staff of fourteen while overseeing all clinical operations, staff performance and education, growth, and research initiatives.

In 2010, NextSteps was designated as a Community Fitness and Wellness Facility under the Christopher Dana Reeve Foundation’s NeuroRecovery Network (NRN), one of only 6 in the country. The locomotor research trial and program focuses on the use of treatment interventions to promote neuroplasticity and maintain health and fitness for the SCI population. Sakina serves as the supervisor of NextSteps in the NRN and oversees the collection of data and outcome measures. Sakina is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association including the Neurological and Education sections. Her hobbies include running and, most importantly, being a mom. Sakina and her husband, Ali, have four children, a fourteen year old son Mustafa, ten year old twin daughters Safia and Zahra, and a two year old son Mohsin.


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  • NextSteps Chicago is a member of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Neuro Recovery Network.

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